Bishops Tell D.C.: Protect Life

(photo: CNS)

The U.S. bishops have sent a letter to President-elect Barack Obama and all members of Congress.

The letter identifies “policies and priorities” of special concern to Catholics and promises co-operation from the bishops in support of the efforts of the new president and Congress to address these areas.

Among the areas identified in the Jan. 15 letter as primary concerns: the economy, health care, immigration and education.

But ahead of even these important priorities, the bishops said, is the need to protect the sanctity of life of the unborn and of other particularly vulnerable and disempowered Americans.

Said the bishops, “Most fundamentally, we will work to protect the lives of the most vulnerable and voiceless members of the human family, especially unborn children and those who are disabled or terminally ill. We will consistently defend the fundamental right to life from conception to natural death. Opposed to abortion as the direct killing of innocent human life, we will encourage one and all to seek common ground that will reduce the number of abortions in morally sound ways that affirm the dignity of pregnant women and their unborn children. We will oppose legislative and other measures to expand abortion. We will work to retain essential, widely supported policies which show respect for unborn life, protect the conscience rights of health care providers and other Americans, and prevent government funding and promotion of abortion. The Hyde amendment and other provisions which for many years have prevented federal funding of abortion have a proven record of reducing abortions. Efforts to force Americans to fund abortions with their tax dollars would pose a serious moral challenge and jeopardize the passage of essential health care reform.”

The letter was signed by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“In closing, I renew our expression of hope and our offer of cooperation as you begin this new period of service to our nation in these challenging times,” Cardinal George said. “We promise our prayers for you, that the days ahead will be a time of renewal and progress for our nation and that we can work together to defend human life and dignity and build a nation of greater justice and a world at peace.”

— Tom McFeely