As chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Justin Rigali outlined his opposition to language in President Obama’s 2010 Budget that would allow abortions in the District of Columbia to be funded by taxpayer money.
The Cardinal states in a letter to House Appropriations Committee, “No lawmaker or Administration can support such a policy change and still claim to support ‘reducing abortions.’ The evidence is overwhelming, and universally recognized by groups on all sides of the abortion issue, that the availability of public funds for abortion greatly increases abortions.” He cites a Guttmacher Institute study that found that the abortion rate among women in the Medicaid program more than doubles if they live in a state that funds abortions.
According to Cardinal Rigali, the policy change would nullify the Dornan Amendment, which prevented federal funding from being used for abortions. The change would alter to amendment to restrict “federal” funds only, but as Congress oversees the District of Columbia, the difference is a bookkeeping exercise only.
Cardinal Rigali points out that this action demonstrates a serious concern as Congress attempts to reform health care. “Such action can only increase distrust of reform efforts at a time when mutual trust and cooperation are more needed than ever,” he states. “This is the worst of all possible times to be injecting the divisive issue of public abortion funding into the debate on government health policy.”