Leaders of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference (USCCB) have denounced the inclusion of taxpayer-funded overseas abortions in an appropriations bill approved by the House of Representatives this week.
On Wednesday evening, the House voted 217 to 212 in favor of H.R. 4373, the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs) appropriations bill, which excludes the Helms Amendment banning the use of taxpayer-funded foreign assistance to pay for abortions or to motivate or coerce the practice of abortions.
“By eliminating the Helms Amendment, H.R. 4373 could force recipient countries that have strong legal and cultural opposition to abortion to embrace it in order to receive desperately needed help for their people,” warn New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Rockford Bishop David J. Malloy, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, in a joint statement published July 30.
“Pope Francis has referred to this type of situation as ideological colonization,” the bishops add.
The bishops go on to note that the House approval of the bill defies the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly oppose the use of their tax dollars for financing abortions.
This legislation “pays for abortions and abortion advocacy with the hard-earned tax dollars of Americans — 75 percent of whom say their tax dollars should not be used to pay for abortion overseas,” the statement reads.
While noting that the legislation contains many positive provisions, the bishops insist that “nothing can justify subsidizing the taking of innocent human life.”
“We call on the Senate to stand against the coercive pro-abortion policies of H.R.4373 and for Congress to ultimately pass appropriations bills that respect conscience and the lives of all the vulnerable, both here and abroad,” they conclude.