A US Congressman from Louisiana, former Jesuit seminarian Anh "Joseph" Cao, has said that he will not vote for the country's contentious Health Care bill because he prefers to "save his soul" rather than support the bill.
Cao, the only member of the Louisiana House delegation who had not weighed in on where he stands on President Obama's health reform bill, told the Times-Picayune that he cannot support any bill that permits public money to be spent on abortion, the Catholic News Agency says.
"At the end of the day if the health care reform bill does not have strong language prohibiting the use of federal funding for abortion, then the bill is really a no-go for me," said Cao, who had spent time in Jesuit formation.
"Being a Jesuit, I very much adhere to the notion of social justice," Cao said. "I do fully understand the need of providing everyone with access to health care, but to me personally, I cannot be privy to a law that will allow the potential of destroying thousands of innocent lives," he told the Louisiana newspaper.
"I know that voting against the health care bill will probably be the death of my political career," Cao said, "but I have to live with myself, and I always reflect on the phrase of the New Testament, 'How does it profit a man's life to gain the world but to lose his soul.'"
Additionally, health care is "a basic right belonging to all human beings, from conception to natural death," Cardinal Justin Rigali, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities chair, said in an earlier report.
Cardinal Rigali said that the USCCB "is working to ensure that needed health reform is not undermined by abandoning longstanding and widely supported policies against abortion funding and mandates and in favour of conscience protection."
It is feared that the bill would be used to mandate abortion coverage in private health plans, expand abortion funding, override state laws that limit or regulate abortion, and endanger existing laws protecting the conscience rights of health care providers.
Catholic congressman: I'd rather save my soul than vote for the health care bill (Catholic News Agency)
Cardinal Rigali Urges House Committee to Support Pro-Life Amendments to Health Care Reform Bill (USCCB)
Congressman Joseph Cao
Joseph Cao (Wikipedia)
Ex-seminarian first Vietnamese-American in Congress