WASHINGTON — Four bishops urged Congress to show “radical solidarity” with mothers and babies — both born and unborn — in a letter to lawmakers pushing ahead with an ambitious legislative and policy agenda that prioritizes the well-being of families.
The actions proposed by the chairs of four committees of the US Bishops’ Conference detail a “vision for an authentically life-affirming society.”
The letter, dated October 26, states that following the June decision of the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Roe v. Wade Court’s 1973 decision legalizing abortion, there is an opportunity to “redouble efforts toward a culture of life that respects and supports the dignity of every person at every stage.”
The bishops called the court’s decision “extraordinary” and said work to support families needed to be expanded.
“We pray and work for changes in hearts and minds, circumstances and politics that will help everyone to value each other in a society geared towards supporting children and their parents,” the letter reads.
“In other words, we hope for the day when abortion will be unthinkable because society has successfully reckoned with the challenges of raising children in the modern world and decided to make the full thriving of children and their families the highest goal, without that someone will be disfellowshipped,” it said.
The letter was sent to all members of Congress by Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of the Committee on Internal Justice and Human Development; Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori of the Pro-Life Activities Committee; Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Washington Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of the Committee on Migration.
Specifically, the bishops outlined 15 measures that they say they have supported for a long time. These include passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the PUMP for Stilling Mothers Act, extending the child tax credit, supporting pregnancy counseling services, and eliminating marital penalties in tax policies and welfare programs.
Other provisions that the bishops have asked Congress to implement relate to paid family leave, child care and pre-kindergarten programs, nutrition, education, maternal and child health, housing, domestic violence and family relationships, adoption support, environmental policies to ensure the health of women and children and removing restrictions on the eligibility of immigrant and mixed-status families to access government programs.
“Today, women, families and children face serious cultural, social, economic and spiritual challenges. These are challenges that concern the common good,” the bishops wrote.
They stressed that children should not grow up in poverty and that parents should be able to take time off work to look after them. They also said there is a need for affordable maternal and child health care and that workplace policies should respect pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
The bishops are calling for affordable and quality day care and an end to childhood hunger and homelessness and toxic chemicals that cause disease and cancer. They also said immigrant families “must be treated in accordance with their sacred dignity.”
“All of these goals require the cooperation of everyone and the exclusion of no one,” they added.
The letter states that these goals cannot be achieved through individual efforts and require cooperation on the part of government leaders.
The bishops urged members of Congress to “find bipartisan solutions and ensure that these and other similar bills are given high priority.”
“We hope with particular concern that we can all unite to help pregnant and single women in need so that they have the support, comfort and hope they need to build their lives for the better and achieve theirs.” aspirations,” wrote the bishops.