Obamacare Backlash: Catholic Bishops Look to Re-examine Rules for Health Providers

U.S. Catholic bishops on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved revising directives that eventually would make it easier for Catholic health care providers to work with secular providers while maintaining doctrinal positions on birth control, abortion, euthanasia and other health issues.

In a 213 to 2 vote, with one abstention, the 2014 General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved an action item to move ahead with the revision to a section of the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” which will need to be brought back to the bishops in draft form at a later date.

“The medical field is advancing so rapidly, it’s very important for us to address these issues as well [as] for the sake of our people,” said Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City and chairman of the conference’s committee on communications. “It’s not something that’s adversarial.”

The last time the section of the directives was revised was 2001.

According to the conference, the Vatican outlines principles “to ensure that Catholic healthcare institutions neither cooperate immorally with the unacceptable procedures conducted in other healthcare entities with which they may be connected nor cause scandal as a result of their collaboration with such other entities.”