"We are representative of Catholics across the nation who support policies that enable women to make decisions about whether to become pregnant, or whether to continue a pregnancy. As Catholics, we also strive to support parents who find themselves facing hard times, giving them access to the resources they need to provide for their families."
This week, Catholic state legislators from across the country sent a Dear Colleague letter to members of the US House of Representatives, urging them to endorse the "Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act" introduced by Catholic US Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Tim Ryan (D-OH). The letter also appears as a full-page ad in The Hill newspaper.
State Representative Suzanne Bassi, a Republican signatory from Illinois stated, "Families in our districts are facing unprecedented challenges. Budgets are tight and the endless partisan and ideological battles continue to get in the way of passing legislation that could make a difference. These Catholic legislators came together to encourage Congress to band together and support common-sense proposals like this that can effect real change."
The need for contraception, comprehensive sexuality education and affordable childcare and healthcare is heard from every corner of the United States. Access to contraception provides men and women with the resources they need to lead happy and healthy lives and income level should never be a determinate of who does and does not receive care.
State Representative John Lesch, a Democratic- Farmer-Labor signatory from Minnesota, said, "Public officials at the state and local levels are doing all they can to support constituents hurting from the economic crisis. As Catholics, we see a particular need to help the poor and the disadvantaged, who are often also the least able to affect the decisions in Washington, DC. All of our constituents deserve access to sexual and reproductive health services and we recognize the great impact Congress could have if they passed this legislation."
The open letter also notes, "We are your fellow legislators and your constituents. We will do our part in the states, and urge you, our colleagues in the US House of Representatives, to do yours. This is an opportunity to show that the cynicism about government is not well-founded, to show that we can stand together despite economic hurdles and partisan differences to deliver real help to people across the nation."
Jon O'Brien, president of Catholics for Choice and sponsor of the ad, said "This is a well-balanced bill that will help to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and support women and men who want to have children. In line with Catholic social teaching, Catholics for Choice believes in a universal healthcare system that includes the provision of a comprehensive array of family planning options to every person. We are actively urging the US House of Representatives to overcome partisan politics and support this key legislation."
In addition to this letter, constituents from across the country have been reaching out to their federal representatives urging them to cosponsor this bill and help move it through Congress, reminding them that the health and well-being of people across the country depends on this vital legislation.