United States Congress. Photo: Once Noticias

Bishops Evidence Sectarian Drift of U.S. Congress

We pray that Congress will meet this generational moment, say the Bishops.

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(ZENIT News /Washington, 03.08.2022).- Since the publication of the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the United States Congress has been accepting legislative proposals that are harmful to the common good. 

The U.S. House of Representatives has already approved, and the Senate will soon consider a series of draft laws of this type, including the Law for the Protection of Women’s Health, the Law of Respect of Marriage and the Law on the Right to Contraception, and is moving forward on appropriations bills that exclude longstanding provisions that prohibit the financing of abortion by federal contributors and protect the rights of conscience of medical care providers. 

Meanwhile, the Congress has not taken any measure since Dobbs on any of the following measures, which the United States Conference of the Catholic Bishops (USCCB) previously backed and continues supporting, which would help to build a culture of life: the Equity Law for Pregnant Workers; an extended tax credit for children, as well as for pregnant mothers; the Law of Reimbursement of Tax Credit for Adoption; the PFAS Action Law, and a federal policy of paid family leave. As a positive note, it’s encouraging that the necessary investments in the care of our common home are considered significantly in a possible framework of reconciliation. 

Given this situation, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, President of the Pro-Life Activities Committee of the USCCB; Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, President of the USCCB’s Religious Liberty Committee; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, President of the Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth Committee of the USCCB; and Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, President of the USCCB’s Domestic Justice and Human Development Committee, issued the following statement: 

“The Dobbs decision presents an historic opportunity to reform society for the better. The injustice of abortion has loosened its grip on our Nation’s Constitution. We appeal to Congress to take advantage of this hopeful moment uniting around the dignity of each human person and the common good. 

This begins with the recognition that each human life is an inestimable gift of God with an inalienable right to life, which deserves full legal protection. We must also recognize that the family –founded on love and the mutual self-giving of husband and wife– is the first pillar of society, and that to raise children is a great gift and a lifetime’s responsibility. 

The health, security and support of the family must be the center of every good policy. A commitment to principles in favour of life implies a commitment both to the protection of all human life, especially the most vulnerable, as well as the promotion of policies that help families to prosper. We accompany all families with prayer and support and those that are headed by single or adoptive parents are close to our hearts. 

Since Dobbs, too many Congressmen have ignored draft laws promoting these valuable objectives and have focused, instead, on draft laws that attack them. Such legislation doesn’t give value to children’s life up to the moment of their birth, detaches sex and marriage from their meaning, promotes the use of persons as means to obtain ends, and strips the rights of conscientious objection of those who oppose these signs of identity of the throwaway culture. Instead, we ask all elected officials to act to reach a consensus  and approve the extension of a tax relief for children, a refundable adoption tax relief, the Law of Equity for Pregnant Workers who raise their children, assistance for nutrition and accessible housing, environmental restrictions on chemical products that cause birth defects and dispositions to help low-income families. These are the basic elements of our vision to support needy mothers. 

The care of creation is also an integral part of the care of human life, and we encourage that efforts continue to be made to advance in proposals that protect our common home and promote the wellbeing of human life and of the environment in the coming years.” For additional information on this point, see the USCCB’s letter on the new framework of environmental investment which is being addressed in the Congress. 

Families and individuals, civil society, businesses, non-profit organizations and religious groups, government officials at all levels, and especially the members of Congress, must ask themselves how they are supporting families at present, especially in regard to the reception of a new life and the raising of children up to adulthood. 

Catholic Social Doctrine shows the way to a better place  –a society marked by justice, mutual support, civics, friendship, mercy and love– rather than the place to which the Congress is leading now. We pray that Congress will meet this generational moment.”

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