Cathy Cleaver Ruse, spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops' Pro-Life Secretariat, commented on the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout pregnancy.
Thousands of pro-lifers marched in the nation's capital today to mark the 1973 decision, which opened the way to more than 40 million abortions in the country.
In a phone call to marchers, President George Bush, who began his second term last week, said: "I appreciate so very much your work toward building a culture of life -- a culture that will protect the most innocent among us and the voiceless.
"We are working to promote a culture of life, to promote compassion for women and their unborn babies. We know -- we know that in a culture that does not protect life, the most dependent, the handicapped, the elderly, the unloved, or simply inconvenient become increasingly vulnerable."
The abortion issue took on new urgency with the likelihood of a Supreme Court vacancy.
Ruse, the bishops' spokeswoman, said: "While abortion advocacy groups have promised to spend millions to see that the Senate imposes a pro-abortion litmus test on judicial nominees, we strongly urge Senators not to do so.
"Requiring support for Roe v. Wade as a condition for serving as a federal judge is simply wrong. It offends not only Catholics, but the majority of Americans who believe an unlimited right to abortion is wrong."
"Abortion advocates are out of step with the world around them," added Ruse. "The Center for Gender Equality, which supports unlimited abortion, recently published a survey of women indicating little support for its agenda: of all the 'top priority' issues for the women's movement, 'keeping abortion legal' ranked dead last."
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court refused to reinstate a Florida law passed to keep a severely brain-damaged woman, Terri Schiavo, hooked to a feeding tube, clearing the way for it to be removed. How soon that would happen, however, was unclear.
The court also declined to consider whether states may offer plates with pro-life messages, leaving lower courts split over whether the programs in a dozen states unconstitutionally restrict dissenting views.