President Joe Biden, left, and Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (Getty Images)
(CNS News) — After the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill passed the House on Wednesday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, headed by Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, denounced the legislation because it does not prohibit funding for abortions and thus will fund “the destruction of life, which is antithetical to its aim of protecting the most vulnerable Americans in a time of crisis.”
President Joe Biden, a pro-abortion Catholic, signed the legislation into law on Thursday, March 11.
The $1.9 trillion Act includes disbursements of more than $400 billion to various agencies and groups in the U.S. and abroad without the protection of the Hyde Amendment or the Helms Amendment. Those two amendments, which have earned bi-partisan support since the 1970s, prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for abortions except in rare cases.
The amendments were not attached to the legislation despite efforts by Republicans to do so. Thus, a bill written to supposedly address COVID, will pay for abortions and abortion advocacy.
“We are grateful this legislation addresses many positive provisions including unemployment assistance, child and earned income tax credit enhancements, nutrition funding, vaccine distribution funding, health care funding, housing assistance, international assistance to regions stricken by COVID, conflict, and hunger,” said the U.S. bishops in a March 10 statement.
“There are provisions in this bill that will save people from extremely desperate situations and will likely save lives,” they wrote.
“However, it is unconscionable that Congress has passed the bill without critical protections needed to ensure that billions of taxpayer dollars are used for life-affirming health care and not for abortion,” said the bishops.
“Unlike previous COVID relief bills, sponsors of the American Rescue Plan Act refused to include the longstanding, bi-partisan consensus policy to prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding abortions domestically and internationally,” reads the statement.
A baby killed by saline-injection abortion. (Priests for Life)
“The many important, life-saving provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act have been undermined because it facilitates and funds the destruction of life, which is antithetical to its aim of protecting the most vulnerable Americans in a time of crisis,” concluded the bishops.
Earlier in their statement, the U.S. Catholic bishops noted that they had contacted every senator and House representative, expressing support for relief to the poor and vulnerable but also urging protections for the unborn.