US Bishops Support Ban on Abortion Funding

Note Popular and Congressional Agreement

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WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 10, 2011 ( The U.S. bishops are expressing support for the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act (H.R. 3), noting that this proposed ban is «long overdue.»

On Tuesday, Richard Doerflinger, a representative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, made this affirmation in a testimony to the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee.

Doerflinger, the associate director of the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, underlined the prelates’ stance that a permanent ban on abortion funding should have been enacted years ago.

«H.R. 3 will write into permanent law a policy on which there has been strong popular and congressional agreement for over 35 years,» he stated. «The federal government should not use tax dollars to support or promote elective abortion.»

Doerflinger continued: «Since 1976 this principle has been embodied in the Hyde amendment to annual appropriations bills funding the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and in numerous similar provisions governing a wide range of domestic and foreign programs. 

«It has consistently had the support of the American people.»

He noted that «even public officials who take a pro-choice stand on abortion have supported bans on public funding as a middle ground on this contentious issue — sometimes observing that it is not pro-choice to force others to fund a procedure to which they have fundamental objections.»

The bishops’ representative noted, «So secure is this legal and political consensus, in fact, that some have assumed it is already fully implemented at all levels of our federal government.»

He lamented, «The fact is that Congress’ policy has been remarkably consistent for decades, but the implementation of that policy in practice has been piecemeal, confusing and sometimes sadly inadequate.»

Doerflinger concluded: «H.R. 3 is a well-crafted and reasonable measure to maintain longstanding and widely supported policies against active government promotion of abortion. 

«It consistently applies to all branches of the federal government the principle that government can encourage childbirth over abortion through its funding power, and that it should not coerce anyone’s involvement in abortion.»

He asserted, «It merits prompt and overwhelming support by this congress.»

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