Biden Pledge to Codify Roe v. Wade ‘Disturbing’ and ‘Tragic,’ Bishops Say

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Currents News Staff and John Lavenburg, National Correspondent

NEW YORK — The U.S. bishops’ conference pro-life chairman has called President Joe Biden’s intent to codify Roe v. Wade in federal law “deeply disturbing and tragic,” in response to a statement made by the second-ever Catholic president on Jan. 22.

The statement from the White House — signed by both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris — was made Friday for the 48th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the case, which made abortion legal.

“It is deeply disturbing and tragic that any President would praise and commit to codifying a Supreme Court ruling that denies unborn children their most basic human and civil right, the right to life under the euphemistic disguise of a health service,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas said in a statement.

The statement from Biden and Harris not only reiterates the administration’s pledge to make Roe v. Wade the law of the land, but made a commitment to appointing judges that “respect foundational precedents like Roe.”

“In the past four years, reproductive health, including the right to choose, has been under relentless and extreme attack,” the statement reads. “We are deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care — including reproductive health care — regardless of income, race, zip code, health insurance status, or immigration status.

“We are also committed to ensuring that we work to eliminate maternal and infant health disparities, increase access to contraception, and support families economically so that all parents can raise their families with dignity,” the statement continued.

Archbishop Naumann emphasized the church teaching on the issue remains unchangeable, and urged the president to reject abortion and promote life-affirming aid to women and communities in need.

“Public officials are responsible for not only their personal beliefs, but also the effects of their public actions,” Archbishop Naumann said. “Roe’s elevation of abortion to the status of a protected right and its elimination of state restrictions paved the way for the violent deaths of more than 62 million innocent unborn children and for countless women who experience the heartache of loss, abandonment, and violence.”

Bishops throughout the day took to social media to reaffirm their commitment to life. It was also day two of a novena for life sponsored by the USCCB.

“Let us ask that his mercy be upon us, that he gives us the strength to follow him in building a culture where every human life is sacred, where we can see the light of God in the eyes of every child,” Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB tweeted Friday.

Others spoke directly against Roe v. Wade. Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland in Oregon called Friday “a day of great sadness” in a Facebook post.

“It was a terrible and flawed decision that opened the floodgates for legal abortion in the USA,” Archbishop Sample wrote. “Let us pray that our public officials who favor and promote abortion rights are converted in heart, mind and soul so that they will instead seek to protect the most vulnerable among us — the pre-born baby in the womb.”

Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth called Friday “a shameful anniversary,” responding to an earlier tweet from the president, where he reiterated his dedication to codifying the 1973 decision and access to health care for all.

“To equate access to abortion, the direct killing of an unborn child, with universal access to needed healthcare is morally incoherent and incompatible with authentic Catholic doctrine,” Bishop Olson said in a tweet.