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Bishop Confronts Catholic Senator Who Voted Against Life

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer A Pennsylvania Senator who refers to himself as “pro-life” received a stern letter from his bishop after he voted against an amendment that would have reinstated the Mexico City Policy, a law forbidding the use of taxpayer funds for overseas abortions that was overturned by executive order of President Barack Obama. “Your vote against the Mexico City Policy will mean the deaths of thousands of unborn children," wrote Scranton bishop Joseph F. Martino to Sen. Robert P. Casey (D-PA. "This is an offense against life and a denial of our Catholic teaching on the dignity of every human being. This action is worthy of condemnation by all moral men and women.” Sen. Casey voted against a measure put forth by Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida which would have reinstated the Mexico City. The amendment was defeated in a vote of 60-37. According to a report by, Bishop Martino’s letter condemned Sen. Casey’s vote against the Martinez amendment which would have prevented “over 450 million dollars of American foreign aid ... [from going] to organizations that are militant in promoting abortion as a method of population control, particularly in countries that find abortion objectionable on moral grounds.” The bishop urged Sen. Casey to rescind the vote. “Your failure to reverse this vote will regrettably mean that you persist formally in cooperating with the evil brought about by this hideous and unnecessary policy.” On the day after the vote, Sen. Casey’s office released a statement defending his vote. “Restrictions on the federal funding of abortions are in place both domestically and overseas," it said, then went on to cite the Helms amendment, which disallows foreign aid from paying for abortions directly. Bishop Martino’s letter pointed out that the Helms Amendment does not restrict recipients from using their own money to provide abortions, and does not deny money to organizations that lobby to dismantle the legal protections for unborn children in foreign governments, as the Mexico City Policy had done. The bishop also commented on the irony of the Senate voting down this crucial amendment on the same day that it signed legislation granting greater access to health insurance for children.  "What hypocrisy offers health insurance to children in one part of the world when children in another part will be deprived, by the stroke of the same pen, of their first breath?" he wrote. "I recognize and respect the burdens that you bear as a United States Senator; however, I remind you that your responsibilities as a Catholic bound by the faith of the Church exceed even those of your office." © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace.




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