Cardinal endorses ‘common ground’ bill supporting pregnant women
Click here to read the full text of
Cardinal Rigali's endorsement (PDF)
Click here to read the text of
HR 2035 (PDF)
Click here for a letter from Nat Hentoff
Cardinal Justin Rigali / Rep. Lincoln Davis
Washington D.C., Apr 26, 2009 / 08:21 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Justin Rigali,
chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has written a
letter to U.S. Representatives encouraging them to co-sponsor the Pregnant Women
Support Act (PWSA) which has recently been reintroduced in the House. The bill
would provide money to pregnancy support centers, more options for prenatal care
and services to protect women from domestic violence.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the bill (H.R.
2035) was reintroduced on Wednesday by Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN).
While acknowledging that there are "disagreements on abortion and the rights of
the unborn," the cardinal noted that "there are some statements that almost
everyone can endorse" such as that steps must be taken "to reduce abortions" in
Following reports that economic hardship has resulted in more women having
abortions, Rigali stated that "no woman should ever have to undergo an abortion
because she feels she has no other choice or because alternatives were
unavailable or not made known to her."
Among other provisions, the PWSA will ensure that pregnant women are not denied
coverage by insurance companies; establish a toll-free number for resources
during pregnancy and after birth; provide life-affirming pregnancy services and
parenting education in maternity group homes and other centers; provide new
mothers with free home visits by registered nurses; and codify the current
regulation allowing states to provide State Children’s Health Insurance Program
(SCHIP) coverage to unborn children and their mothers. It will also encourage
adoption by expanding adoption tax credit and adoption assistance programs.
In addition, Cardinal Rigali wrote, the Act would improve the information women
are given regarding "supportive services available to them during and after
pregnancy, through a public awareness program as well as a basic requirement
that abortion facilities provide informed consent (including information about
alternatives to abortion)."
Debate over the way to reduce the number of abortion in the U.S. was recently
rekindled by the $200 million set aside for contraceptives in the stimulus
package, an allocation that was later removed.
Citing studies that show increased access to contraceptives does not reduce the
number of abortions, Cardinal Rigali said that Rep. Davis' bill would provide
"authentic common ground," and offers "an approach that people can embrace
regardless of their position on other issues."
"Regardless of your stance on other issues related to abortion or family
planning, I hope you will join Representative Davis in ensuring that the
Pregnant Women Support Act will be considered and enacted by this Congress,"
wrote the cardinal bringing his letter to a close.