.- Bishop of Scranton Joseph Martino has written again to Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Bob Casey concerning his vote against the Mexico City Policy. Saying he has âdeep concernâ that the senatorâs staff is misrepresenting the vote as pro-life, Bishop Martino asked for âutter clarityâ on matters that pertain to taking innocent life.
The bishop's second letter was made public on the same day the Diocese of Scranton published an Official Notice on the Reception of Communion. The notice emphasizes the need for communicants to receive Holy Communion worthily and the need for ministers to ensure the Sacramentâs worthy reception.
Sen. Casey, a self-described pro-life Democrat, recently voted against an amendment to the Childrenâs Health Insurance Act which would have reinstated the Mexico City Policy reversed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 23.
The Mexico City Policy bars U.S. taxpayer funding of international groups that promote or perform abortions.
Following Casey's vote against the ammendment, Bishop Martino wrote his first letter to Sen. Casey on Jan. 30 expressing his âdeep regretâ over the senator's vote.
âIn effect, the reversal of the Mexico City policy will mean that over 450 million dollars of American foreign aid will go to organizations that are militant in promoting abortion as a method of population control, particularly in countries that find abortion objectionable on moral grounds,â he wrote.
âSenator, is not this vote a contradiction of your repeated claim that you support the protection of unborn life?â
According to the Scranton Times Tribune, Sen. Casey has claimed that the 1973 Helms Amendment and the Hyde Amendment provide the same restrictions as the Mexico City Policy. The senator also has argued that giving the groups money reduces the number of abortions by promoting contraception and âfamily planningâ to avoid unexpected pregnancies.
In his second letter, dated Feb. 26, Bishop Martino told Sen. Casey that his Jan. 30 letter was âin no way mistakenâ regarding the effects of President Obamaâs reversal of the Mexico City Policy.
âIt is imperative that this fact be made known to the public,â he wrote.
âIt is a matter of deep concern that your recent vote against the Mexico City Policy is continually misrepresented by your staff as a pro-life vote.â
âThe Mexico City Policy is, first and foremost, about abortion, not about family planning,â the bishop argued, quoting the policyâs requirement that federally-funded organizations âneither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.â
âFurthermore, the Mexico City Policy did not take funds away from family planning; its effect is quite the opposite,â the bishop said.
Bishop Martino quoted the Family Research Councilâs Tom McClusky, who said that, because President Obamaâs rescindment of the Mexico City Policy, millions of dollars will be taken away from family planning groups that do not promote abortions and will instead be directed to âorganizations that are the most militant in promoting abortion as a population-control methodâespecially in countries that find abortion objectionable on moral grounds.â
âContrary to the claims of your staff,â he wrote, the end of the Mexico City Policy ensures that money is taken away from family planning, that abortion is promoted as a method of family planning, and that countries that have moral and cultural objections to abortion are encouraged to abandon their anti-abortion policies.
âFinally, it is never permissible to use immoral means such as artificial contraception to achieve a good end, namely, the reduction of unplanned pregnancies,â Bishop Martino said, saying the use of contraception advances the attitude that having and raising children is âa burden to be avoided.â
âThis attitude has contributed mightily to the acceptability of abortion as a means of contraception both at home and abroad.â
The bishop wrote that it is âimperativeâ to have âutter clarityâ on Church teaching relevant to the taking of innocent life and to the special responsibilities that fall to Sen. Casey to oppose abortion and âother clear evils.â
Bishop Martino closed by quoting U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops President Cardinal Francis Georgeâs letter to President Obama urging that the Mexico City Policy be upheld.
âOnce the clear line between family planning and abortion is erased, the idea of using family planning to reduce abortions becomes meaningless, and abortion tends to replace contraception as the means for reducing family size,â Cardinal George wrote in a Jan. 23 letter. âA shift toward promoting abortion in developing nations would also increase distrust of the United States in these nations, whose values and culture often reject abortion, at a time when we need their trust and respect.â