WASHINGTON, (January 31, 1997) -- Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston called on Congress to put a stop to partial-birth abortions and to defeat the Administration's proposal to spend an additional $123 million during the current fiscal year for organizations that promote abortion in developing nations.
The Cardinal also urged enactment of the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act, saying this is necessary "if our government is not to become an active participant in assisted suicide."
Cardinal Law wrote to all members of the new Congress (January 30) as Chairman of the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities. "It is our fervent prayer that our nation's elected representatives will do all in their power to advance the common good and enhance respect for the dignity of each and every human being, from the first moment of conception until the last moment of natural death," he said.
In the specific area of pro-life legislation, Cardinal law said the Bishops will urge Congress to retain or strengthen existing restrictions on government funding or support for abortion or for destructive experiments on developing human beings.
Regarding the Clinton Administration's insistence that foreign aid must fund organizations that pormote abortion, the Cardinal charged that those who disagree with the Administration "are painted as enemies of 'family planning,' and even enemies of 'making abortion rate.'
"Congress will have an opportunity in February to expose this ploy, by defeating the Administration's proposal and insisting that integrity be restored to the foreign aid program," he urged.
"A program ostensibly designed to make abortions 'rare' has no business subsidizing organizations that perform and promote abortions," Cardinal Law said. "We support a strong foreign aid program focused on development assistance for the poor. We oppose exporting abortion to developing nations."
On the topic of partial-birth abortion, Cardinal Law said "This brutal procedure, in which children are killed in the very process of birth, must be stopped."
"Hundreds of medical experts, including former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, as well as those who generally support or even perform abortions, have come forware to state emphatically that partial-birth abortion has no justification in medicine, no role in protecting women's health or fertility, and no place in a civilized society."
"Sadly, the Administration's proposal--that such infanticide be banned only in the third trimester of pregnancy, and only when an abortionist is unwilling to claim that the procedure would serve 'health' -- is, at best, disingenuous. We urge Congress to enact a real ban on partial-birth abortion, so our nation will not condone infanticide in law."
Cardinal Law said the claim for a new fundamental "right" to be killed by a physicial looms as a threat to some of society's most vulnerable persons. He noted that Congress must soon face the issue of federal funding for this practice, even before the Supreme Court deicision on this matter, because Oregon's new law allowing physician assisted suicide will likely take effect soon. The state's Medicaid director has said Oregon will provide Medicaid funding for assisted suicide for indigent patients.
For this reason, the Cardinal urged all memebers of Congress to co-sponsor the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act, which was introduced last year with bipartisan support.