Facing potential government shutdown threats at the end of September, U.S. Catholic leaders are making a strong appeal to Congress. Their primary concern? Ensuring that the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program continues to receive vital funding.

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, President of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference, emphasized in a recent letter to Congress, “Every human life is sacred and inviolable.” He underscored the importance of upholding a society “in which the legal protection of human life is accompanied by profound care for mothers and their children.”

The WIC program has served as a crucial lifeline for many vulnerable families, offering nutrition and health supports. Due to escalating food prices and rising program demands, its funding is more essential than ever. Without immediate intervention, nearly 600,000 mothers and children might be denied assistance. Some states are even facing the possibility of establishing waiting lists, a move that hasn’t been seen in decades.

“Providing adequate support for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will… provide healthy food and nutrition support for vulnerable moms, infants, and young children,” the bishop’s statement urged.

The political climate complicates matters. While Democrats control the White House and the Senate, House Republicans, some pushing for drastic spending reductions, struggle to rally votes within their party. Any bill they pass might face opposition in the Senate.

Amidst this tension, Archbishop Broglio’s plea to lawmakers remains clear: prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable, notably the children and their mothers. “The bishops renew our call for bipartisan cooperation… to promote human life and dignity,” Broglio’s letter highlighted.

Kate Franken of the National WIC Association echoes this sentiment, cautioning, “Without the urgent investment of additional funds, state WIC offices could… be forced to consider waiting lists for prospective participants.” Such a scenario, she insists, would be catastrophic.

In the midst of political standoffs and looming shutdowns, the message from Catholic leaders and advocates is unambiguous: Congress must prioritize and protect the nation’s most vulnerable by ensuring uninterrupted funding for the WIC program.

Pray for the protection of vulnerable families!


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