MORE bad news for Christians wingnuts: President Biden yesterday announced that his administration would codify Roe v Wade, a landmark decision by the US Supreme Court which ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.
Millions of evangelicals and Christians, according to numerous religious websites, believed that, despite Biden’s win, there was a strong possibility that the landmark 1973 ruling may well be be overturned by Trump-nominated conservatives appointed by Trump to the Supreme Court.
But the Christian Post reports today that the Biden administration announced yesterday (Friday) it will back abortion with a codified federal law in the event the ruling being overturned.
The White House said in a statement:
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to codifying Roe v Wade and appointing judges that respect foundational precedents like Roe.
In the past four years, reproductive health, including the right to choose, has been under relentless and extreme attack. We are deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care – including reproductive health care – regardless of income, race, zip code, health insurance status, or immigration status.
No surprise, then that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is furious. Its “Pro-Life” Activities head Archbishop Joseph Naumann, above, of Kansas City, Kansas, threw a wobbly:
We strongly urge the president to reject abortion and promote life-affirming aid to women and communities in need.
It is deeply disturbing and tragic that any president would praise and commit to codifying a Supreme Court ruling that denies unborn children their most basic human and civil right, the right to life under the euphemistic disguise of a health service.
March for Life President Jeanne Mancini also responded. “Abortion isn’t healthcare,” she tweeted.
It is heartbreaking but not surprising that on the day we commemorate the loss of 60+ million Americans to abortion the new administration is already aggressively leaning into abortion extremism.
The Trump administration enacted many anti-abortion policies, including reinstituting and expanding the Mexico City Policy and implementing the Protect Life Rule, and was praised for nominating three judges to the Supreme Court.
However, on Thursday, Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Biden will be rescinding his predecessor’s policies regarding abortion.
Fauci told board members of the World Health Organization that the administration will repeal the Mexico City Policy in the “coming days.”
It will be our policy to support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in the United States, as well as globally. To that end, President Biden will be revoking the Mexico City Policy in the coming days, as part of his broader commitment to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world.
In response to the National Right to Life Committee’s release of its annual report, “The State of Abortion in the United States,” President Carol Tobias said:
The tragic legacy of Roe is more than 62 million lives lost to abortion. Every unborn child should be welcomed in life and protected in law. No mother should ever feel like abortion is her only option and no unborn child should ever be considered ‘expendable’.
Meanwhile the National Catholic Reporter revealed American Catholic bishops are split over how to deal with Biden. After I posted a piece on the spat between Archbishop Jose Gomez and Cardinal Blase Cupich, the NCR reported that:
A small but vocal minority wants to punish the new president for his support of legalised abortion, gay rights and birth control.
These are the bishops who consider Biden a bad Catholic who should not be allowed to go to Communion. But even the late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, no liberal, thought this was a bad idea and told his priests not to play cop at the Communion rail.
A larger group of conservative bishops wants to avoid ecclesial penalties such as denying Biden Communion, but still want to wage war on the Democrats because of their support for these issues. These are the bishops for whom abortion is the most important issue, trumping all other concerns. They believe that there is no room for compromise.
A minority of liberal bishops would like to downplay differences with the administration and instead work with it on social justice and peace issues.
On Biden’s Inauguration Day, Pope Francis appeared to support this faction when he sent Biden a message that did not mention areas of disagreement. Rather, the pope prayed that:
God guide your efforts to foster understanding, reconciliation and peace within the United States and among the nations of the world in order to advance the universal common good.
Writing for the NCR, Thomas Reese said such a message:
Is not surprising. The Vatican diplomatic service is idealistic in its goals but realistic in its approach to nations, including the United States. It looks for areas of agreement where it can work with other governments rather than look for fights.
A large number of American bishops want to chew gum and walk at the same time. They prefer to support the administration on issues where they agree and oppose it where they disagree.
Reese named Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, as one of these “walkers” and chewers”.
After declaring his desire to work with Biden administration, Gomez went and spoiled it all by saying:
Our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.
That got right up the nose of Chicago’s Cupich who tweeted:
Today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration,. Aside from the fact that there is seemingly no precedent for doing so, the statement, critical of President Biden, came as a surprise to many bishops, who received it just hours before it was released.
He said that the statement was crafted without the normal collegial consultation necessary for such an important document.
Although Gomez may have wanted to chew gum and walk at the same time, the letter came off emphasizing the bishops’ differences with the new administration. The bishops came across as obstructionists at a time when even Republicans are mouthing bipartisan words.
The bishops’ faction that wants to wage war on the administration appears to still be in control of the bishops’ conference. Whether bishops like Cupich will be able to turn around the Titanic before it crashes remains to be seen.
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