The USCCB opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as "Obamacare," for a number of reasons, but the operative reason appears to be that they viewed it as weakening the status quo of legislative barriers against funding of abortion. They repeatedly implied that the law would lead to an increase in federal funding for abortions, but when pressed, they focused on the weaker claim that the law departs from previous standards for safeguarding against federal funding of abortion.
- "The Church teaches that one can promote and even vote in favor of a law that expands protection against the direct taking of life, even if it is imperfect because it does not address every possible situation. Such a law is at least going in the morally right direction. However, the present health-care reform act went in the wrong direction regarding the destruction of unborn human life...and therefore could not ethically be endorsed."
But this seems like a novel moral principle - a piece of legislation cannot be supported, not because of the content itself or the content relative to what is politically feasible, but because of a comparison of its content to previous legislation. Yet, its proponents do not acknowledge the novelty or uniqueness of this argument. Instead they hidden behind the rhetorical strategy of repeatedly making strong claims implying moral certainty that the bill would fund elective abortions but then, when those strong claims are questioned, defending the weaker claim that the laws restrictions are merely looser than previous laws and could potentially allow expanded abortion funding.
For example, in Cardinal George's statement of March 15, 2010, the USCCB's closing argument before the final health care votes, he states in his final paragraph that the bill includes "the expansion of abortion funding and of polices forcing everyone to pay for abortions." But when such strong claims were questioned in the pages of well-regarded Catholic magazines, the responses retreated to weaker claims such as that above without acknowledging the shift.