American bishops and pro-life associations have protested against Congress's new economic stimulus package on the grounds that it removes the safeguards that have hitherto prohibited all public funding of abortion in the country.
The rescue plan for the US economy damaged by Covid-19 provides for the financing of a vast all-out vaccination campaign and support for labor sectors battered by the epidemic.
All in all, nothing abnormal, but we must never lose sight of the fact that politics are like level crossings: one train can hide another.
Indeed, the device evades the restrictions on public financing of abortion mentioned by all the previous stimulus plans voted on for nearly half a century: an omission that speaks volumes when we know the progressive positions of the Biden administration on birth control.
The more conservative members of Congress have tried, unsuccessfully, to insert the Hyde Amendment, a 1980 decision that bans the use of public funds to subsidize “ineligible” abortions: a notion that covers all situations, apart from the exceptional cases where the pregnancy is the result of a violent assault or would endanger the life of the woman.
The stimulus package narrowly passed in the Senate, by a vote of 50 to 49, on March 6, 2021, probably confirming in passing the swing vote role being played by Joe Manchin, the democratic senator from the State of West Virginia, mentioned in a recent article on the Equality Act, published by FSSPX.News.
Returned to the House of Representatives where the Democrats have a comfortable majority, the vote on the stimulus package was no more than a formality: adopted on March 10, it was solemnly signed two days later by the president.
Pro-life groups were quick to react, pointing to the responsibility of senators: “Shame on Senate Democrats who exploited COVID-19 relief to expand taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, breaking with more than four decades of bipartisan consensus,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
The Catholic hierarchy entered the debate on March 5, a few days before the vote by Congress. “For 44 years, the American Congress, whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans, has maintained that taxpayers should not be forced against their conscience to pay for abortions,” said the United States Bishops’ Conference (USCCB).
The North American prelates even appealed to the White House, begging the President “We urge President Biden and the leadership on Capitol Hill not to force upon Americans the wrenching moral decision whether to preserve the lives and health of the born or unborn, all of whom are our vulnerable neighbors in need.”
The president of the March for Life, Jeanne Mancini, warns: “pro-abortion Democrats are using the stimulus project to pass billions of dollars in subsidies for abortion, not only in the United States, but also abroad.”
An American study published in 2018 estimated the number of abortions in the United States at 619,591, a figure that has fallen by 22% in ten years, but which could rise again in the months to come.