Bishop of Scranton calls Sen. Casey’s abortion vote ‘an offense against life’

Bishop of Scranton calls Sen. Casey’s abortion vote ‘an offense against life’

Sen. Bob Casey / Bishop Joseph Martino
Sen. Bob Casey / Bishop Joseph Martino


Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pennsylvania has written a letter to self-described pro-life Democrat Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) expressing “deep regret” over his vote against an amendment which would have reinstated the Mexico City Policy and said his vote would result in the deaths of thousands of unborn children.

The Mexico City Policy, which bars federal funding for international groups which promote or perform abortions, was reversed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 23.

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) had proposed an amendment to the Children’s Health Insurance Act which would have reinstated the policy.

Writing in a Jan. 30 letter, Bishop Martino said he learned of Sen. Casey’s vote against the amendment “with deep regret.”

Explaining that the policy also prohibited the funding of organizations which lobby governments to make abortion legal, Bishop Martino wrote:

“In effect, the reversal of the Mexico City policy will mean that over 450 million dollars of American foreign aid will go to organizations that are militant in promoting abortion as a method of population control, particularly in countries that find abortion objectionable on moral grounds.

“Senator, is not this vote a contradiction of your repeated claim that you support the protection of unborn life?”

Saying that the senator’s office had argued that the 1973 Helms Amendment provides the same restrictions as the Mexico City Policy, Bishop Martino argued that the amendment prohibits only U.S. funds from being used to pay for abortions or to motivate or to coerce anyone to practice abortions.

The Helms Amendment “does not have the same effect in limiting abortions abroad” and “in no way keeps U.S. federal funds from organizations which use their own money to pay for or support abortions,” Bishop Martino charged.

The bishop explained that he had called for vigilance against objections to the Church’s teaching on life “so prevalent in political discourse.”

He said his call for vigilance prompted his own response to Sen. Casey.

“Your vote against the Mexico City Policy will mean the deaths of thousands of unborn children,” Bishop Martino said. “This is an offense against life and a denial of our Catholic teaching on the dignity of every human being. This action is worthy of condemnation by all moral men and women.”

The bishop also challenged Sen. Casey’s support for “family planning” before citing several Church documents which discussed lawmakers’ “grave and clear obligation” to oppose any law that “attacks human life.”

“It is my deepest wish, Senator, to convince you of the necessity of rescinding your vote on the Martinez Amendment,” Bishop Martino’s letter continued. “It is the height of irony that this amendment was defeated while the Senate passed legislation to provide health insurance for children who would otherwise be without it.

“What hypocrisy offers health insurance to children in one part of the world when children in another part will be deprived, by the stroke of the same pen, of their first breath?”

“Your failure to reverse this vote will regrettably mean that you persist formally in cooperating with the evil brought about by this hideous and unnecessary policy,” Bishop Martino counseled, offering to discuss his “grave concerns” with the Senator.

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