Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Pregnant Women Support Act--An Act For All Seasons

Cardinal Rigali Praises House Re-Introduction of 'Pregnant Women Support Act,' Urges Co-Sponsorship

"Pregnant women need our assistance now so that abortion is not promoted to them as their only choice"

WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cardinal Rigali, chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), wrote to all U.S. Representatives urging them to co-sponsor the Pregnant Women Support Act (PWSA, H.R. 2035) re-introduced in the House by Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN) on April 22. The PWSA provides resources and support for pregnant and parenting women and their families.

"The Pregnant Women Support Act reaches out to women with a helping hand when they are most vulnerable, and most engaged in making a decision about life or death for their unborn children," Cardinal Rigali said.

The Cardinal said that the PWSA offers "an authentic common ground, an approach that people can embrace regardless of their position on other issues." (Absolutely true.)

"There are some statements that almost everyone can endorse. First, the fact that over a million abortions take place every year in this country is a tragedy, and we should at least take steps to reduce abortions," said Cardinal Rigali. (Absolutely true.)

"Second, 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. An abortion performed under such social and economic duress meets no one's standard for 'freedom of choice'," the Cardinal continued. (I wish he would have added paternal pressure as well as social and economic pressure.)

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.

Cardinal Rigali distinguished the Pregnant Women Support Act from controversial proposals involving pregnancy prevention, which raise serious policy questions and in many studies have been shown not to reduce abortions. "Discussion of pregnancy prevention and related issues will surely continue inside and outside Congress. In the meantime, pregnant women need our assistance now so that abortion is not promoted to them as their only choice ... I hope you will join Representative Davis in ensuring that the Pregnant Women Support Act will be considered and enacted by this Congress," he said.


If representatives of both parties don't get on board with this bill, then neither party has a vested interest in life. If it does pass, I would hope that the Obama administration would get some credit for at least this much, since this never passed under the previous Republican administration.

Originally introduced in 2005 and written by the Democrats for Life, the bill is aimed at abortion reduction, rather than re criminalization, and supports health measures for the pre born as well the born child and mother. It was introduced in the Senate by Senator Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania and in the House by Lincoln Davis of Tennessee. The bill does not deal with pregnancy prevention issues. Rather itsupports the basic necessities needed by women to bring their babies to full term and support them through their child's infancy. Theoretically there is nothing in this bill for Catholics to object to, as Cardinal Rigali points out.

I would hope that all Catholics could get behind this bill. It makes more sense than expending any more time and energy on the Notre Dame controversy.

Kudos to Cardinal Rigali and the USCCB.


  1. I havent read the bill myself yet. On the surface it sounds good, but we all know that what a bill looks like when it starts and what it ends up looking like are rarely the same thing. If congress keeps all of the pork barrel special interest amendments off of the bill I would support it. HOWEVER, if they load it down with crap, like most republicans did with past bills, (with the blessings and support of the USCCB) then it becomes a political tool to backstab the president when he vetoes it.

    In other words, I'll cynically withhold my approval/disapproval of this bill until I see what the FINAL version looks like.

  2. Carl, I find it peculiar that I had so many comments on the Dr. Glendon post, and none on this one.

    So much for the conservatives concern for saving life. Even the Vatican is behind the Pregnant Women's Support Act. How dare the righteous right call progresives Cafeteria Catholics.

    In my book they are sumptuous banquet Catholics where only the righteous self appointed rich are invited.

  3. I dont find it peculiar. I have always believed that the abortion debate was a lie, a smokescreen, a way for the bishops to deflect attention from their pathetic performance as leaders. The simple fact is that the bishops are narcissistic sexually frustrated men who realized too late that they have devoted their lives to a lost cause. Rather than admit their error, they prefer to continue the lie at the expense of those they have been given the responsibility to lead.

    The lack of comments on this is further proof of the truth of that belief.