Catholic Bishops Spokesman Tells Congress to Keep Abortion Funding Limits

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 5, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishops Spokesman Tells Congress to Keep Abortion Funding Limits

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 5
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A pro-life representative of the nation’s Catholic bishops is asking Congressional leaders to keep the pro-life limits on abortion funding in place. There is great cancer that abortion advocates, who now control both Congress and the White House, will overturn several limits on direct abortion funding.

Writing as chairman of the pro-life committee of the Catholic bishops, Cardinal Justin Rigali sent a letter Thursday to ever member of Congress.

The missive, provided to, urges them to maintain pro-life provisions in the appropriations bills they must soon approve to keep government programs funded past March 5.

“I urge you not to use this legislation to weaken or rescind longstanding provisions that protect U.S. taxpayers from being forced to fund and promote the destruction of innocent human life,” Cardinal Rigali wrote in the letter.

Cardinal Rigali said his letter came at a time when millions of Catholics and other pro-life advocates are sending postcards to Congress urging opposition to the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, that makes unlimited abortions a national law.

"While an extreme proposal like FOCA would overturn hundreds of pro-life laws at once, we are equally concerned that such laws may be overturned one at a time during Congress’s appropriations process," he said.
The letter highlights the Hyde amendment and similar measures protecting American taxpayers from being forced to subsidize abortions.

It also urges support for the Dickey/Wicker amendment preventing federal funding for research in which human embryos are created, harmed and destroyed. And it backs the Kemp-Kasten amendment preventing U.S. funding of organizations that support or help manage programs involving forced abortions and sterilizations.

Cardinal Rigali also called on Congress to maintain the Hyde/Weldon conscience protection amendment, a key measure preventing discrimination against health care providers who do not perform or refer for abortions.

“Clearly ‘choice’ is an empty slogan if physicians, nurses and hospitals must ‘choose’ to provide abortions or be forced out of the health care field,” he said.

“Like Congress’s decision about requiring taxpayers to fund abortion, the decision whether to maintain current conscience protections could play a major role in determining whether Americans of different backgrounds, viewpoints and religions will be able to work together toward a consensus on much-needed health care reform,” Cardinal Rigali advised.

The letter comes after the announcement of another letter two pro-life members of Congress are putting together.

Representatives Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, and Heath Shuler, a North Carolina Democrat, are behind the effort that dozen of pro-life lawmakers will sign to let House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Congressional Democrats know that they don’t want to see taxpayer funding of abortion resume.

According to research from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion group formerly affiliated with Planned Parenthood, the Hyde Amendment is responsible for a reduction in the number of abortions by as much as 18-38 percent.

Other provisions include limiting taxpayer funded abortions in the District of Columbia, federal employee health plans, on military base hospitals, and measures limiting research on human embryos and providing conscience clauses for medical professionals.

The pair expect to send their letter on February 13.

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