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Catholics Oppose Harsh Congressional Bill Against Abortion Rights

January 15, 2014

This morning, the US House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice marked up an antiabortion bill introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). HR 7, the so-called “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” would expand existing federal policy banning federal funding for abortion to include any funding, subsidy or tax credit for insurance plans that cover abortion in private insurance.

“Rep. Smith and his allies at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops need to stop attacking the healthcare needs of poor women,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice. “Once again, they are trying to interfere in the lives and consciences of women by legislating about personal medical decisions and the choices available about whether and when to have children. Leaving some women out just because of where they live or work, or how much money they make, is just wrong, and goes against our Catholic tradition of social justice.

“We must remember that the bishops’ position—opposing all abortion, without exception—is rejected by 84 percent of American Catholic voters.”

When this bill was heard in a subcommittee last week, both of the witnesses testifying in support of it were current or former representatives of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops—and both falsely claimed to speak for Catholics on this issue.

Catholics for Choice provided information to Members of Congress to show that Catholics do not support HR 7 or the extreme views of Rep. Smith and his allies. Our written comments for the record explain that Catholics support women’s reproductive healthcare and its accessibility in any hospital, clinic or program that receives government funding.