Bishop decries Planned Parenthood’s ‘barbaric’ practices, calls for defunding
PORTLAND, Maine, September 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- The Roman Catholic bishop of Portland, Maine, has urged Congress to defund Planned Parenthood of taxpayer dollars.
The Diocese of Portland released a statement from the Most Reverend Robert P. Deeley, dated September 10, in which he wrote, "Through the summer months...we have witnessed a sickening series of videos showing some Planned Parenthood leaders discussing the harvesting and sale of fetal organs and tissue."
"This is an attack on the dignity of the human person," the bishop concluded.
The spiritual leader of Maine’s 193,000 Catholics, Bishop Deeley cited undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress as proof that Planned Parenthood should be cut off from public funding.
"The videos clearly display the dehumanizing effect that abortion and the scandalous trade of human body parts have on women who have abortions, and the unborn children whose lives are ended before they see light," the bishop wrote. "This is not healthcare for women."
Bishop Deeley called upon all Catholics to remember the sanctity of innocent human life. "The videos are shocking, and remind us of a basic truth that many would prefer to forget: the fetus is a human person waiting to be born. ... Abortion is the taking of a human life."
Elaborating further, the cleric said that the "sickening" practice of selling baby organs is "what happens when we devalue the humanity of any person, including the unborn."
Deeley then attacked one of the Planned Parenthood officials exposed by undercover video. "'It’s a boy,' coldly says one of the individuals shown looking over the remains of these aborted children," he wrote. "This barbaric practice is a crime against humanity."
Deeley invoked the Holy Father, Pope Francis, leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholic Christians. "Pope Francis has called abortion the product of a 'widespread mentality of profit, the throwaway culture, which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many,'" the bishop wrote. "People have dignity and, in the words of the Holy Father, 'are worth far more than things, and are above price.'"
Pope Francis is coming to the U.S. later this month, and will give a speech to Congress. Many expect him to address the issue of abortion.
Bishop Deeley's statement then turned into a command. "I call on those who distribute the resources from the taxes we all pay to examine this issue and remove any funding which supports such evil as the harvesting of organs from an unborn child."
The Catholic leader of Maine sought to reason with abortion supporters who say Planned Parenthood does good with some of its tax dollars. "Contrary to what Planned Parenthood would have the public believe, there are many ways that healthcare for women is already provided each and every day in this country —healthcare that is respectful of both women and the unborn."
Bishop Deeley's statement was unequivocal. "Our elected officials should act to cease funding Planned Parenthood."
The bishop then spent the rest of his released statement assuring women who have had an abortion, and anyone affected by abortion, that healing is possible. "The Church wants to respond with kindness and care to the hopelessness," he wrote. "It is particularly important for women who find in these videos painful reminders of their past to know that help and healing is available." He then encouraged "anyone suffering from the loss of a child by abortion: mothers, fathers, grandparents, and others," to find help from Project Rachel, the Catholic post-abortion healing ministry.
Deeley’s statement was released the day after congressional hearings began on Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in aborted baby parts.
Planned Parenthood receives more than half a billion tax dollars every year from federal and state governments, more than one-third of its overall $1.3 billion annual budget.
Congress will soon debate the federal budget, and prolife Republicans have said they will not vote for it if it includes tax dollars for Planned Parenthood. Some have said they will hold true to their convictions even if it means a government shutdown, which could happen October 1, if the budget is not passed.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, has said he does not support going that far. Boehner said Planned Parenthood could still sell baby parts for profit if its tax funding was stopped, and a government shutdown would turn the public against prolifers.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage has also come out strongly prolife. He vetoed a spending bill for the state which would earmark "family planning" contraception for low-income women, and he cut $400,000 in tax money for the pro-abortion Family Planning Association of Maine.
When challenged on his vetos, LePage said, “What I’m against is killing babies as a form of contraception. That’s what I’m against.”
Bishop Robert P. Deeley’s full statement is here.