Good News for Life

This year as we approach Respect Life Sunday, October 5th, there is significant reason for hope on the horizon. It appears that finally a partial-birth abortion ban act may become law for our country. This would be a major development. It would be the first federal law since the Supreme Court Decisions Roe v. Wade and Roe v. Bolton on January 22, 1973, to forbid an abortion procedure.

Both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have passed partial birth abortion acts. The matter is now in Conference Committee to reconcile the differences. As of this writing, the prospects are quite positive that the discrepancies will be resolved, that the Senate and the House will support the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, and that the President will sign it into law in the next few weeks.

Supporters of partial birth abortion declare it to be a medically safe procedure and that this will be the first instance where a medically safe procedure has been outlawed in our country. It boggles the mind to imagine how a procedure in which a baby is in the process of being born, is in fact 90% born, and then is surgically and brutally put to death can be called a "medically safe procedure." To the point also, the serious health risks which partial birth abortions pose to women have been extensively documented.

Americans have been slow to realize that since the Supreme Court Decisions in 1973, abortions have been legal in our country throughout all nine months of pregnancy: any abortion method, at any time, for any reason. People have not wanted to talk about abortion. They prefer not to know what is going on. Ambiguous labels cloud the issue, e.g. "pro choice," instead of "pro abortion."

That situation is changing. Increasingly people have come to realize how barbaric partial birth abortion is. Polls consistently report that over 75% of the population support the ban act.

At the same time there has developed a growing awareness of the reality that abortion in general is the cruel destruction of a life, the life of a human being. Biology and technology are making the case ever more clearly.

Every year the percentages of people describing themselves as pro life increase while those who indicate they are pro choice are declining. At this point, indications are that 61% of the public would outlaw over 97% of the abortions being performed in America today.

Especially interesting, the percentages of young people describing themselves as pro life are surging. Sonar imaging, ecological awareness, and enhanced sensitivity to life are showing stepped-up effects.

People nonetheless continue to fog and obfuscate matters. Take the difficulty in enacting an Unborn Victims of Violence Act, both at the federal and at the state levels. The House of Representatives has passed such legislation, the U.S. Senate has not. The State Senate has passed a bill, the State Assembly has not.

These bills, simply put, state that when a pregnant woman is criminally attacked, there are two victims: the woman and her unborn child. Keep in mind that these are women who want to have their child. The opponents of the legislation strategize to prevent bills that would bring added light to the reality of the human being in the womb.

Help Available

Women facing decisions on whether or not to have their babies can face at times severe anguish and trauma. All sorts of help, including financial, are available from the Diocese of Buffalo. Adoption remains a strong option. For information, please call our Respect Life Office, (716) 847-2205. You will find meaningful help.

For those who have had abortions, the Diocese provides Project Rachel, a sensitive, confidential program of reconciliation and healing. Women, and men involved, may call 1 (800) 593-2273 for further information. People who have found peace are the strongest proponents of Project Rachel.


We continually remember that civilization enjoys its finest hours when it defends and promotes human life in all its stages, particularly at its weakest and most vulnerable. A reminder for us all.

Most Rev. Henry J. Mansell
Bishop of Buffalo
September 24, 2003