U.S. bishops call House bill that would offer free abortions ‘a grave evil’

Pregnant mom Photo illustration. | Shutterstock

The U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops condemned a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that would expand abortion access rather than help women and children.

The Women’s Health Protection Act, which the House passed in a 219-210 vote on Friday, is “the most unjust and extreme abortion on demand bill our nation has ever seen,” Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York wrote in a July 18 statement.

“Answering the needs of women by promoting taxpayer-funded elective abortion, as this bill would do, is a grave evil and a failure to love and serve women,” said Lori, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Dolan, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty.

“Offering free or low-cost abortions, instead of increasing the resources women need to care for themselves and their children, is not ‘choice’ but coercion and callous abandonment," they said.

Because Democrats lack the necessary votes to overcome a Republican filibuster, the bill is not expected to win passage in the Senate.

But pro-abortion Democrats, including President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have made the eventual passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act a centerpiece of plans to nullify the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case June 24 that overturned a nationwide right to abortion.

The Women’s Health Protection Act would compel Americans to fund abortion with tax dollars, and force health care providers and professionals to perform or facilitate abortions, the USCCB statement cautioned. The bishops noted that insurers and employers would also have to help pay for abortions “against their deeply-held beliefs.” 

“Simply repeating the mantra that abortion is healthcare doesn’t make it so,” Lori and Dolan urged. “Deliberately ending the lives of defenseless and voiceless human beings is the antithesis of healthcare.”

In response to the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, the U.S. bishops promoted a pro-life alternative to abortion: a parish-based ministry run by the USCCB called Standing with Moms in Need

“We implore those who see abortion as a legitimate ‘solution’ to the needs of women to abandon this path of death and despair,” Lori and Dolan wrote. “Instead, we invite all to join us in pursuing a vision we presented in Standing with Moms in Need, a vision that upholds the truth that every human life is sacred and inviolable — a society in which the legal protection of human life is accompanied by profound care for mothers and their children.” 

The initiative calls on Catholic dioceses, parishes, and agencies to provide resources for women facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies. Programs include Walking with Moms in Need, which aids pregnant and parenting mothers, and Project Rachel Ministry, which offers post-abortive healing and pregnancy loss support.

“We exhort our nation to prioritize the well-being of women, children, and families with both material resources and personal accompaniment so that no woman ever feels forced to choose between her future and the life of her child,” the bishops concluded.

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