Wednesday, October 22, 2008



News Briefs

Cardinal Rigali, Bishop Murphy: Catholics have moral obligation to reverse Roe
October 22, 2008

Countering an argument made by prominent Catholic supporters of presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Murphy, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, criticized the view that ‘we should accept Roe as a permanent fixture of constitutional law, stop trying to restore recognition for the unborn child’s human rights, and confine our public advocacy to efforts to ‘reduce abortions’ through improved economic and social support for women and families … Reversing it is not a mere political tactic, but a moral imperative for Catholics and others who respect human life.’

The Roe decision, Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Murphy observed, ‘denied an entire class of innocent human beings the most fundamental human right, the right to life. In fact, the act of killing these fellow human beings was transformed from a crime into a ‘right,’ turning the structure of human rights on its head. Roe v. Wade is a clear case of an ‘intrinsically unjust law’ we are morally obliged to oppose.’

Roe itself,’ they continued, ‘enormously increased the annual number of abortions in our society. The law is a teacher, and Roe taught many women, physicians and others that abortion is an acceptable answer to a wide range of problems. By the same token, even the limited pro-life laws allowed by the Court since Roe have been shown to reduce abortions substantially, leading to a steady decline in the abortion rate since 1980 … Laws made possible by reversing Roewould save many more. On the other hand, this progress could be lost through a key pro-abortion proposal, the ‘Freedom of Choice Act,’ which supporters say would knock down hundreds of current pro-life laws.’

While the work of establishing legal protections for the unborn is ‘essential,’ it is not sufficient, said Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Murphy: ‘Our faith requires us to oppose abortion on demand and to provide help to mothers facing challenging pregnancies.’

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