Faithful called to help stop taxpayer-funded abortion


PROVIDENCE — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched an urgent campaign asking the faithful to take immediate action to reach out to their legislators to stop Congress from forcing Americans to pay for abortion by having their tax dollars used for this purpose.
At issue is the growing fear among the U.S. bishops that some members of Congress are trying to subvert the annually renewable Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal Medicaid funding for abortions.
Since 1976, the Hyde amendment, which has traditionally been supported by majorities in both political parties, and similar measures have prevented the federal government from forcing pro-life Americans to support abortion with their tax dollars.
When the recent American Rescue Plan was passed without ensuring adequate protections to ensure that supplementary federal funds earmarked for health care remain subject to the Hyde Amendment for domestic spending, or the Helms Amendment, which governs how funds can be spent for international appropriations of taxpayer dollars, the U.S. bishops became alarmed that tax dollars would be used to pay for abortions.
“Pro-abortion groups are campaigning to rescind Hyde, and to make this policy reversal permanent through the so-called “EACH Woman” Act (Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act, S. 758/H.R. 1692),” according to the USCCB.
“This extreme measure would require every federal health program to cover, and every federal health facility to provide, elective abortions. It would even nullify state and local policies against abortion coverage, rescinding the compromise policy agreed to by President Obama and congressional Democrats in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (42 USC §18023).”
Greg Schleppenbach, associate director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, said in a recent communication to the nation’s diocesan pro-life directors and state Catholic conferences that although the first week of June is the target for widespread action to petition members of Congress against rescinding Hyde Amendment protections, they should begin their outreach as soon as possible.
“That target was to give as much implementation time as possible for you within the confines of when Congress needs to hear a massive outcry,” Schleppenbach said.
Father Bernard A. Healey, director of the Rhode Island Catholic Conference, said that the Hyde Amendment and similar laws have protected taxpayers from funding elective abortions for 45 years, and are credited with saving the lives of more than 2.4 million children to date.
“Without the Hyde Amendment and related policies, billions of taxpayer dollars could be used to pay for abortion in the United States and throughout the world,” he said.
“It is critically important for us as Catholics to send a strong message before Congress moves forward to impose taxpayer-funded abortion,” Father Healey added.
“Because of the incredibly high stakes Congress needs to hear from a massive number of people.”
Father Healey strongly urges all faithful to sign the USCCB petition, which can be done quickly online by visiting
Lisa Cooley, coordinator of the diocesan Office of Life and Family Ministry, said that in addition to signing the petition online, the website also features helpful information to explain why stopping Congress from getting rid of the Hyde Amendment would likely lead to many more lives being lost through abortion.
States would likely also be forced to either include elective abortion in their Medicaid coverage or be denied participation in the federal Medicaid program.
“That means abortions would be cheaper, easier and funded with our taxpayer dollars,” Cooley said.
The USCCB has also created ready-to-use tools to help parish pro-life directors get the word out to their members. These can be found at
At the same time, local faithful are asked to keep up the pressure on their local legislators as House Bill 5787, which seeks to provide abortion coverage in the state’s Medicaid program and repeal the abortion coverage exclusion for state employee insurance plans, winds its way through hearings.
At the end of a long Finance Committee hearing last Thursday, which ended at 10:30 p.m., there were still 127 callers waiting to offer their testimony on this controversial bill.
“The Rhode Island Catholic Conference opposes House Bill No. 5787 because it would use taxpayer dollars for the objectionable practice of abortion, which ends the life of an unborn human being,” Conference Director Father Healey said.
“We advocate the R.I. General Assembly to instead direct the expenditure of these monies toward producing healthy birth outcomes and providing income security to decrease the perceived need for abortions.”
The Finance Committee is expected to hear additional testimony on Tuesday after press time.