WASHINGTON - In response to the 2022 omnibus appropriations agreement, five bishop chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released the following statement:
“We applaud Congress for including provisions in the omnibus appropriations package that uphold the sacred dignity of human life and will support and assist many vulnerable people here and abroad. In particular, we are grateful that Congress has maintained longstanding, bipartisan, and lifesaving provisions including the Hyde, Helms, and Weldon Amendments that prevent our tax dollars from paying for the tragedy of abortion and protect people from having to participate in abortion against their consciences. We also commend the bipartisan agreement’s inclusion of critical humanitarian assistance for the victims of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, improvements to maternal health care, investments that will support refugees and other vulnerable migrants, affordable housing and food security, environmental provisions including PFAS remediation and climate resilience, and more. Finally, we welcome the inclusion of provisions that address the unique vulnerability of pregnant and postpartum mothers impacted by the U.S. immigration system, as well as critical services for other at-risk populations.
“As Pope Francis said in his Lenten message, ‘let us take special advantage of this Lenten season to reach out to our brothers and sisters who lie wounded along the path of life (cf. Lk 10:25-37)… [and] put into practice our call to do good to all, and take time to love the poor and needy, those abandoned and rejected, those discriminated against and marginalized (cf. Fratelli Tutti, 193).’
“We echo the Holy Father’s appeal by asking all elected officials to continue seeking solutions that support mothers and their children, victims of violence and war, vulnerable migrants and refugees, and all those in need of our support. By doing so, we can advance a culture of life and peace that truly builds up the common good.”
The statement was jointly issued by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the Committee on Migration.
Regarding the maternal health provisions, the agreement includes the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act and the Rural Maternal and Obstetric Modernization of Services Act to help address the high rates of preventable maternal deaths in the United States. The USCCB’s letter endorsing that legislation is available here.
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