Many leaders in the U.S Bishop's Conference have voiced concerns about a bill that will allow tax dollars to fund abortions on foreign soil.
The House of Representatives voted 217 to 212 in favor of H.R. 4373, the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs) appropriations bill. This bill provides funding to an assortment of assistance programs overseas. However, some observers have noted that the legislation lacks the Helms Amendment. This critical addition states, "..no foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions."
In response, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement condemning the lack of the Helms Amendment. The authors include Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois.
"By eliminating the Helms Amendment, H.R. 4373 could force recipient countries that have strong legal and cultural opposition to abortion to embrace it to receive desperately needed help for their people." writes the USCCB. "Moreover, this legislation pays for abortions and abortion advocacy with the hard-earned tax dollars of Americans—75 percent of whom say their tax dollars should not be used to pay for abortion overseas. While this legislation contains many positive provisions that provide assistance to the poor and vulnerable worldwide, including protection of refugees, increases to humanitarian assistance, and protection of the environment, nothing can justify subsidizing the taking of innocent human life."
The authors of the statement request that the Senate stand against the "coercive pro-abortion policies of H.R. 4373 and for Congress to ultimately pass appropriations bills that respect conscience and the lives of all the vulnerable, both here and abroad."
Texas Rep Chip Roy has issued a similar statement, claiming that the funding would support the Chinese Communist Party and their policies involving forced sterilization and abortions.