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ARLINGTON, Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Virginia on Tuesday decried a pro-abortion rally held by the self-professed Catholic President Joe Biden, lamenting Biden’s neglect of his “sacred duty to protect life.”

In a Tuesday statement published by the Arlington Catholic Herald, Bishop Burbidge, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Pro-Life Committee, blasted Biden for his rally in Manassas, Virginia, where the president claimed that a “fundamental right has been stripped away” from women because the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal “right” to abortion, and that pregnant mothers are now “being forced to travel across state lines for health care [e.g., abortion].” 

At the same event, Vice President Kamala Harris similarly argued that “women across our nation are suffering” because they “have been robbed of a fundamental freedom” to abort their unborn babies.

“President Biden has made abortion the centerpiece of his campaign,” wrote Bishop Burbidge, who urged pro-lifers, especially young people, to advocate in love for the value of all human life at the March for Life Vigil Mass this week. During the Manassas rally, Burbidge pointed out that Biden “advocated for codifying  Roe v. Wade into law” and announced “renewed efforts to increase access to medically unsafe prescription abortion pills.”

“It is incredibly devastating to know President Biden would place ‘choice’ over his sacred duty to protect life,” the bishop wrote.

READ: New Biden campaign ad attacks Trump for his role in overturning Roe v. Wade

Biden has indeed sought to make abortion a central plank in his re-election campaign.

This week, in recognition of the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022, Biden met with his White House Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access to discuss “new actions” to promote and expand contraception and abortion, LifeSite previously reported. Harris simultaneously announced the launch of a “[f]ight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour.

Biden has given complete credit to Trump for overturning Roe v. Wade and, as he did at the Manassas rally, vowed to codify the “right” to abortion if re-elected to the White House.

“It was Donald Trump and his Supreme Court who ripped away the rights and freedoms of women in America,” Biden said during the Tuesday rally. “And it will be Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and all of you who are going to restore those rights for the women of America.”

Those remarks come in spite of the fact that Trump, whose judicial appointments were key in the overthrow of Roe v. Wade, has recently disappointed pro-life advocates by distancing himself from moves to fully abolish abortion, including endorsing exceptions for circumstances like rape or incest, criticizing a six-week abortion ban in Florida, and declining to convey support for prospective legislation to ban the practice from coast to coast.

Moreover, Bishop Burbidge contended in his response that the Biden administration’s assertions about abortion are fundamentally wrong.

“Despite what this administration claims, taking the life of an innocent child is never a ‘choice,'” Burbidge wrote. “Women who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies deserve assistance that affirms and supports life – not destroy it.”

“Abortion remains the preeminent civil rights issue of our time,” he continued, “arguing that the Biden administration’s radical pro-abortion efforts are “clearly not about women’s health.”

The bishop also noted that the Manassas rally was held just a few short miles from a pro-life pregnancy resource center run by the diocese that has actually helped women in need by providing life-affirming assistance.

The Manassas Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic “offers free prenatal care to pregnant women in need and their unborn children,” the bishop wrote, adding that, in the year after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the diocese “ delivered $877,000 in free medical care to more than 1,000 women,” and even “provided rent and utilities assistance, nearly 400,000 diapers, and 4,000 cans of formula to families in need.” 

“The Diocese of Arlington and the entire pro-life movement will remain steadfast in ensuring parents facing unexpected or challenging pregnancies have the support they need to choose life for their unborn children,” he said. 

READ: Pro-life pregnancy centers provided nearly $360 million worth of goods and services in 2022: report

Pregnancy resource centers like the one in Manassas vastly outnumber Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in the U.S. and provide innumerable resources to help both mothers and their babies.