BY JULIE ASHER
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) – In a July 9 statement, the U.S. bishops' pro-life chairman called it "deeply disturbing and tragic" that President Joe Biden has chosen to use his power as the nation's chief executive "to promote and facilitate abortion in our country" rather than support resources for pregnant women in need.
Biden is "seeking every possible avenue to deny unborn children their most basic human and civil right, the right to life," said Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
"Rather than using the power of the executive branch to increase support and care to mothers and babies, the president's executive order seeks only to facilitate the destruction of defenseless, voiceless human beings," he said.
On July 8, Biden signed an executive order to safeguard access to medication abortion and emergency contraception; protect patient privacy; launch public education efforts; and strengthen "the security of and the legal options available to those seeking and providing abortion services."
Before signing his executive order, Biden condemned what he called the "extreme" Supreme Court majority for overturning Roe v. Wade.
The court's June 24 ruling came in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a challenge to a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks.
In affirming the law 6-3, the high court also voted 5-4 to overturn 1973's Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide, and 1992's Casey v. Planned Parenthood ruling, which affirmed Roe.
The ruling sends the issue of abortion back to the states.
"In response to the Dobbs decision," Archbishop Lori said in his statement, "I called for the healing of wounds and repairing of social divisions, for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue, and for coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into this world in love."
"And as religious leaders, we pledged ourselves to continue our service to God's great plan of love for the human person, and to work with our fellow citizens to fulfill America's promise to guarantee the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people," he added.
"I implore the president to abandon this path that leads to death and destruction, and to choose life," Archbishop Lori said. "As always, the Catholic Church stands ready to work with this administration and all elected officials to protect the right to life of every human being and to ensure that pregnant and parenting mothers are fully supported in the care of their children before and after birth."
Biden called the Dobbs decision an "exercise in raw political power;" but, in writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said: "The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision."
"It's outrageous. I don't care what your position is (on abortion), it's outrageous and it's dangerous," said Biden, a Catholic who supports legal abortion. He said his executive order was a necessary response to the ruling.
Biden urged Americans upset by the decision to "vote, vote, vote, vote" in November to elect lawmakers who will back a law codifying Roe.
Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said Biden's executive order "confirmed the White House is working to appease the abortion lobby to the detriment of women and their unborn children."
"On no other issue, from inflation to high gas prices, have President Biden and pro-abortion Democrats put forward so much effort as they have on abortion," she said in a July 8 statement.
Biden "seems to think that Americans' problems can only be solved by killing (the nation's) children by abortion," she said.
"The Biden administration and congressional Democrats continue to promote abortion up until birth," said Tobias. "Despite the rhetoric, nothing this administration does is going to help women and their unborn children."