Illinois Catholic Bishop Thomas John Paprocki asked voters to consider how Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden wants to force Americans to fund abortions and keep abortion on demand legal before they vote in November.

In a column in the Catholic Times, the newspaper of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, Paprocki said the United States bishops are encouraging Catholics to make the sanctity of human life a “preeminent priority” when they vote.

“As election day in our country approaches in less than two months, people have been asking me if I will provide some guidance as they consider the candidates and ponder their votes,” he wrote. “While I cannot endorse candidates for office, I and other church officials can provide voter education and pertinent information to help inform one’s choices.”

The bishop pointed voters to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ voter education guide, which encourages Catholics to prioritize protections for unborn babies when they vote.

“The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed,” it states.

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Paprocki said abortion is not the only issue that voters should consider, but it should be a high priority.

“It is preeminent in that it is the basic human right on which all other rights depend,” he wrote. “After all, if a baby is killed before birth, that person will never be able to exercise any other human rights.”

He outlined the positions of the two major political parties and their candidates on the issue.

The Republican Party Platform supports “the sanctity of human life and affirm[s] that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.” It also opposes taxpayer-funded abortions and funding to groups that promote and/or provide abortions.

In contrast, the Democratic Party Platform supports “safe and legal abortion” without restriction. It calls for restoring funding to the Planned Parenthood abortion chain and ending the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer-funded abortions in Medicaid and other federal programs.

Paprocki continued:

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Dick Durbin, the Democratic Party candidates for president, vice-president, and U.S. Senate (Illinois), respectively, all support the Democratic Party Platform promoting abortion and calling for the use of federal taxpayer funding of abortion and the appointment of pro-abortion judges. Biden also pledged to restore the Obama-Biden policy that mandates churches, businesses, colleges, and religious orders like the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide coverage for abortion pills in their employees’ health insurance plans.

If Biden wins and succeeds in ending the restriction on taxpayer-funded abortions, researchers estimate at least 60,000 more unborn babies will be killed in abortions each year. The Hyde Amendment has saved about 2.4 million unborn babies in the past four decades, according to research from the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

Paprocki said abortion should be a “defining issue” for voters, just as slavery was “during the time of Abraham Lincoln in the 19th century. Indeed, in the Lincoln-Douglas debates and in the speeches of other politicians, slavery was the issue that consumed their attention and defined their political priorities in the minds of voters.”

He encouraged Catholics to research the candidates’ positions on life issues and “keep this preeminent issue in mind” as they consider who to vote for.

Abortion is the biggest killer of human life in America. Every year, nearly 1 million unique, irreplaceable unborn babies are killed in abortions. Since Roe v. Wade, there have been about 62 million abortions in the U.S. alone.

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