The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is voicing support for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2023, also known as H.R.7. Introduced to the House of Representatives by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), the measure would effectively make the protections of taxpayer funds provided by the Hyde Amendment permanent and nationwide.
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, penned an open letter to members of Congress, urging them to support H.R.7. He cited the historically broad support that the American public has shown to the Hyde Amendment, which prevents the violation of consciences of Americans who do not support abortion.
Furthermore, Bishop Burbidge cited data that suggests the Hyde Amendment has protected the lives of an estimated 2 million preborn babies. The prelate wrote:
“That these policies have stood for over 45 years reflects decades of bipartisan agreement and the reality that most Americans believe that the federal government should not use its power to support and promote elective abortion and should not compel citizens to subsidize this violence.”
He went on to cite polling data that consistently shows the majority of taxpaying Americans do not support tax-funded abortion. He noted that even the pro-choice side of the debate tends to agree that taxpayers who do not support abortion should not be required to fund the procedure.
Bishop Burbidge explained that H.R.7 is an important measure because the Hyde Amendment is not firmly established in law. The measure must be added to every spending bill that passes through Congress, and therefore is ever at risk of being swayed by the political climate. Despite its initial passage in 1976 – and the fact that it has been voted through for 45 years – it is still subject to congressional debate every year.
Bishop Burbidge wrote:
“It also puts numerous other important, positive programs at risk from being caught up in unnecessary political gridlock when there are questions of impact on abortion related funding. This can affect the health and wellbeing of those in need worst of all.”
The bishop called H.R.7 a “modest but important step” towards correcting the problems presented by the lack of Hyde’s permanent establishment. Furthermore, he suggested ways in which Congress could “advance a society that promotes life” and offers support and protection for expectant mothers and their children:
“The government should never fund the destruction of innocent preborn children. Rather, Congress can better serve the common good by prioritizing policies that comprehensively assist women, children, and families in need in ways that will not only encourage childbirth but make it easier to welcome and raise a new child.” He concluded, “Women and their preborn children both deserve better – they deserve all of us to stand with them, and to provide solutions that empower them both to have a positive future.”