A ban on federal funding for Planned Parenthood passed the U.S. House but failed in the Senate on April 14.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said the ban would have freed up funds to meet the basic needs of the poor.
“The current and future debate will involve hard choices and much shared sacrifice,” Cardinal DiNardo wrote Congress in an April 13 letter ahead of the vote. “Whether to fund the largest abortion network in the country is not one of those hard choices.”
The House voted 260-167 on a bill to fund the federal government for the rest of the year. A separate vote on a ban on Planned Parenthood funding passed by a vote of 241-185.
However, the ban failed in the Senate by a vote of 58-42. Republican Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine voted against the bill. So too did self-described pro-life Democrats Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Cardinal DiNardo, the U.S. bishops’ point man on pro-life activities, defended the proposed funding ban.
He said it was “indisputable” that Planned Parenthood is “by far the largest provider and promoter of abortions nationwide.” The organization performs about one third of all abortions, over 332,000 in the Fiscal Year 2008-2009, and abortions account for over a third of its income.
“The organization has aborted over five million unborn children since 1970,” the cardinal said.
Planned Parenthood’s involvement in abortion has “substantially increased” in recent years while its provision of other services such as prenatal care and adoption referrals has declined “markedly.” The national organization now insists that all affiliates provide abortions by 2013, he said.
Cardinal DiNardo also charged that the organization has led “numerous” campaigns and legal fights to oppose “any meaningful limits on abortion.”
While defenders of Planned Parenthood have pointed to its provision of women’s health services, DiNardo said that these services can be provide by others.
“When low-income women need these legitimate health care services, should the federal government insist that they receive them from the local abortion provider?” the cardinal asked.