Domestic bill to codify Roe is ‘unfair and extreme,’ US bishops say

The US Capitol in Washington. (SNC Photo/Tyler Orsburn)

WASHINGTON — The chairs of two U.S. Episcopal committees have said a measure passed by the House on July 15 is “the most unjust and extreme abortion-on-demand bill our country has ever seen.”

They implored lawmakers “who view abortion as a legitimate ‘solution’ to women’s needs to abandon this path of death and despair,” urging them to join the U.S. bishops in prioritizing the “well- being women, children and families” providing material resources and “personal support” so that “no woman ever feels obliged to choose between her future and the life of her child”.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Activities Committee, and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee for Liberty nun, made the comments in a joint statement. July 18.

In a majority partisan vote of 219 to 210, House members approved an updated version of the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022, which would codify an abortion right into federal law. . An earlier version passed the House in March, but did not pass the Senate.

The bill, HR 8296, would mandate abortion on demand nationwide at any stage of pregnancy and eliminate pro-life laws at all levels of government – ​​including parental notification for underage girls , informed consent, and health and safety protections specific to abortion centers.

“Meeting the needs of women by promoting taxpayer-funded elective abortion, as this bill would do, is a grave wrong and a failure to love and serve women,” Archbishop Lori and the Cardinal said. Dolan.

“Providing free or low-cost abortions, instead of increasing the resources women need to care for themselves and their children, is not ‘choice’ but coercion and abandonment. ruthless,” they said.

“Just repeating the mantra that abortion is health care is not enough,” they added. “Deliberately ending the lives of helpless, voiceless human beings is the antithesis of health care.”

They said HR 8296 would likely force health care providers and professionals to perform, assist, and/or recommend an abortion against their deeply held beliefs, as well as force employers and insurers to cover or pay for the abortion. .

The House also passed the Abortion Access Guarantee Act, HR 8297, which would prohibit states from punishing those who travel out of state “for reproductive health care.” This vote was also largely along party lines; the measure was approved 223-205.

Archbishop Lori and Cardinal Dolan have called on everyone, in Congress and in the country at large, to join the American bishops “in pursuing a vision we presented in ‘Standing with Moms in Need’” , which, they said, “confirms the truth that every human life is sacred and inviolable – a society in which the legal protection of human life is accompanied by profound care for mothers and their children.

The USCCB issued the “Standing with Moms in Need” statement earlier this year as the nation awaited the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks. Oral arguments were heard in the December 1 case.

The bishops reiterated their statement when a draft court majority opinion in Dobbs was leaked in early May stating that Roe v. Wade would be canceled.

On June 24, the court upheld the Mississippi law 6 to 3, but the High Court also voted 5 to 4 to overturn its 1973 Roe decision and Casey v. Planned Parenthood from 1992, which confirmed Roe.

In the statement “Standing with Moms in Need”, the bishops pledged to “redouble our efforts to accompany women and couples who face unexpected or difficult pregnancies, and during the first years of parenthood, by providing loving and compassionate care through initiatives such as ‘Walking with Moms in Need’ and countless others.

These efforts include ensuring that all parishes are places of welcome for expectant mothers in need and their families.

In 2020, the U.S. bishops launched the initiative “Walking with mothers in need”, which aims to commit every Catholic parish “to providing a safety net to ensure expectant and parenting mothers have the resources, love and support they need to nurture the lives of their children.”

In the “Standing with Moms in Need” statement, the Bishops also said they would “redouble our advocacy for laws that guarantee the right to life of unborn children and that no mother or family lack basic resources. necessary to care for her children, regardless of race, age, immigration status or any other factor.

“We are keenly aware that after nearly half a century of legalized abortion, more than 65 million children have died from abortion and that countless numbers of women, men and families suffer from it,” they also said.

“Recognizing this pain and loss, we also re-engage our committees and urge our dioceses, parishes and Catholic agencies and institutions: to proclaim God’s mercy after abortion and to compassionately accompany women and men who suffer after abortion “, they said.

They are also committed to expanding the church’s abortion healing ministries.

The “Standing with Moms in Need” was signed by Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose H. Gomez, USCCB President, and the chairs of eight USCCB Committees: Pro-Life, Migration, Domestic Policy, Politics international, Catholic education, communications, evangelism and catechesis, and marriage and family life.

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