WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The chairman of the U.S. bishops' pro-life committee is urging lawmakers not to allow the public funding for abortions in the District of Columbia.
Cardinal Justin Rigali sent a letter today to members of the House Appropriations Committee regarding a decision made by a subcommittee last week that will permit direct public funding for abortion in Washington, D.C.
He pointed out that this is "an action to promote publicly funded abortion, presumably the first step in a broader effort to restore such funding throughout the federal government," but that it neglects three realities.
First, the cardinal affirmed, "public funding of abortion is rejected by the American people, as numerous surveys of public opinion have shown."
He reported that this opposition was shown by Catholics nationwide who recently sent "tens of millions of postcards to their elected representatives in Congress" to oppose the Freedom of Choice Act as well as "any weakening or reversal of current appropriations riders on abortion."
Second, Cardinal Rigali added, "no lawmaker or administration can support such a policy change and still claim to support 'reducing abortions.'"
"The evidence is overwhelming," he noted, "and universally recognized by groups on all sides of the abortion issue, that the availability of public funds for abortion greatly increases abortions."
Third, the prelate stated, "this action takes place as Congress is working to win broad support for a much-needed major reform of our health care system."
He continued, "A key issue in this debate is whether any open-ended or general language on benefits in such legislation will be exploited to begin funding abortions or mandating abortion coverage."
"This is the worst of all possible times to be injecting the divisive issue of public abortion funding into the debate on government health policy," the cardinal explained.
He urged the committee to reverse the subcommittee's action, and to uphold the funding ban currently supported by law.
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Full text: www.usccb.org/prolife/Rigali-DornanAmendment-2009.pdf