October 30, 2015

Editorial

Keeping the momentum going in the pro-life movement

Need more proof the pro-life movement is making headway and changing hearts? Then look no further than the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote last week to block funding for a year to affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and redirect the money to community health centers.

As reported by Catholic News Service and other media outlets, Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act passed on Oct. 23 in a 240-189 vote along party lines.

The provision is part of a reconciliation bill—H.R. 3762—that voids some major provisions of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Law.

As reported in previous issues of The Criterion, calls for defunding Planned Parenthood and investigating the organization followed the release of several undercover videos this summer that show physicians and others associated with Planned Parenthood describing the harvesting of fetal tissue and body parts during abortions at their facilities.

Also discussed in the videos, produced by the Center for Medical Progress, are what researchers are paying for the tissue and parts.

Pro-life advocates were shocked by the videos, but were pleased last week to see the House take action to defund the organization.

“Planned Parenthood now commands about one-third of the total abortion ‘market,’ ” said Carol Tobias, National Right to Life president. “For far too long, federal taxpayer dollars have been funneled to the nation’s abortion giant, and it’s time for that to stop. We applaud passage of the reconciliation bill, and we urge the U.S. Senate to act quickly.”

The Senate cannot block the bill with a filibuster, but even if it were to pass, it will face a guaranteed veto by President Barack Obama. The president has been a vocal supporter of Planned Parenthood, going so far as in 2013 to be the first sitting president to deliver an address during a national gathering of the organization.

According to its most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood received at least $528 million annually from the federal government and state governments.

Other Church leaders agree last week’s action was a step in the right direction.

The House vote “is an important step forward in ending the massive, unnecessary and immoral funding of Planned Parenthood,” said Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life. “We in the pro-life movement have to continue to work this process with patience, perseverance and political wisdom, as long as it takes, to defund Planned Parenthood.”

Patience, perseverance and political wisdom. We echo the words of Father Pavone as our Church takes steps to keep the momentum in building a culture of life.

Oct. 31 marks the end of Respect Life Month, but we know pro-life advocates will continue their efforts to share how our faith teaches us that God values all life—from conception to natural death.

Though some political leaders and others who support an ever-growing secularistic mindset will tell us to keep our practice of faith inside church walls, we as Catholic Christians understand we have a moral obligation to do all we can to build a culture of life. We know that defending all life, including unborn babies, can be done from science and natural law apart from faith.

Pope Francis promoted a culture of life during his recent visit to the United States when he addressed Congress: “Every life is sacred,” he insisted, and we as brothers and sisters in Christ, are charged with the “responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”

We need to remind our government and political leaders that we, as people of faith, live that tenet. We pray through God’s grace and wisdom, more and more will.

—Mike Krokos

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