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Bishops cut ties with pro-life group

2018 March for Life in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Texan bishops have asked parishes across the state to stop working with a major pro-life group.

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB) said Texas Right to Life had engaged in misleading attacks on politicians, and accused the group misrepresenting the bishops’ position on abortion.

“We’ve asked our pastors, parishes and Catholic schools to refrain from asking [Texas Right to Life] to come onto our premises because their teachings don’t always align with what the Catholic Church teaches regarding certain life issues,” said Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin.

The group is one of the oldest and largest pro-life organisations in Texas, and lends significant support to pro-life candidates. However, it has criticised some pro-life politicians for being too soft on the issue.

In a message to all parishes, the TCCB wrote: “Texas Right to Life publishes a scorecard that purports to show which Texas legislators are pro-life. We believe this publication is not based on a fair analysis of a legislator’s work, but rather upon whether the legislator has followed voting recommendations of Texas Right to Life. Unfortunately, a number of legislators who have consistently voted for pro-life and end-of-life legislation have been opposed by Texas Right to Life.”

The bishops also accused the group of misrepresenting their position on end-of-life legislation.

“The bishops have been compelled to publicly correct Texas Right to Life’s misstatements on end-of-life care and advance directives, in which Texas Right to Life implied that the legislation the bishops were supporting allowed euthanasia and death panels rather than the reality that the legislation reflected the long-standing Church teaching requiring a balance of patient autonomy and the physician conscience protection.”

In a statement, Texas Right to Life said they were “disappointed but not surprised by recent politically motivated attacks”.

“Uncharitable mischaracterizations of our political and policy goals serve only to dissolve the spirit of collaboration that yielded recent legislative victories to protect the most vulnerable in our state-victories that were hard-fought against the leadership of the Texas House,” the group said.