Denver Newsroom, April 29, 2022 / 4:55 p.m. (CNA).
A bishop emeritus in Texas has called on fellow bishops to act after President Biden’s proposed 2023 budget removed protections that prohibit federal funding for abortion.
“If abortion is truly the preeminent issue of life as we bishops say, then we must hold President Biden accountable for his pro-abortion extremism, calling out Biden in an appropriate pastoral way, for his anti-abortion policies. -pro-abortion Catholics,” Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI, Bishop Emeritus of San Angelo, wrote in a response to the Biden administration’s proposed 2023 budget, which does not include the Hyde Amendment.
First introduced in 1976, the once bipartisan Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding from going to abortion except for rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. The budget provision or addendum, approved each year by Congress, has a significant impact on Medicaid recipients.
A growing number of Democrats have called for an end to the Hyde Amendment, even as polls continue to find a majority of Americans oppose using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. After decades of supporting Hyde, Biden, the second Catholic president in US history, changed his stance as he ran for office. Biden had not included the Hyde Amendment in his 2022 budget request, a move condemned by the US bishops.
In his April 22 statement, Pfeifer, who served as bishop of San Angelo from 1985 to 2013, pointed out (and pro-life estimates back it up) that Hyde saved an estimated 2.5 million babies from abortion.
“We bishops must speak out and act more forcefully to defend all human life, but especially the life of the unborn child in the womb,” Pfeifer said. “This requires more effective dialogue and engagement with all public officials, especially Catholic public officials.”
He expressed hope that the president could change course.
“I hope this statement inspires our president and his administration not to fund the terrible evil of abortion in the 2023 budget,” Pfeifer told CNA. “And, hopefully my comments on how the Roe v. Wade decision was made will now lead to that decision being overturned.”
In his statement, Pfeifer encouraged the Supreme Court to reverse its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, who legalized abortion nationwide, when she decided Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization later this year.
“We must remember and take action from what the Supreme Court admitted in Roe v. Wade: ‘if … personality (for the unborn child) is established, the appellant’s case s collapses of course for the fetus’s right to life is then guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Pfeifer wrote, citing the ruling.
The caller’s abortion case, he said, has since collapsed.
“Since science is now absolutely clear that human life begins at conception when a new human being is formed, our courts, our government, and the American people must now oppose abortion on demand. and insist that unborn innocent life be protected, especially when it is most defenseless,” he said.
Pfeifer highlighted one way bishops are working toward a culture of life: Walking with Moms in Need, a program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, encourages Catholics to support and “walk in the shoes” of women. pregnant and local parents in difficult situations.
Bishops, he said, “must state clearly that we urge our president and our legislators, everyone, to prioritize the welfare 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.
He urged the Biden administration to only fund programs and endorse policies that recognize the dignity and sanctity of human life.
“Taxpayer funding of abortion represents a grave failure to serve women in their motherhood by funding despair and death instead of hope and life,” he wrote.
He quoted Pope Francis calling abortion murder and cited the pontiff’s 2019 call for politicians “to address the defense of the life of those who are about to be born and enter the society as the cornerstone of the common good”.
Pfeifer recognized abortion – “the direct killing of the unborn child” – as “the antithesis of health care” for the mother and her unborn child. He called the prayer “central” to overthrowing Roe, blocking funding for abortion and working towards a culture of life.
Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI, Bishop Emeritus of San Angelo, issues a new pro-life pastoral statement.
“The Biden Administration’s 2023 Budget Targets the Hyde Amendment and Other Limits on Taxpayers Funding Abortion.”
Read the full text here: pic.twitter.com/ycdFBLUIYx
— Katie Yoder (@k_yoder) April 29, 2022
Church teaching on abortion
The Catholic Church condemns abortion in the strongest possible terms. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which summarizes the teaching of the Church, recognizes the inherent dignity and value of the unborn human person and considers abortion a “crime against human life”.
“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception,” reads the catechism. “From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among them the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”
At the same time, the Church emphasizes mercy and forgiveness for women who have had abortions.
“The Church does not thus intend to restrict the scope of mercy”, says the catechism, but on the contrary “clarifies the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and society as a whole.
In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, which Pfeifer quotes, St. John Paul II addressed abortion in the light of politics.
“I repeat once again that a law which violates an innocent person’s natural right to life is unjust and as such is not valid as a law,” he wrote. . “For this reason, I once again urge all political leaders not to pass laws which, by ignoring the dignity of the person, undermine the very fabric of society.”
The Church encourages political leaders, beginning with those who are Christians, not to give in, but to make those choices which, given what is realistically achievable, will lead to the restoration of a just order in the defense and promoting the value of life,” he added.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith discussed the late pontiff’s teaching in its 2002 doctrinal note on “The Participation of Catholics in Political Life.”
“John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has repeatedly said that those directly involved in legislative bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life” , we read. “For them, as for any Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.”
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