NEW YORK – Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the home archdiocese of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has insisted that “devout Catholics” can’t support abortion, just after Pelosi had described herself in precisely those terms.
“Let me repeat: No one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it,” Cordileone said in a statement. “The right to life is a fundamental – the most fundamental – human right, and Catholics do not oppose fundamental human rights.”
Hours earlier, at her weekly press conference, Pelosi stated her support for repealing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion, “because it’s an issue of health for many women in America,” and she also emphasized her Catholic faith.
“As a devout Catholic and mother of five in six years, I feel that God has blessed my husband and me with our beautiful family,” Pelosi said. “But it’s not up to me to dictate that’s what other people should do, and it’s an issue of fairness and justice for poor women in our country.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops launched a petition in early May in an effort to save the Hyde Amendment. President Joe Biden, a Catholic, excluded it from his budget request to Congress for the 2022 fiscal year. A bill pending in Congress, the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act, or the EACH Act, would end the amendment.
The Hyde Amendment has been part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services budget policy for over forty years, garnering bipartisan support when it was adopted in 1976.
Thursday wasn’t the first time Cordileone and Pelosi have been at odds over abortion.
The archbishop published a pastoral letter in may advocating for the barring Catholic public figures who support abortion rights from communion.
Months earlier in January, Cordileone issued a public correction of Pelosi after she took part in a podcast with Hilary Clinton and asserted that pro-life Catholic voters had helped elect Donald Trump, thereby being “willing to sell the whole democracy down the river on that on issue.” Cordileone replied that Pelosi stood “in direct contradiction to a fundamental human right that Catholic teaching has consistently championed for 2,000 years.”
In his response to Pelosi’s comments on Thursday, Cordileone called it hypocritical to call abortion rights an issue of health and fairness for poor women, arguing that the logic neglects the health of the baby in the womb and denies giving women real choice.
From there, the archbishop expressed his support people of faith who run pro-life crisis pregnancy clinics.
“I cannot be prouder of my fellow Catholics who are so prominent in providing this vital service,” Cordileone said. “To them I say: you are the ones worthy to call yourselves ‘devout Catholics!’”
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