Colorado Catholic Conference: Tell Congress to say ‘no’ to taxpayer abortions

Starting this week, the House Appropriations Committee will consider their Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bills. Unfortunately, House Democrat leadership on the committee has already excluded important bipartisan, pro-life provisions from their proposals. Specifically, three, decades-old proposals were eliminated, including provisions to prohibit taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions in Washington D.C., through foreign aid, and for federal employee health plans that cover abortion. Unfortunately, this is likely only the beginning of the attack on pro-life policies in the budgetary process. Other pro-life provisions, including the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions, are at risk of being removed from the budget by Democrat leadership. 

Click here to sign a petition urging house and senate leaders to uphold the Hyde Amendment and similar pro-life policies.

Congress’ actions follow the lead of President Biden’s budget proposal, which did not include the Hyde Amendment despite its receiving bipartisan support from presidents and congressional leaders since it was first passed in 1976. The Hyde Amendment and other federal pro-life policies have saved the lives of pre-born children for decades. The Charlotte Loizer Institute estimates that Hyde alone saves over 60,000 pre-born lives every year. 

The proposals of President Joe Biden, who professes Catholicism, and House Democratic leadership not only endanger the lives of tens of thousands of pre-born children, they also run contrary to public opinion. A recent Marist poll found that 58 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions. American citizens deserve not to have their tax dollars used to fund the killing of pre-born children in the womb. 

If Congressional Leadership gets their way, billions of taxpayer dollars will be used to fund elective abortions. This represents a monumental threat to the sanctity of life in the United States and must be opposed strongly by all Americans who recognize that life is a gift from God that must be protected at all stages. The grave consequences that would come to pass if the Hyde Amendment is deleted — specifically the loss of thousands of unborn lives — require our vocal and timely response to these serious developments.  

To learn more about the Hyde Amendment and President Biden’s decision to remove it from his budget proposal, read the Colorado Catholic Conference’s statement HERE.

To send a message to Congress that you oppose, in the strongest possible terms, any effort to remove the Hyde Amendment and all similar life-saving appropriations, sign this PETITION from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Our goal is to have 1,000,000 Catholics sign the petition by July 16 to send Congress a message that Catholics across the United States reject their efforts to remove federal protections for pre-born children.

Learn more about the Hyde Amendment HERE

COMING UP: Moral courage and the many cultures of death

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CRACOW. Thanks to the pandemic, it’s been two years since I was last in Cracow, where for three decades I’ve done extensive research and taught great students while forming friendships with many remarkable people. It was wonderful to be back in one of the world’s greatest cities, and soon after I arrived in late June, I took a long walk to see what had changed. The first major difference I noticed was that the plaza in front of the central railway station (named for my late friend Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, a World War II courier for the Polish Home Army and the man from whom the future John Paul II got real news via Radio Free Europe’s Polish service) has a new, strikingly modern memorial, dedicated to the memory of Colonel Ryszard Kukliński.

That name is not well-known throughout a western world that has largely forgotten the meaning and lessons of the Cold War. But if Jan Nowak-Jeziorański was right when he spoke about the Polish colonel in the mid-1990s, Ryszard Kuklinski was a genuine hero of the long, twilight struggle against communist totalitarianism — the man who helped prevent a bloody Soviet invasion of Poland to crush the nascent Solidarity movement.

An accomplished officer in the communist-era Polish Army, Ryszard Kukliński began to doubt the truth of what he had been told about the West when, as a member of an international commission, he met American military men in Vietnam in the mid-1960s. His doubts about communism and its purposes intensified by orders of magnitude in 1968, when the brutal Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia ground the Prague Spring to dust under the treads of Soviet tanks, and in 1970, when the Polish army shot Polish workers during labor strife. Privy to some of the Warsaw Pact’s most confidential strategic plans, he became convinced that, if the Cold War turned hot and the east bloc attacked the West, the Soviets would sacrifice Poland as retaliatory western tactical nuclear strikes hit the second wave of Warsaw Pact troops pushing west. So, in 1972, Kukliński, risking his life and his family’s safety, offered his services to the United States and for the next nine years was the West’s most important intelligence asset behind the iron curtain.

His greatest service to Poland and the cause of freedom came in the later months of 1980. Thanks to his efforts, the United States knew the entire order-of-battle the Soviet Union had organized to stamp out Solidarity, which had held its first formal congress in September 1980. With that information, and working in concert with the incoming Reagan administration, outgoing national security adviser Zbigniew Brzeziński, with the help of the AFL-CIO’s Lane Kirkland, was able to organize a comprehensive western response to a potential Soviet invasion of Poland: an international economic blockade that would have severely damaged the already-staggering Soviet economy. Faced with economic ruin, the Soviet leadership backed down and the Warsaw Pact divisions that had surrounded Poland withdrew.

Colonel Kukliński and his family were exfiltrated to the West; two of his sons later died under dubious circumstances that may have involved Russian retribution, and Kukliński lived out his life under an assumed name in the United States, dying in 2004. There was public controversy when he returned to his native Poland for a 1998 visit, with some charging that he had violated his officer’s oath by working for American intelligence for a decade. John Paul II, through various intermediaries, quietly passed the word that Kukliński was to be regarded in Poland as a national hero. Zbigniew Brzeziński, who held the exact same view, put it brilliantly, in a comment that appears on the Kukliński Memorial in Cracow: Colonel Kukliński was “the first Polish officer in NATO.” 

Communism was a distinctive form of the culture of death, for the effort to create “Homo Sovieticus” was a lethal assault on souls. Colonel Ryszard Kukliński took a courageous stand against that particular culture of death, knowing as he did that freedom is never cost-free: freedom lived nobly always requires sacrifice. His example should be pondered by Catholic citizens and Catholic public officials throughout the West today, who are called to resist, with similar moral courage and effect, that form of the culture of death that masquerades as the ideology of “choice.” May we and our elected officials be as principled and brave as the Polish officer who took what John Paul II described at the United Nations in 1995 as the “the risk of freedom.”