By Lisa Zengarini
US Bishops have reiterated their call not to exclude from the new federal budget the Hyde Amendment banning federal funding for most abortions and other longstanding bipartisan provisions on this issue, saying abortion “is not healthcare nor a ‘human service’ to anyone”.
House Appropriations Committee to debate and vote a new spending bill this week
On Monday Democratic members of the House of Representatives moved a new spending bill for the Department of Health and Human Services without the Hyde Amendment to the full House Appropriations Committee for debate and a vote this week. Democrats and other groups who support the bill argue that the Amendment disproportionately impacts disadvantaged communities as it makes it extremely difficult for anyone who relies on government-issued health insurance such as Medicaid to access abortion care.
The Hyde and Weldon Amendment
US bishops, however, maintain that eliminating the 46-year-old Amendment or other similar provisions, like the Weldon Amendment, which protects conscience rights, would force American taxpayers to pay for elective abortions, oblige health care providers and professionals to perform and refer for abortion against their beliefs and force employers and insurers to cover and pay for pregnancy termination.
Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for elective abortions, bishops say
“This is the most extreme pro-abortion appropriations bill that we have seen, effectively mandating healthcare professionals to participate in abortion, and forcing American citizens to pay for abortion with their tax dollars”, reads a statement signed by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Abortion is not a healthcare service , it is inhumane
“By eliminating the Hyde Amendment, and other Hyde-like policies, the financial fruits of Americans’ labour would advance the destruction of the smallest, most vulnerable humans”, the two prelates point out emphasizing that “abortion is not healthcare nor a ‘human service’ to anyone. Rather, abortion is inhumane. It is a painful death to an innocent baby, and often leaves women physically harmed and emotionally devastated”, the statement continues.
Americans’ tax dollars should be used for the common good
Bishops therefore urge House Committee on Appropriations to reverse course on these bills, reiterating that “Americans’ tax dollars should be used for the common good and welfare of all, not to finance abortion or force Americans to violate deeply-held beliefs”.
Catholics called to sign a petition to legislators
They finally ask all Catholics and all people of good will to make make their voices heard by signing a petition to legislators sponsored by the Committee on Pro-Life Activities: “The lives of millions of vulnerable children, and the well-being of their mothers, depend on our advocacy”, the statement concludes.