June 14, 2019

Editorial

Unborn children, the most vulnerable members of society

​Abortion has once again become “front-page news” with states such as Alabama, Missouri and Georgia enacting laws that restrict access to abortion, and other states such as New York, California and Illinois seeking to remove virtually any limitations on abortion.

Earlier this year, the Indiana General Assembly passed a bill, which Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law, that bans dismemberment abortion in the state, although it did not make national headlines like the newly passed laws in other states.

Our Church considers abortion to be the most serious of all the challenges to life we face today, including end‑of-life issues, capital punishment, HIV/AIDS, war, poverty, embryonic stem‑cell research, immigration issues, homelessness and more. This is because unborn children are the most vulnerable members of society and the most in need of our protection. They are innocent victims who must rely completely on the care and protection of others.

All crimes against the dignity of human life are horrible and must be vigorously opposed. But abortion stands out as an unspeakable evil that we must work to eradicate with all the resources at our disposal. As long as abortion remains legally and socially acceptable, our Church must speak out. We must pray and teach. We must protest and work to change our laws. We must help women in crisis pregnancies, and we must help “unwanted” children find good homes and loving parents.

In his final address as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2010, Cardinal Francis E. George, then archbishop of Chicago, made the following statement: “Consistently, and ever more insistently since the sin and crime of abortion was legalized in the United States, our voice has been that of bishops of the Catholic Church ever since the first Christians condemned the abortion practices of ancient Romans. The act is immoral; and the laws that have permitted now 50 million children of our country to be killed in their mothers’ wombs are also immoral and unjust; the laws are destroying our society.” These are strong words that must be spoken—over and over again—until abortion becomes a thing of the past here in our archdiocese, in our country and throughout the world.

Pope Francis recently reminded us that a fetus is not just “biological material.” An unborn child is a new living being, dynamic and marvelously ordered, a new individual of the human species. “No human being can ever be incompatible with life,” the Holy Father said recently. Every child is “a gift that changes the history of a family … and this child needs to be welcomed, loved and cared for.”

“Abortion is never the answer,” the pope says. “Human life is sacred and inviolable and the use of prenatal diagnosis for selective purposes must be strongly discouraged, because it is the expression of an inhuman eugenic mentality, which deprives families of the possibility of welcoming, embracing and loving their weakest children.”

The pope also reminds us that threats against the dignity of human life do not end with birth. Violence, especially toward children, can be found everywhere in our society. We must work to change our hearts, our culture, our laws and our social practices. We must end abortion and, with it, all forms of violence and abuse against those members of our society who are vulnerable and in need of our protection and care.

As long as abortion is legal and socially acceptable, we Christians (and all who believe in the dignity of human life) must work to overturn laws that are anti-life. We must reach out to women who may be considering abortion and help them find better, life-giving ways to deal with crisis pregnancies.

We believe that every human life is sacred. We proclaim the human person to be the foundation of human society. Nothing is more important to our Christian way of life than the defense of innocent and vulnerable unborn children. Nothing is more important to our spiritual lives than our prayers for life. Nothing is more important to our practice of the Catholic faith than our work to protect and defend life in Jesus’ name.

As Cardinal George said, “If the poor are allowed to be born, then the voice of Christ continues to speak to the homeless and the jobless, the hungry and the naked, the uneducated, the migrant, the imprisoned, the sick and the dying. Our ministry is consistent because the concerns of Jesus Christ are consistent. He is at the side of the poor.” To oppose abortion is to oppose all forms of violence against the dignity of human life. As the cardinal reminded us, “Ours is a consistent ethic of Christ’s concerns for all his people, especially the poor.”

Let’s pray for the most vulnerable members of our society. Let’s work to defend our unborn children who are most in need of our protection and care.

—Daniel Conway

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