Bishops: Catholics “Morally Obliged” to Oppose Roe v. Wade
In an October 21 statement Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., said, “Our faith requires us to oppose abortion on demand and to provide help to mothers facing challenging pregnancies,” The bishops urged Catholics to study the teaching of the Church, rather than rely on statements and materials from outside groups and individuals.
Cardinal Rigali, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop Murphy, chair of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, made the joint statement in response to arguments that the Church should accept the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on abortion as a “permanent fixture of constitutional law” and should concede that the only way to reduce abortions is to provide more government support for pregnant women.
At the same time the two bishops also responded to those who argue that the Church’s efforts against abortion should focus solely on restoring recognition for unborn children’s human rights and that proposals to provide social and economic support for pregnant women distract from that effort.
“Providing support for pregnant women so they choose to have their babies is a necessary but not sufficient response to abortion. Similarly, reversal of Roe is a necessary but not sufficient condition for restoring an order of justice in our society’s treatment of defenseless human life,” they said. The bishops also noted that “in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision knocked down laws against abortion in all 50 states, fabricating a constitutional ‘right’ to abortion that continues to haunt and divide our society. … Roe v. Wade is a clear case of an ‘intrinsically unjust law’ we are morally obliged to oppose. Reversing it is not a mere political tactic, but a moral imperative for Catholics and others who respect human life,” they said.
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