In a recent letter to Congress, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) decried federal abortion funding and the commodification of human beings through IVF while encouraging pro-family policies and restorative reproductive medicine. 

Bishop Michael Burbidge, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities and the bishop of Arlington, Virginia, highlighted in the May 16 letter that the USCCB “will oppose any bill that expands taxpayer funding of abortion.

“We take this stand because abortion funded by the government advances neither health care nor justice; it is the antithesis of health care and justice,” he stated in the letter to members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees.

As the abortion battle continues in the U.S. with states proposing various ballot measures to promote or limit abortion, Burbidge reiterated the USCCB’s support for the Hyde Amendment, which bans any federal funding of abortion.

“By offering ‘free’ abortions or facilitating abortions, the government effectively asks pregnant women in difficult circumstances to end the life of their child as the only ‘solution’ to their socioeconomic difficulty in welcoming that child,” he explained.

“We strongly encourage Congress in the appropriations process to also counter the administration’s aggressive and overreaching moves,” Burbidge continued. “Actions such as turning veterans’ hospitals and neighborhood convenience stores into abortion providers are unconscionable and degrade the dignity of patients and communities.”

Burbidge also brought up concerns about in vitro fertilization (IVF). He noted that while the desire for a child is a good thing, the bishops “reject” IVF because it “commodifies human beings” and “creates hundreds of thousands or even millions of preborn children who will be lost … interminably frozen, or discarded and killed.”

While many Republicans and Democrats have voiced support for IVF, the Catholic Church takes a firm stance against it for numerous reasons including the destruction of human life that often results from it, the “domination” of technology over human life, and the rejection of the natural procreative act of husband and wife. 

“We therefore support restorative reproductive medicine, which is often effective yet overlooked, to identify and treat the root causes of infertility,” Burbidge noted.

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As an alternative to IVF, the Catholic Church supports fertility resources such as NaPro technology, which aims to address the underlying reasons for infertility and enable a couple to conceive a child naturally. 

The process can sometimes require lifestyle changes to improve fertility, surgical intervention to treat conditions that cause infertility, and medicine to induce ovulation in the woman or improve the sperm count in the man. When the issues are addressed, and the couple has a better sense of when the woman is more fertile, the treatment helps the couple conceive a child through the marital act naturally.

The U.S. bishops also encourage public policies that make having children easier and more practical for parents. Burbidge highlighted the USCCB’s support for maternal and child health care, the Child Tax Credit, and paid parental leave as well as federal funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

WIC aims to support the health of low-income women, infants, and children by providing nutritious food and promoting healthy eating.

“In the post-Dobbs landscape, it is as important as ever that government priorities respond in authentic, life-affirming ways to the needs of mothers and their families,” Burbidge wrote. “We continue to call for policies that put children and families first.”

“In all of these ways, society must make it easier to welcome and raise a new child, and promote life and hope for both preborn children and their mothers,” he concluded.