Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

South Sudan bishops condemn atrocities, appeal for help to prevent famine
A mother feeds her child with a peanut-based paste for treatment of severe acute malnutrition at a hospital Jan. 20 in Juba, South Sudan. South Sudan's Catholic bishops asked for the world's help to p...

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Grass-roots leaders join call for 'disrupting' oppression that hurts many
Representatives from small groups give the final message from the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements Feb. 19 in Modesto, Calif. (CNS photo/Dennis Sadowski) MODESTO, Calif. (CNS) -- Affi...

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Be ashamed when tempted to use church for power struggles, pope says
Pope Francis greets a new priest during the ordination Mass of 11 priests in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 17, 2016. The pope warned against using the church in pursuit of personal ambitio...

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Pope's tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn't like you
Pope Francis delivers his blessing to an overflow crowd gathered outside St. Mary Josefa Church after celebrating Mass at the parish in Rome Feb. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) ROME (CNS) -- A practica...

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Employees of archdiocese volunteer to bring meals and good cheer to the homeless
Written by Shelley Wolf
Alicia Fleming, sales assistant for the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, laughs with a client while serving desserts at the South Park Inn in Hartford.(Photo by Shelley Wolf) ...

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Special Olympians show world that 'every person is a gift,' pope says
Pope receives a stuffed animal from a participant in the Special Olympics during a meeting Feb. 16 at the Vatican. The Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Austria March 14-25. (CNS pho...

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South Sudan bishops condemn atrocities, appeal for help to prevent famine
South Sudan bishops condemn atrocities, appeal for help to prevent famine
Grass-roots leaders join call for 'disrupting' oppression that hurts many
Grass-roots leaders join call for 'disrupting' oppression that hurts many
Be ashamed when tempted to use church for power struggles, pope says
Be ashamed when tempted to use church for power struggles, pope says
Pope's tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn't like you
Pope's tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn't like you
Employees of archdiocese volunteer to bring meals and good cheer to the homeless
Employees of archdiocese volunteer to bring meals and good cheer to the homeless
Special Olympians show world that 'every person is a gift,' pope says
Special Olympians show world that 'every person is a gift,' pope says

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RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) – Virginia became the seventh state to bar abortion coverage from being offered by private insurance companies through the new state-run health insurance exchanges that were mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the sweeping health-reform law passed last year by Congress.

While the state's House of Delegates voted 61-36 for the ban, a deadlocked 20-20 Senate vote required a tiebreaking vote to be cast by Virginia's lieutenant governor, Bill Bolling, April 6.

The vote on abortion coverage was an amendment to the original bill that creates the exchanges. It had been passed by state lawmakers earlier in the year during its regular session, but Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican and a Catholic, exercised his right under Virginia law to offer amendments to bills once passed during the regular session.

The language in Gov. McDonnell's amendment prohibits abortion on demand but permits abortion in the cases of rape, incest and when the mother's life is endangered.

The other states to have banned abortion coverage on state health insurance exchanges are Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. The states were taking advantage of a clause in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which holds that "a state may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an exchange in such state if such state enacts a law to provide for such a prohibition."

Another three states restrict abortion coverage in health insurance policies regardless of whether those insurers participate in statewide exchanges, according to Jeff Caruso, executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, public policy arm of the state's two Catholic dioceses.

"People should not be forced to pay for other people's abortions. This amendment goes a long way toward upholding that principle," Mr. Caruso told Catholic News Service in an April 8 telephone interview from Richmond.

The April 6 vote came during a one-day reconvening session of the state's General Assembly to consider amendments proposed by the governor.

Also passed during the reconvening session was a McDonnell amendment to the budget bill that provides funding for abstinence education. It, too, met a 20-20 deadlock in the state Senate, requiring a tiebreaking vote by Lt. Gov. Bolling, who voted in favor of the amendment.

"This shows how critically important grass-roots networks are," Mr. Caruso said. An April 7 "victory alert" email from the Virginia Catholic Conference to its supporters gave credit to the Family Foundation, the Virginia Society for Human Life, the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists and Americans United for Life for their role in galvanizing opinion in favor of the two amendments.

Mr. Caruso ranked the two votes as among the biggest wins the state Catholic conference had during the Virginia legislative session, which ended for the year April 6. He said an important win during the regular session was passage of a bill to create new regulations on abortion clinics. It requires the state Board of Health to regulate abortion clinics as hospitals rather than as physicians' offices.

"That's going to have a significant impact," he predicted, adding that like the two measures handled in the reconvening session, the clinic bill also faced a 20-20 vote in the Senate and passed with a tiebreaking vote by Lt. Gov. Bolling.

"It was the identical 20-20 vote in all three cases," Mr. Caruso said.

 

 

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