US Senate Rejects ‘Extreme’ Abortion Bill

American Bishops, including Cardinal Dolan of New York and Arch. Lori of Baltimore welcomed the  rejection of the Women’s Health Protection Act, also known as H.R. 3755, leading to “the loss of millions of unborn lives” leaving “countless women to suffer from the physical and emotional trauma of abortion.” 

Newsroom (03/03/2022 11:49 AM Gaudium Press) The failure of the U.S. Senate on Feb. 28, 2022, to advance an “extreme measure” to establish a legal right to abortion at any stage of pregnancy nationwide “is a tremendous relief,” said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore. He is the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“We must respect and support mothers, their unborn children and the consciences of all Americans,” he said in a joint statement. Passing the Women’s Health Protection Act, also known as H.R. 3755, “would have led to the loss of millions of unborn lives and left countless women to suffer from the physical and emotional trauma of abortion.” The statement was co-signed by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty.

In a 46-48 vote, the Senate failed to approve a procedure known as cloture — which limits debate and ends a filibuster in order to move to a vote on a bill. Sixty votes were needed for cloture.

In addition to codifying Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide, the bill would have eliminated pro-life laws at every level of government — including parental notification for minor girls, informed consent, and health or safety protections specific to abortion facilities.

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“H.R. 3755 also would have compelled all Americans to support abortions here and abroad with their tax dollars,” a USCCB Press release said. “(It) would have also likely forced health care providers and professionals to perform, assist in, and/or refer for abortion against their deeply held beliefs, as well as forced employers and insurers to cover or pay for abortion.”

“Rather than providing comprehensive material and social support for a challenging pregnancy, H.R. 3755 fails women and young girls in need by instead offering a free abortion as the ‘solution’ to their difficulty,” Lori and Dolan said in their statement.

“Women deserve better than this. We implore Congress to promote policies that recognize the value and human dignity of both mother and child,” they affirmed.

Supporters of the bill want to codify Roe in the likelihood the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the nearly 50-year-old decision when it hands down its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case involving Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The decision is expected in June or July this year.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the court decision will leave abortion laws to the states.

In a Feb. 23 letter to every U.S. senator, Lori and Dolan urged them to vote against this “radical bill” to legislatively enshrine “the killing of defenseless, voiceless human beings.”

“As Pope Francis stated regarding unborn children, ‘Their killing in huge numbers, with the endorsement of states, is a serious problem that undermines the foundations of the construction of justice, compromising the proper solution of any other human and social issue,'” they warned.

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“This bill insists that elective abortion, including late-term elective abortion, is a ‘human right’ and ‘women’s health care’ — something that should be promoted, funded and celebrated” when it fact, they continued, “abortion is the opposite of women’s health care, and is an extreme violation of human rights. It has no clear justification in terms of women’s health.”

Lori and Dolan emphasized that the Catholic Church, “through its numerous institutions and programs,” consistently affirms and supports every human life “regardless of its condition or stage of development.”

“This is why the church supports a robust social safety net for persons who are poor or otherwise experiencing hardship, supports the dignity and rights of migrants, and opposes the death penalty,” they noted.

“And this is the reason why the church supports, helps staff and funds pregnancy-help centers and ministries,” the prelates clarified.

The U.S. bishops have launched “Walking with Moms in Need,” a nationwide initiative engaging “every Catholic parish in providing a safety net to ensure that pregnant and parenting moms have the resources, love and support they need to nurture the lives of their children,” the statement concluded. 

Compiled by Raju Hasmukh

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