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Bishops warn legislation will mean taxpayer-funded abortion


By rarrarorro | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 07/15/21

Appropriations bill excludes the 46-year-old Hyde Amendment, will eliminate doctors' choice to opt out of procedures.

A key piece of legislation making its way through Congress will force taxpayers to fund abortions and eliminate health care professionals’ option to refuse to participate in them, Catholic bishops say.

This week, the House Committee on Appropriations will mark up the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill, which excludes the 46-year-old Hyde Amendment and other longstanding, bipartisan provisions, including the Weldon Amendment. Eliminating these provisions would force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions and force health care providers and professionals to perform and refer for abortion against their deeply-held beliefs, as well as force employers and insurers to cover and pay for abortion.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called the bill “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.”

“By eliminating the Hyde Amendment, and other Hyde-like policies, the financial fruits of Americans’ labor would advance the destruction of the smallest, most vulnerable humans,” the bishops said in a statement. “Eliminating the Weldon Amendment would be an egregious violation of conscience rights by forcing individuals and entities to perform, pay for, or otherwise participate in an abortion against their beliefs,” Dolan and Naumann stated. “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 bishops are calling on the House Committee on Appropriations to restore the Hyde provisions and Weldon Amendment. They said those two provisions have saved “millions of lives and protected conscience rights.”

“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,” the bishops said. 

The Committee on Pro-Life Activities has sponsored a petition to legislators asking them to preserve the Hyde Amendment.

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