Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and chairman of the Pro-Life Activities Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, affirmed this in a letter today to members of the House of Representatives.
The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (H.R. 5939) was introduced at the end of July, and has 166 co-sponsors who cross party lines.
"Even public officials who take a 'pro-choice' stand on abortion, and courts that have insisted on the validity of a constitutional 'right' to abortion, have agreed that the government can validly use its funding power to encourage childbirth over abortion," the cardinal noted.
He pointed to confusion about the current status of implementing this agreement, noting that the Hyde amendment (which many erroneously claim already keeps all federal tax dollars from funding abortion) "only governs funds appropriated under that particular act."
Cardinal DiNardo clarified that current prevention of federal monies as funds for abortion is due to various annual bills and provisions in specific legislation.
"On various occasions a gap or loophole has been discovered that does not seem to be addressed by this patchwork of provisions," he cautioned. "While Congress' policy has been remarkably consistent for decades, implementation of that policy in practice has been piecemeal and sometimes sadly inadequate."
The health care reform package recently passed "contains at least three different policies on federal funding of abortion -- none of which is consistent with the Hyde Amendment," Cardinal DiNardo added.
"This is one reason," he said, "why passage of a bill like H.R. 5939 is overdue."
"By implementing the policy of the Hyde amendment throughout the federal government once and for all, H.R. 5939 would prevent such problems and confusions in future legislation as well," the cardinal affirmed. "Federal health legislation could be debated and supported in terms of its ability to promote the goal of universal health care, instead of being mired in debates about one lethal procedure that most Americans know is not truly 'health care' at all.
"Annual appropriations bills could be discussed in terms of how their funding priorities best serve the common good, instead of being endangered because ideologues favoring abortion want to use them to reverse or weaken longstanding federal policy on abortion funding."
The cardinal also welcomed codification the bill would provide to ensure that federal agencies, and state and local governments receiving federal funds, do not discriminate against health care providers because they do not perform or provide abortions.
"It is long overdue for this policy, as well, to be given a more secure legislative status," he stated. "No hospital, doctor or nurse should be forced to stop providing much-needed legitimate health care because they cannot in conscience participate in destroying a developing human life."
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On the Net:
Full text: www.usccb.org/prolife/DiNardo-HR5939.pdf