House Passes Spending Bill That Would Fund Elective Abortions with Taxpayer Money and Eliminate Conscience Exemptions

On Thursday the House of Representatives passed a spending bill that would allocate taxpayer funds for elective abortions and eliminate some conscience exemptions for healthcare workers.

The House passed H.R. 4502 by a party-line vote of 219 to 208, and the appropriations package will now head to the Senate. No Democrats voted against the bill; no Republicans voted in favor. One Democrat (Rep. Anthony Brown) did not cast a vote, while three Republicans (Reps. Clay Higgins, Jim Jordan, and David Rouzer) did not cast one either.

Two prominent Catholic bishops condemned the most troubling parts of the bill in a joint statement released Thursday.

“The House has voted in a way that is completely out of step with the will of the American people who overwhelmingly oppose taxpayer-funded abortion,” wrote Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City (Kansas). “The Hyde Amendment has saved at least 2.4 million lives since its enactment. Without it, millions of poor women in desperate circumstances will make the irrevocable decision to take the government up on its offer to end the life of their child.”

Not only is the Hyde Amendment excluded; so is the Weldon Amendment, which helps protect healthcare providers and workers who refuse to perform abortions because it would violate their conscience.

Although the bishops acknowledged that some provisions do indeed help vulnerable people, they emphasized that “being ‘right’ in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life.”

“Funding the destruction of innocent unborn human lives, and forcing people to kill in violation of their consciences, are grave abuses of human rights. We call on the Senate to redress this evil in H.R. 4502, and for Congress to ultimately pass appropriations bills that fully support and protect human dignity, and the most vulnerable among us,” the statement concludes.