Bishop Sheridan calls on Congress to defund abortion providers

Bishop Michael J Sheridan Rep Mike Pence CNA US Catholic News 3 30 11 Bishop Michael Sheridan and Rep. Mike Pence

Congress should pass the Pence Amendment to defund organizations which offer abortion services, Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs will say today.

The amendment would “undoubtedly ‘protect life’ by putting an end to the millions of taxpayer dollars being given to organizations whose mission it is to offer family planning by means of ending the lives of the unborn,” he wrote in his March 31 column for the Colorado Catholic Herald, provided ahead of publication to CNA.

“The challenge before Congress in the coming week and ahead is to work together to achieve consistency with U.S. policies when it comes to the sanctity of life.”

Bishop Sheridan explained that the federal government is presently being funded by a series of continuing resolutions. Over the next two weeks congressmen will consider another resolution to keep the government funded until Sept. 30.

While an amendment from Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) to bar abortion provider funding from the full-year bill has passed the House with bipartisan support, that bill faces opposition from the Senate and President Obama. The recent resolutions maintain the status quo and Planned Parenthood funding has remained intact.

One of every four abortions in the U.S. is performed at a Planned Parenthood clinic, the bishop said. The organization performed 332,000 abortions in 2009 while making only 977 adoption referrals.

The organization’s latest report said it received more than $363 million in taxpayer funds and was the largest recipient under the Title X program established in 1970.

“The Pence Amendment would place the same restrictions on domestic appropriations that the Hyde Amendment has placed on foreign appropriations since it was passed in 1976,” Bishop Sheridan wrote. “In short, no organization offering abortion services would be eligible to receive federal tax dollars.”

The amendment would defund 102 other organizations in addition to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood has portrayed itself as primarily concerned with cervical cancer, breast cancer and related women’s health issues, Bishop Sheridan said.

“We know that not to be true,” he said, noting that 2009 statistics show that a woman entering a Planned Parenthood clinic is 42 times more likely to have an abortion than to be referred for adoption or receive prenatal care.

The Pence Amendment, he explained, does not cut any funding for women’s health services.

“It would simply block those funds already in the bill from subsidizing America's largest abortion provider,” the bishop wrote.

“Women’s health will in no way be put at risk if Planned Parenthood loses its federal funding. On the contrary, a considerable danger to the lives of the unborn will be removed, and American citizens, most of whom oppose abortion, will no longer be subsidizing a profound moral evil.”

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