Austin diocese organizes resistance to health board's abortion funding

Austin Bishop Joe Vasquez
Austin Bishop Joe Vasquez


The Diocese of Austin, Texas, is organizing local resistance to a major health board's decision to provide $450,000 in annual funding for abortions in the state.

Austin Bishop Joe Vasquez recently wrote to board members of Central Health in Travis County, urging them to withdraw the funding and stating that they are “morally culpable” for their actions.

According to the Statesman newspaper, the boarded unanimously voted in December 2009 to renew a five year contract which funds three abortion providers in an effort to ensure coverage for the procedure to economically disadvantaged women.

In the letter to the board, Bishop Vasquez stated that “At the heart of our concern is this: Those who assist in the procurement of an abortion are morally culpable for their actions.”

“Voting to allocate these funds carries moral weight for the Board of Managers and at the same time has implications for all those who pay taxes,” the prelate added. “As Catholics and Christians we dutifully pay our taxes, but doing so should not violate our conscience.”

A televised hearing will take place on Sept. 9 at the local Travis County Commissioners Courtroom.

The Diocese of Austin issued an advocacy alert over the weekend, urging resistance to the abortion funding. In addition to asking for prayers, the Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living encouraged local Catholics to pass on the news to friends, relatives and co-workers and to contact Central Health directly. Local Catholics are also being asked attend the hearings and voice their opposition.

Providing sample letter for Catholics who wish to write Central Health, the diocese stated: “Poor women need help providing for their children, not eliminating them through abortion. Women deserve better than abortion from Central Health, and county taxpayers deserve better use of their funds.”

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