The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops posted a rebuke on Twitter this week to President Joe Biden’s Jan. 28 executive order that repeals an order by former President Donald Trump, restricting aid to agencies providing abortions overseas as part of family planning.
“Taxpayer dollars should NOT pay for abortion,” read the tweet, posted Monday. “Tell Congress not to take innocent lives! Sign the petition at NoTaxpayerAbortion.com.”
The link then goes to a website asking people to sign a petition to end publicly funded abortions.
The question of funding abortions with taxpayer dollars has been a political hot potato since Republican President Ronald Reagan restricted it almost 40 years ago, defending a 1976 amendment by U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., that ended Medicaid-funded abortions.
Since that time, Planned Parenthood has been fighting to repeal the amendment and allow government programs to pay for the service.
“This terrible, intrusive, and unfair policy that restricts abortion access and denies millions of women of their autonomy and dignity to exercise their own health care decisions still exists,” Planned Parenthood said on its website. “It should not have been adopted in the first place — let alone seen its 40th year.”
Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama reversed some of the restrictions during their respective terms. Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump reinstated them.
Biden’s Jan. 28 order repeals restrictions the Trump administration placed on funding abortions overseas with taxpayer money.
“Women should have access to the healthcare they need. For too many women today, both at home and abroad, that is not possible,” Biden’s order said. “Undue restrictions on the use of Federal funds have made it harder for women to obtain necessary healthcare. The Federal Government must take action to ensure that women at home and around the world are able to access complete medical information, including with respect to their reproductive health.”
Biden is the second Roman Catholic to sit in the Oval Office since President John F. Kennedy, who was elected in 1960.
Catholic doctrine strictly opposes abortions of any kind, as stated in a Doctrinal Note from the Vatican on Catholics participating in political life.
"[The late Pope] John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life,” the document said. “For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.”
The bishops responded in a statement on Jan. 28.
“Today, President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing U.S. taxpayer funds to be sent to organizations that both promote and provide abortions in developing countries,” the statement said. “The policy which he overturned, known as both the Mexico City and the Promoting Life in Global Health policy, had separated abortion from family planning activities and ensured U.S. taxpayer dollars only went to organizations that agreed to provide health services in a way that respected the dignity of all persons.”
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