The USCCB website yesterday posted an article on Cardinal Rigali's letter to the House of Representatives. The full text of that letter, dated August 11, 2009, is downloadable from that page. The Catholic News Agency also has an article about the letter.
He affirmed that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has "long supported health care reform that respects human life and dignity from conception to natural death; provides access to quality health care for all, with a special concern for immigrants and the poor; preserves pluralism, with respect for rights of conscience; and restrains costs while sharing them equitably." At the same time, he returned to the theme of letters previously sent by other U.S. bishops, encouraging the Congress to "respect human life and rights of conscience in the context of abortion" in its health care reform legislation.
Cardinal Rigali's letter specifically mentions some of the provisions of the bill that are supportive of life and that protect conscience rights of those who oppose abortion. He also points out two specific areas in which the existing bill before the House of Representatives (H.R. 3200, as amended on July 31, 2009) remains deficient. Among these is a remaining potential that abortion will be designated as a mandated benefit in the federal health insurance plan, and the bypassing of the Hyde Amendment that has long prevented federal funding of health benefit packages that cover abortion.