June 2, 2021

WASHINGTON– Each year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) observes Religious Freedom Week. Beginning with the feast day of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, and including the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the week-long commemoration ends with the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Religious Freedom Week will be observed this year from June 22 to June 29 and the theme chosen is Solidarity in Freedom. “Solidarity means much more than engaging in sporadic acts of generosity. It means thinking and acting in terms of community” (Fratelli tutti, 116). Religious freedom allows the Church, and all religious communities, to live out their faith in public and to serve the good of all.

The USCCB has prepared resources to “Pray – Reflect – Act” which may be found at: www.usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek. Each day focuses on different religious liberty topics of concern for the bishops. These materials were prepared to help people understand religious liberty from a Catholic perspective, pray about particular issues, and act on what they learn by advocating for policies that promote religious freedom.

The USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty collaborated with the Office of International Justice and Peace to raise awareness and show solidarity with people throughout the world who suffer for their faith, from the persecution of Christians in Nicaragua to highlighting Pope Francis’s trip to Iraq this year. Domestically, a major area of concern continues to be freedom for Catholic institutions, such as schools, hospitals, and child welfare service providers, to carry out their missions with integrity.

Through prayer, education, and public action during Religious Freedom Week, the USCCB hopes to promote the essential right of religious freedom for Catholics and for those of all faiths.

Connect with the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty.  Text FREEDOM to 84576 and sign up for First Freedom News, the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty’s monthly newsletter.

 

WASHINGTON— After the Biden Administration released its federal budget proposal today, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, expressed deep concerns about its proposal to eliminate the Hyde Amendment and some related pro-life provisions. The Hyde Amendment, which has been in effect since 1976 with bipartisan support, prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Archbishop Naumann called on Congress to preserve it and “to work toward a budget that truly builds up the common good of all.” His full statement follows:

“No member of our great nation is weaker, more vulnerable, or less protected, than the child in the womb. There are aspects to President Biden’s budget proposal that will assist vulnerable people. However, Congress must reject the Administration’s proposal to subsidize the deaths of unborn children. For nearly half a century, the Hyde Amendment and related provisions have protected taxpayers from funding most abortions. These policies have broad support from Democrats and Republicans. They have been enacted and signed into law by congresses and presidents of both political parties and have been broadly supported by the majority of low-income women, including women of color.

“Taxpayer-funded abortion represents a failure to serve women in their maternity by funding despair and death instead of hope and life. All women deserve the resources to enable them to fully care for and nurture their baby, to welcome them in a loving, stable environment. These resources would be far better spent supporting women in crisis pregnancies and struggling new mothers so that no woman ever feels economic pressure to have an abortion.

“I call on all government leaders to work toward a budget that truly builds up the common good of all. This should include the many proposals in the President’s budget submission that seek to protect vulnerable people. And it must also preserve the Hyde Amendment and related provisions which have protected millions of unborn babies, and mothers in difficult circumstances, from the tragedy of abortion.”

 

 

Pro-life leaders unfurl a petition in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington Oct. 1, 2019, with more than 250,000 signatures calling for the court to overturn Roe v. Wade. This year, U.S. bishops are encouraging Catholics to sign a petition to oppose the Hyde Amendment’s repeal. The Hyde Amendment would prevent federal funding for abortion as a permanent part of the law. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Diocesan Respect Life coordinators and the Pro-Life Secretariat of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops are encouraging Catholics to speak out against the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, legislation which bans federal Medicaid funding of abortions.

“It is so important for people in our parishes to learn about the Hyde Amendment and the life-saving, conscience-protecting impact it has had for the past 45 years. Without this protection, our federal tax dollars will contribute to millions more abortions around our nation and beyond,” said Rachel Hendricks, diocesan Respect Life coordinator for the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey.

The Hyde Amendment, which first became law in 1976, prohibits use of federal Medicaid dollars for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the woman would be endangered.

Named for former Representative Henry Hyde, Illinois Republican, the amendment is renewed every year as part of the appropriations bill for what is now the Department of Health and Human Services.

It was excluded, however, in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act that was signed into law March 11 by President Joe Biden.

As the amendment faces an uncertain future, the USCCB’s Pro-Life Secretariat is encouraging Catholics to sign the petition asking members of Congress to oppose the Hyde Amendment’s repeal at https://www.notaxpayerabortion.com/.

The petition urges members of Congress “to ensure that the Hyde Amendment and all similar life-saving appropriations riders remain in place during the 117th Congress and beyond.”

“Do not force Americans to subsidize the taking of innocent life,” it adds, urging Congress to “oppose any bill, including any appropriations bill, that expands taxpayer funding of abortion.”

 

WASHINGTON – On the weekend of May 15-16, Catholics throughout the United States will be invited to help spread the good news of hope and mercy by giving to the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).

“Ever since Jesus told his disciples to take his message to all nations, the Church has done so using the best communications methods of the day,” said Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv. of Atlanta and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign.

“Early Christians pioneered new communications technology when they switched from scrolls to booklets. The founder of my own tradition, Saint Francis of Assisi, used the popular media of the middle ages when he spread the Gospel by entertaining in village squares. Today, our Catholic Communication Campaign enables the Church to continue promoting Jesus’ message of faith, hope, and healing through mass media.”

The CCC collection has both local and national impact: half of the gift stays in the donor’s diocese, supporting local projects to inspire, enlighten, and draw people closer to Jesus. The other half supports Catholic communication activities that are national in scope or that aid Catholic outreach in developing nations.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic presented the “perfect storm” with increasing demand for support from the Catholic Communication Campaign while at the same time most parishioners were unable to attend Mass due to COVID-related restrictions the weekend of the collection. That situation resulted in a significant decline in giving to the CCC, which is trending down by more than half.

“We have seen the importance of staying spiritually connected in a time of physical distancing,” said Archbishop Hartmayer. “From local parishes streaming their Masses online for parishioners, to dioceses hosting special opportunities of prayer with their bishops in the midst of fear and uncertainty, the Catholic Communication Campaign provided crucial assistance throughout the COVID pandemic to keep our faith family connected. The CCC relies on the generosity of Catholics across the country to help us continue to spread the Good News, especially during these challenging times.”

When limitations and restrictions on group gatherings prompted churches to close their doors, funds from the CCC collection enabled Catholic ministry to continue in places with little communication infrastructure. The USCCB used CCC funds to help dioceses and parishes livestream the Mass. The USCCB also launched its own redesigned, mobile-friendly website, where Catholics can find daily readings and reflections on Scripture.

COVID is not the only crisis to which this collection responds. Campaign funds have also enabled bishops to lead virtual roundtables on racism, gun control, and care for creation in order to engage the faithful on pertinent moral and social issues. The reach of the collection is far and wide – it is also helping the Archdiocese of Blantyre in Malawi launch a radio station to reach rural Catholics. A grant to Renew International, which produces small group study materials, will underwrite videos in which Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, explains Church teaching against the death penalty and proposes a better vision of criminal justice. Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, Inc., a Vatican-chartered organization that Pope John Paul II founded to promote Catholic social teaching, will use a CCC grant to improve its social media outreach and to produce animated videos on Catholic social principles.

Several recent grants highlight people whose ministry placed them on the path to sainthood. The forthcoming documentary “Mother Saints” will examine the lives of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) and Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), whose service to and advocacy for people on the peripheries still inspires the Church’s social ministry. Another documentary will tell the story of Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman (1937-1990), the granddaughter of a slave who became a joyous advocate for Jesus and for racial justice. In addition, a forthcoming film led by the Diocese of Savannah will share the moving story of the Five Georgia Martyrs who gave their lives in witness to the Christian faith as Franciscan missionaries in what is now Georgia.

“Gifts to this collection will bring the message of Jesus to your community and to communities on the other side of the world,” Archbishop Hartmayer said. “Please give generously, knowing that you are continuing the work of the apostles.”

Resources to promote the collection are on the USCCB’s website. You can learn more about the Catholic Communication Campaign at www.usccb.org/ccc.

 

Pro-life demonstrators are seen near the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington March 4, 2020. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee April 20 called on the Biden administration to fund research “that does not rely upon body parts taken from innocent children killed through abortion.”

“The bodies of children killed by abortion deserve the same respect as that of any other person,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“Our government has no right to treat innocent abortion victims as a commodity that can be scavenged for body parts to be used in research,” he said.

His remarks were a reaction to a notice the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, posted April 16 in the grants area of its website announcing the end of a Trump administration ban on research involving human fetal tissue acquired from elective abortions.

In addition, NIH and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will no longer convene the Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board.

Under President Donald Trump, the two agencies had established the board to review research applications for NIH grants, cooperative agreements, and research and development contracts that proposed using fetal tissue from elective abortions.

The previous administration also terminated contracts with outside institutions that used fetal stem cells for research.

According to Roll Call, a news outlet on Capitol Hill, the decision to lift the ban came after 26 House Democrats wrote to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, urging this policy change.

“It is unethical to promote and subsidize research that can lead to legitimizing the violence of abortion,” Archbishop Naumann said in his statement. “Researchers have demonstrated that we can do effective scientific research and develop efficacious clinical treatments without harvesting tissue from aborted babies.”

“It is also deeply offensive,” he added, “to millions of Americans for our tax dollars to be used for research that collaborates with an industry built on the taking of innocent lives.”

Other pro-life reaction to NIH’s announcement included a statement from Tom McClusky, president of March for Life Action, the sister organization of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund.

He said the Biden administration’s decision to “fund research that requires aborted fetal tissue (is) very disappointing.”

“This type of experimental research is a gross violation of human dignity and is not where the majority of Americans want their tax dollars being spent,” McClusky said. “The government has no business creating a marketplace for aborted baby body parts.”

It is a move in the wrong direction, agreed Tara Sander Lee, senior fellow and director of life sciences at Charlotte Lozier Institute, which is the research and education arm of the Susan B. Anthony List.

“There are superior and ethical alternatives available such as adult stem-cell models being used by countless scientists worldwide to develop and produce advanced medicines treating patients now, without exploitation of any innocent life,” she said. “All scientists should reject the administration’s attempts to prey on fears related to the pandemic to advance the practice of harvesting fetal tissue.”

“Pro-abortion Democrats push this deeply unpopular agenda at their own political peril,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

The HHS ban on NIH using human fetal stem cells in research announced June 5, 2020, came after an audit and review of its own research involving human fetal tissue and elective abortions. Regarding contracts with outside institutions, HHS refused to renew a $13 million research contract with the University of California, San Francisco, because it failed to live up to it moral and ethical standards.

In 2019 alone, NIH spent $120 million on fetal tissue of unborn babies, according to a news release issued by HHS at the time.

Meanwhile in Congress, ahead of the April 16 announcement by NIH, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., spoke during debate on a bill to reauthorize the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005. Smith was the prime sponsor of the 2005 bill and of a bill to reauthorize it in 2015.

The new law created a nationwide umbilical cord blood stem-cell program, designed to collect, derive, type and freeze cord blood units for transplantation into patients to mitigate “and to even cure serious disease,” Smith said April 14.

“Pursuant to the law, it also provided stem cells for research” he said, adding that new cord blood program was combined with an expanded bone marrow initiative, whose main sponsor was the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla.

The reauthorization bill for the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act authorizes $23 million to be appropriated for fiscal year 2021 through fiscal year 2025. It also authorizes $30 million to be appropriated for fiscal years 2021 through 2025 for the bone marrow transplant program.

“This continues funding at the same levels authorized in the 2015 authorization bill,” Smith said.

“Each year, nearly 4 million babies are born in America. In the past, virtually every placenta and umbilical cord was tossed as medical waste,” Smith said in his comments on the floor. “Today, doctors have turned this medical waste into medical miracles.”

“Not only has God in his wisdom and goodness created a placenta and umbilical cord to nurture and protect the precious life of an unborn child,” he continued, “but now we know that another gift awaits us immediately after birth. Something very special is left behind — cord blood that is teeming with lifesaving stem cells.”

According to Smith, one of “the best kept secrets in America” is “umbilical cord blood stem cells and adult stem cells in general are curing people of a myriad of terrible conditions and diseases — over 70 diseases in adults as well as in children.”

 

March 31, 2021

WASHINGTON – Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal supported ministry in U.S. dioceses and parishes that, even in the best of times, are challenged to sustain worship and outreach activities without financial help. These “home mission” dioceses rely on annual funding from this collection to help provide basic pastoral services.

This year’s Catholic Home Missions Appeal will be taken up in most parishes on April 25, 2021. Donations may also be made through parish e-offertory platforms, diocesan websites, or by mail. Because many parishioners were unable to attend Mass for most of last year due to COVID-related restrictions there was a significant decline in giving to the 2020 Catholic Home Missions Appeal, which is trending down by more than half.

“Grants may need to be cut by 10-15 percent,” said Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. “Funded dioceses can hardly absorb such an additional loss of funding. I pray that parishioners will support the appeal when it is taken up in their parish. Your generosity is a tangible expression of unity in the Holy Spirit with our brothers and sisters in home mission dioceses.”

In the Diocese of Kalamazoo, migrant farmworkers who pick fruit such as apples, peaches, and berries in that area of Michigan have been essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their only visitors – apart from public health officials – have been pastoral ministers funded through the Catholic Home Missions Appeal.

“Thanks to you, the Church has offered them food, prayer, and hope. In the darkness of the pandemic, your support enabled Catholic parishes to be bright lights of charity and solidarity,” Bishop McKnight said. “Through your gifts to the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, these workers have seen the face of Jesus through our Church.”

Currently, 87 dioceses and eparchies in the U.S. and its territories receive support through the Catholic Home Missions Appeal. Due to poverty and a small, often scattered Catholic population, they cannot sustain ministries such as evangelization, religious education, seminary formation, or ministry to ethnic communities on their own. Dioceses funded through this appeal account for about 40 percent of all U.S. dioceses, from Alaska to the Mississippi Delta to the Virgin Islands and remote Pacific Islands.

In the Diocese of Fargo, gifts support the Young Disciples Apostolate, which trains young adult missionaries to run Catholic Vacation Bible Schools and youth ministry in isolated rural parishes of North Dakota. The children and teens, in turn, often evangelize their parents. Of the 220 missionaries trained by the program over 20 years, 17 are now priests, 25 are in seminary, 20 entered religious life, and many more are parish lay ministers.

The Syriac Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance, home to many Catholic Iraqi refugees who fled anti-Christian persecution and arrived in the U.S. with nothing, could not survive without this collection.

“Your support . . . is more than just generosity, it is a witness of the faith, the Christian faith of the Catholic Church,” said Bishop Yousif Habash of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance, which encompasses the entire United States. “I have never known any nation more generous than the American nation. With your support we have this wonderful witness that we are one Church, as we are one nation under God. We are one body of Jesus Christ.”

The Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions oversees the Catholic Home Missions Appeal as part of the USCCB’s Committee on National Collections. To learn more about the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, visit www.usccb.org/home-missions.

 

March 30, 2021

WASHINGTON –In March 2021, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Administrative Committee voted to align its nationwide liturgical celebration of youth and young adults, which was traditionally celebrated on Palm Sunday, with the new universal date, the feast of Christ the King.  Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth issued the following statement:

“The Holy Father asked Catholic churches around the world to renew their celebration of youth and young people on Christ the King Sunday, to help connect younger generations with “the Mystery of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of Man” (Homily, Nov. 22, 2020).”

“We welcome this opportunity to join Pope Francis in lifting up youth and young adults, in particular those on the margins who feel disconnected from our faith communities. In his apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit, Pope Francis told young people, ‘Christ is alive, and he wants you to be alive! He is in you, he is with you, and he never abandons you… he will always be there to restore your strength and your hope.’ This celebration will allow our local churches to once again communicate this important pastoral message to the young on a day focused on Jesus as our Lord and King, the one who invites all generations into his loving embrace.”

This year, the Feast of Christ the King falls on Sunday, November 21, 2021.

More information will be posted on the Youth and Young Adult Ministries page of the USCCB website at https://www.usccb.org/topics/youth-and-young-adult-ministries.

 

 

In honor of the “Year of Saint Joseph” proclaimed by Pope Francis, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asked several bishops, including Bishop Bambera, to offer video reflections on the Patron of the Universal Church. The videos were posted today to the USCCB website.

Bishop Bambera reflects on one of the paintings at the Cathedral of Saint Peter and our own Year of Saint Joseph that was just celebrated as well. We encourage you to watch the video reflections as we continue to increase our love for Saint Joseph and implore his intercession.

Saint Joseph, Pray for Us!

 

 

WASHINGTON – For people worldwide who suffer from hunger, war, natural disasters, racial injustice, religious persecution, and the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, gifts to The Catholic Relief Services Collection bring hope, help, and opportunity.

The Catholic Relief Services Collection aids six groups that protect human life and promote human dignity: Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for international relief and development; the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Office of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) for refugee resettlement; USCCB Office of International Justice and Peace for advocacy on government policy; the USCCB Secretariat on Cultural Diversity in the Church for Pastoral Care for Migrants, Refugees, and Travelers and ministry to Asian and Pacific Islanders; Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) for legal assistance to immigrants; and the Holy Father’s Relief Fund to assist Pope Francis’ outreach to suffering people worldwide.

Through this national collection, which most parishes will take up on March 13-14, Catholics help the most vulnerable people in the United States and around the globe. Gifts may be made through the local Catholic parish and also by visiting www.usccb.org/catholic-relief.

“The Catholic Relief Services Collection pools small gifts to make a multi-million-dollar impact. Even a $10 donation can transform the life of someone who was already in dire need when the pandemic started,” said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections.

“The need is urgent. Due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability of parishioners to gather together for Mass, gifts to this collection fell drastically in 2020 – just when they were needed most.”

All material aid is given to those in need, regardless of the recipient’s faith, and Catholic pastoral care is offered to those who desire it.

Gifts to this collection make a lasting impact. For instance, when CRS assists families after a natural disaster, it does so in ways that promote future prosperity. Whenever possible, relief supplies are purchased locally so that local economies are not ruined by an influx of outside rice or lumber. CRS teaches business skills and connects small farmers and merchants to larger markets for trade. It provides counseling to strengthen marriages stressed by trauma.

At the U.S.-Mexican border, USCCB Migrant and Refugee Services is providing safe, supportive shelter for unaccompanied minors through funding from this important collection. MRS works to reunite these children with relatives in the United States and advocates for reform of immigration and refugee policies.

“This collection gives the poor and vulnerable immediate assistance and equips them with tools to thrive,” Archbishop Etienne said. “We are so grateful to those who gave last year in a time of hardship. I ask you now to pray over what you can give and how you can be the face of Jesus to so many who suffer.”

More information about the collection and who it supports is at www.usccb.org/catholic-relief.

 

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act heading to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature will provide relief to Americans in need amid the pandemic, but it lacks “protections for the unborn,” the U.S. bishops said.

Their March 10 statement quickly followed U.S. House passage of the measure in a 220-211 vote. After the Senate passed its version of the bill March 6, it was sent back to the House where members reconciled its changes with the version they approved Feb. 27. Biden was expected to sign it into law the afternoon of March 12.

In a joint statement, Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the chairmen of six USCCB committees praised “positive provisions” that “will save people from extremely desperate situations and will likely save lives.”

But they called it “unconscionable” that Congress passed the bill “without critical protections needed to ensure that billions of taxpayer dollars are used for life-affirming health care and not for abortion.”

Unlike all of the previous pandemic relief bills, Hyde Amendment language was not included in this measure. Hyde outlaws federal tax dollars from directly funding abortion except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the woman would be endangered.

In addition to Archbishop Gomez, the committee chairmen who signed the statement are: Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Committee on International Justice and Peace; Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, California, Committee on Catholic Education; Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism; and Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington, Committee on Migration.

“As the American Rescue Plan Act was being written, Catholic bishops reached out to every House and Senate office to express our support for providing additional relief to help poor and vulnerable people who are most at risk of harm from this pandemic, and our strong conviction that this relief should also protect the unborn and their right to life,” the bishops said.

“We are grateful this legislation addresses many positive provisions, including unemployment assistance, child and earned income tax credit enhancements, nutrition funding, vaccine distribution funding, health care funding, housing assistance, international assistance to regions stricken by COVID, conflict and hunger,” they said.

But “unlike previous COVID relief bills,” the bishops said, “sponsors of the American Rescue Plan Act refused to include the long-standing, bipartisan consensus policy to prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding abortions domestically and internationally.”

Hyde Amendment language “was needed because this bill includes many general references to health care that, absent the express exclusion of abortion, have consistently been interpreted by federal courts not only to allow, but to compel, the provision of abortion without meaningful limit,” the bishops said.

“The many important, life-saving provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act have been undermined because it facilitates and funds the destruction of life, which is antithetical to its aim of protecting the most vulnerable Americans in a time of crisis,” they added.

In remarks after its passage, Biden said the American Rescue Plan Act “represents a historic, historic victory for the American people. I look forward to signing it later this week.”

“Everything in the American Rescue Plan addresses a real need — including investments to fund our entire vaccination effort. More vaccines, more vaccinators and more vaccination sites,” he said.

No Republican in the House or Senate voted for the bill. Two House Democrats joined their Republican counterparts to vote against it Feb. 27; in the final House vote, one Democrat rejected it.

The measure includes $17 billion for vaccine-related activities and programs and $110 billion for other efforts to contain the pandemic; $130 billion for public schools; and $143 billion to expand child tax credit, child care tax credit and earned income tax credit mostly for one year.

Other provisions include $45 billion to temporarily expand Affordable Care Act subsidies for two years and subsidize 2020 and 2021 coverage; $25 billion for grants to restaurants and bars; $7 billion to allow more loans under the Paycheck Protection Program; $6 billion to increase nutrition assistance; and $350 billion for states and localities.

The bill also provides for checks of $1,400 to go to individuals who earn up to $75,000 a year and heads of households earning $112,500; married couples earning $150,000 will get $2,800. Eligible dependents, including adult dependents, also would each get $1,400.

It expressly provides $50 million for family planning, but as the bishops noted in their statement, and other national pro-life leaders have said, funding allocated in other provisions can be used for abortion.

It directs billions to state and local governments, $219 billion and $130 billion, respectively, “to mitigate the fiscal effects stemming from” COVID-19.

Because the Hyde Amendment is not applied to these funds, state and local governments could use the money to pay for abortion and abortion providers in the name of “responding to or mitigating the public health emergency,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, said the “sheer size” of the measure gives it “the potential to be the largest expansion of abortion funding since Obamacare.”

She urged Biden “to honor the wishes of the majority of Americans who don’t want to pay for abortions and to return to his pro-life roots by vetoing this bill until the bipartisan Hyde Amendment and other pro-life protections are included.”