.- Bishop of Youngstown, Ohio George Murry, SJ, has voiced his opposition to a bill sponsored by Ohio U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan which claims to reduce the need for abortions. Bishop Murray said the proposed bill mistakenly promotes contraception and is inferior to other proposals which would help pregnant women.
Rep. Ryan, who is a Democrat and a Catholic, joined Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) in co-sponsoring the Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act (H.R. 3312). Bishop Murray is Rep. Ryan’s bishop.
Ryan’s proposed bill reportedly calls for grants for "comprehensive sexuality education" and substantially increases funding for the Title X Family Planning Program. It also provides some funding for after-school programs and efforts to support pregnant students.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the Diocese of Youngstown, Bishop Murray said the bill is “based on the mistaken belief that greater access to contraception reduces abortions.”
“Numerous studies as well as life experiences have shown that taxpayer support of contraception does not reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions,” he continued. “For example, a 2006 study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute presents evidence that those states which are aggressive in promoting contraception also have the highest abortion rates.”
The bishop also warned that some contraceptives may have an abortifacient effect.
Bishop Murry encouraged support for the Pregnant Women Support Act (S. 1032, H.R. 2035), calling it a “common sense approach” to help women “choose life for their babies.” The proposed bill makes adoption tax credits permanent, provides grants for ultrasound equipment, increases funding for domestic violence prevention programs, and ends health insurance companies’ discriminatory practices against women.
Catholic teaching considers contraceptive use to be a sin because it separates the possibility procreation from the marital act and thereby removes the complete gift of oneself from sexual intercourse.
Susan Wills, Assistant Director for Education and Outreach in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, has also criticized Rep. Ryan’s bill, characterizing it as a “Planned Parenthood Economic Stimulus Package.”
In the past, Rep. Ryan presented himself as a pro-life Democrat and served on the national advisory board for Democrats for Life of America (DFLA). However, he was removed from the board in 2008 because, in DFLA President Kristin Day’s words, he had “turned his back” on the pro-life community “at every turn.”
He now has a 100% rating from the pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America.