Bishop Thomas Paprocki, 65, is bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1978, and became Springfield’s bishop in 2010.
On February 13, echoing a statement issued by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Bishop Paprocki called the US Senate’s failure to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act “appalling.” The measure would have prohibited abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization.
The act was sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who, in a statement, noted that 20 weeks is “a point at which there is significant scientific evidence that abortion inflicts tremendous pain on these vulnerable human beings.” Graham also stated: “There are only seven countries that allow wholesale abortions at the 20-week period, including China and North Korea. The United States should not be in that club. I don’t believe abortion, five months into pregnancy, makes us a better nation. America is at her best when she’s standing up for the least among us and the sooner we pass this legislation into law, the better. We are on the right side of history.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America urged its supporters to help defeat the measure, telling them to write their legislators saying that the act “would disproportionately hurt women and families who face some of the most medically complex situations imaginable…keep standing strong against anti-choice Republicans.”
Fifty-one senators (48 Republican, three Democrat) voted to take up the bill for debate, falling short of the 60 votes required. Bishop Paprocki noted that 14 Catholic senators voted against the bill, including Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), who resided in his Diocese of Springfield. The other 11 Catholic Democrats voting against the act were Senators Maria Cantwell (WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Tim Kaine (VA), Patrick Leahy (VT), Ed Markey (MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Claire McCaskill (MO), Bob Menendez (NJ), Patty Murray (WA) and Jack Reed (RI). Two Catholic Republicans voted against the act: Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK).
Read more at Catholic World Report.