Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the U.S. bishops’ pro-life chair, called on President Joe Biden to increase support and care for mothers and children.
The August 5 message was in response to an executive order from the president that facilitates abortion by allowing states to use Medicaid to pay for abortion services for women traveling from other states.
“I continue to call on the President and all our elected officials to increase support and care to mothers and babies, rather than facilitate the destruction of defenseless, voiceless human beings,” Archbishop Lori said.
He added that “Even preceding the Dobbs decision, my brother bishops and I have implored the nation to stand with moms in need, and work together to protect and support women and children.”
“Continued promotion of abortion takes lives and irreparably harms vulnerable pregnant mothers, their families, and society,” Archbishop Lori stated. “It is the wrong direction to take at a moment when we should be working to support women and to build up a culture of life.”
President Biden’s August 3 executive order directed Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to “consider action to advance access to reproductive healthcare services” for women, particularly those who travel out of state to have abortions. It was not clear from the language of the executive order exactly which abortion services would be covered.
Under the Hyde Amendment, the use of federal funding for abortions is prohibited except in the cases of rape, incest, or a “life-endangering physical condition” that places the mother “in danger of death.”
At an August 3 press briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that the order “paves the way for Medicaid to pay for abortions for women having to travel out of state” by allowing states to apply for Medicaid waivers.
When asked by a reporter how the administration would accomplish this in light of the Hyde Amendment’s restrictions on federal abortion funding, Jean-Pierre said, “we’re going to leave it to HHS to come up with the details on the specifics on how they’re going to work with states — if a state asks for a waiver — and what that’s going to look like.”
This is the second executive order the administration has released since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
The order, which calls traveling across state lines for abortions a “bedrock right,” also reaffirms a rule the Biden administration proposed that would force doctors to provide abortions.
In addition, the order calls for data collection and research at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to measure accurately “the impact that diminishing access to reproductive health care services has on women’s health.”
Pro-life groups have also criticized the executive order.
Amy Gehrke, Executive Director of Illinois Right to Life, said August 3 that “the women of Illinois and beyond don’t need more ‘help’ obtaining abortions, they need resources that truly give them choices when facing unplanned pregnancies. They need practical resources such as diapers, food, health care, and counseling. We know that over 60 percent of women feel pressured into abortions they don’t really want. They need to know aid is available to help them choose life for their children.”
The executive order, Gehrke said, “is cause to mourn that our president is doing everything he possibly can to degrade women by expanding access to abortion.”
(Photo by Syda Productions/Shutterstock, via CNA.)
By Carl Bunderson, Catholic News Agency