By Lisa Zengarini
US bishops have once again called on lawmakers not to expand taxpayer funding of abortion, reiterating the position expressed in a letter sent to the Congress on 7 September on the forthcoming Budget Reconciliation bill.
The letter, among other things, urged Senators and Representatives not to pass “provisions facilitating and funding the destruction of unborn human life,” saying that, should these provisions be included in the bill, they would oppose it.
Abortion funding provisions still in bill
However, on 15 September, the House Committees on Ways and Means and on Energy and Commerce advanced legislation containing the tax elements of the “Build Back Better Act” – President Biden’s recovery package – without removing abortion funding provisions or including the Hyde Amendment.
For nearly 40 years, this bipartisan legislative provision has barred the use of federal funds to pay for abortion, with some exceptions, including rape.
Americans should not be forced to pay for abortion
US Bishops have reacted to the move with a statement calling on Congress to “turn back from including taxpayer funding of abortion in the Build Back Better Act”.
While reiterating their support for other measures contained in the “Build Back Better Act”, aimed at improving healthcare coverage for those in need in the United States, the statement insists that abortion funding provisions should be removed from the proposed bill.
They therefore urge all members of Congress and the Administration “to work in good faith to advance important and life-saving healthcare provisions without forcing Americans to pay for the deliberate destruction of unborn human life.”
The statement is signed by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman Committee on Pro-Life Activities the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB), and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, head of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.