Archbishop William D. Borders of Baltimore came to the state Capitol today, pushing a somewhat liberal legislative agenda, including support for jobs legislation and a nuclear freeze, but strongly opposing Gov. Harry Hughes' efforts to make it easier for poor women to have abortions.
"It is stated that because the affluent can finance an abortion, the poor should be financed by the government," said Borders, stating what is, in effect, Hughes' view on the issue. " But as a matter of fact, neither the rich nor the poor has a right to an abortion. We're talking about a human life."
In his talk to Baltimore-area legislators, Borders urged them to help the poor and unemployed by supporting job-training legislation and to increase funds for those on welfare. He also encouraged the legislators to support a recently introduced resolution supporting a nuclear-arms freeze.
Borders hosted a breakfast at the Annapolis Hilton to deliver his message. In the next few weeks, Washington Archbishop James A. Hickey and Wilmington Bishop Thomas J. Mardaga will host similar affairs as part of an effort to increase the Catholic Church's influence in the General Assembly. Hickey's diocese includes the Maryland suburbs of Washington and Mardaga's diocese stretches into the nine Eastern Shore counties.
On the subject of abortion, Borders, who is chairman of the Maryland Catholic Conference, the church's policy-making group, said, "There have been more than 12 million abortions since the Supreme Court decision of 1973 . . . of those 12 million, nearly 184,000 have taken place in the state of Maryland. Obviousy we're addressing that when we opposed the Medicaid abortion budget."
Hughes, in his budget message last week, guaranteed a fight on the issue when he asked the legislature to ease the restrictions that now bar many Medicaid-funded abortions.