By Kevin J. Jones
President Joe Biden, a professed Catholic, must end his “single-minded” abortion extremism and see the humanity in unborn children, the U.S. bishops have said. They said abortion’s impact is “tragic” and urged the president to support mothers.
“The president is gravely wrong to continue to seek every possible avenue to facilitate abortion, instead of using his power to increase support and care to mothers in challenging situations,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said Oct. 25.
“This single-minded extremism must end, and we implore President Biden to recognize the humanity in preborn children and the genuine life-giving care needed by women in this country,” he said.
The U.S. bishops’ statement noted that last week Biden declared that his top legislative priority after the November elections is to codify a national right to abortion.
“Here’s the promise I make to you and the American people: The first bill that I will send to Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade,” Biden declared Oct. 18 in a speech at a Democratic National Committee event held at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.
“And when Congress passes it, I will sign it in January, 50 years after Roe was first decided the law of the land,” he said. The president also pledged to veto a Republican-backed proposal to bar abortion under federal law at 15 weeks into pregnancy except in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the mother’s life.
Biden was flanked by pro-abortion activists and women holding signs that said “Defend Choice” and “Restore Roe.” Control of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives could be at stake in the upcoming elections and many Democrats hope pro-abortion rights voters will be more motivated to vote.
Lori, speaking on behalf of the U.S. bishops, emphasized the damage that abortion causes.
“As pastors who deal daily with the tragic impacts of abortion, we know that abortion is a violent act which ends the life of preborn children and wounds untold numbers of women,” Lori’s statement said. “The Catholic Church wishes to continue in our work with our government and leaders to protect the right to life of every human being and to ensure that pregnant and parenting mothers are fully supported in the care of their children before and after birth.”
While the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health decision returned abortion law to the states, some states have strict bans on abortion while others recognize it as a right under the state constitution.
There were an estimated 930,160 abortions performed in the U.S. in 2020, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the research organization formerly linked with abortion provider Planned Parenthood. About one in five pregnancies ended in abortion that year. In 2020, the abortion rate per woman aged 15-44 was about 14.4 per 1,000.
Backers of abortion say the Women’s Health Protection Act would codify the overturned Roe v. Wade abortion precedent. However, critics say the bill goes much further than Roe. It would declare abortion a human right, undercut existing state pro-life laws, and force objecting doctors and religious hospitals to perform abortions. The bill has repeatedly failed to advance in largely party-line U.S. Senate votes.