After decades lobbying for better health care for the poor, a growing number of Catholic bishops have become an unexpected voice of opposition against President Obama's health care plan, the New York Times reports. "No health care reform is better than the wrong sort of health care reform," said an Iowa bishop, one of many who fear the health care overhaul will support federal funding for abortion and "rationed" care for the chronically ill.
The bishops' backlash comes as a stinging setback for Obama in his current attempt to frame health care reform as a moral issue. It also reflects a deep rift within the Catholic Church about how to balance support for social justice with opposition to abortion. As opposition mounts, other liberal leaders are holding fast to support for health care as a "fundamental issue of human life and dignity," New York Bishop William Murphy wrote recently in a letter to the president and Congress.