.- Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pennsylvania has written a letter to self-described pro-life Democrat Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) expressing âdeep regretâ over his vote against an amendment which would have reinstated the Mexico City Policy and said his vote would result in the deaths of thousands of unborn children.
The Mexico City Policy, which bars federal funding for international groups which promote or perform abortions, was reversed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 23.
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) had proposed an amendment to the Childrenâs Health Insurance Act which would have reinstated the policy.
Writing in a Jan. 30 letter, Bishop Martino said he learned of Sen. Caseyâs vote against the amendment âwith deep regret.â
Explaining that the policy also prohibited the funding of organizations which lobby governments to make abortion legal, Bishop Martino wrote:
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.
âSenator, is not this vote a contradiction of your repeated claim that you support the protection of unborn life?â
Saying that the senatorâs office had argued that the 1973 Helms Amendment provides the same restrictions as the Mexico City Policy, Bishop Martino argued that the amendment prohibits only U.S. funds from being used to pay for abortions or to motivate or to coerce anyone to practice abortions.
The Helms Amendment âdoes not have the same effect in limiting abortions abroadâ and âin no way keeps U.S. federal funds from organizations which use their own money to pay for or support abortions,â Bishop Martino charged.
The bishop explained that he had called for vigilance against objections to the Churchâs teaching on life âso prevalent in political discourse.â
He said his call for vigilance prompted his own response to Sen. Casey.
âYour vote against the Mexico City Policy will mean the deaths of thousands of unborn children,â Bishop Martino said. âThis is an offense against life and a denial of our Catholic teaching on the dignity of every human being. This action is worthy of condemnation by all moral men and women.â
The bishop also challenged Sen. Caseyâs support for âfamily planningâ before citing several Church documents which discussed lawmakersâ âgrave and clear obligationâ to oppose any law that âattacks human life.â
âIt is my deepest wish, Senator, to convince you of the necessity of rescinding your vote on the Martinez Amendment,â Bishop Martinoâs letter continued. âIt is the height of irony that this amendment was defeated while the Senate passed legislation to provide health insurance for children who would otherwise be without it.
âWhat hypocrisy offers health insurance to children in one part of the world when children in another part will be deprived, by the stroke of the same pen, of their first breath?â
âYour failure to reverse this vote will regrettably mean that you persist formally in cooperating with the evil brought about by this hideous and unnecessary policy,â Bishop Martino counseled, offering to discuss his âgrave concernsâ with the Senator.