This is a welcome development, both substantively on the merits (I oppose federal funding for abortion) and politically for the president:

"Passing this amendment allows the House to meet our criteria of preserving the existing protections against abortion funding in the new legislation," the Bishops wrote in a letter to individual members. "Most importantly, it will ensure that no government funds will be used for abortion or health plans which include abortion."

The group goes on to say, "The Conference will remain vigilant and involved through this entire process to assure that these essential provisions are maintained and included in the final legislation. With this important step forward we hope the House can come together and finally move forward essential reform which truly will protect the life, dignity, conscience and health of all. We also hope the Senate will follow the example of the House and include these essential safeguards in their version of health care reform legislation."

It's important to note what the theocons will never mention. Catholic teaching very, very strongly backs universal health insurance as a moral imperative.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.