There is much that I appreciate about being a resident of New York state, especially the many wonderful people I’ve come to know since Pope Benedict XVI sent me here to western New York back in 2012. I even enjoy the winter weather – well, for the most part!
It saddens and angers me, however, that in a state that already holds the disgraceful and tragic distinction of being the abortion capital of the United States – New York has twice the national average of abortions – we have a governor and too many legislators who are hell-bent on providing for the killing of even more preborn babies. This is precisely what the newly enacted “Reproductive Health Act” does. Oh, the pathetic irony: now “health” can mean the intentional taking of innocent human life.
There is nothing in this new law to prohibit any of the following:
- abortion up to the moment of birth for any reason, because of the broad definition of the health of the mother that could include virtually anything that the mother and the abortionist want it to mean
- non-doctors performing surgical abortions, because this new law repeals the physicians-only provision of the former law and leaves it entirely up to the state Department of Education to determine who can do abortions
- pharmaceutical abortions prescribed over the internet (the scope of abortionists’ practice is up to State Ed)
- New York becoming an abortion destination, as one of the few states that allows late term abortions for any reason and without regulations
- not treating an infant accidentally born alive during an abortion, because the provision of the law that granted protection to such children has been repealed
- religious freedom and conscience rights are threatened because the state could deny licenses to individuals and institutions that do not provide or cooperate with abortions.
Catholic teaching on the dignity and inviolability of unborn human life is crystal clear.
The first century Christian treatise the Didache (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) declares, “You shall not kill the embryo and shall not cause the newborn to perish.”
The Second Vatican Council is equally direct: “Life, once conceived, must be protected with the utmost care; abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.”
That is firm and established Catholic moral teaching. Yet one does not need Catholic teaching or even belief in God to know why abortion is wrong. As liberal Democrat and former Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey once remarked, “I didn’t get my pro-life belief from my religion class in Catholic school, but from my biology and U.S. Constitution classes.”
What we do learn from our religion classes – from the Bible – is that eventually we will, every one of us, face God on judgment day. There is heaven and there is hell. Our decisions and actions in this life determine our trajectory into eternity. Thankfully, our God is, in Pope Francis’ words, the “Face of Mercy.” There is time now for change of heart and conversion of intellect. There is time now for repentance. For all of us. And for our elected officials, too. And for Catholics in elected office who support or promote so called “abortion rights,” who voted for the expansion of abortion, including late-term abortion, please know that you have placed yourself out of communion with Christ and his Church. It’s never too late to repent.
So what can we do?
- Pray for changed hearts and minds that will awaken to the sacredness and dignity of all human life.
- Provide life-affirming choices for women facing unplanned pregnancies. Contact St. Gianna Pregnancy Outreach Center (Buffalo area: 716-842-2229; Cheektowaga area: Infant of Prague Parish; Cattaraugus area: 716-373-2569; Chautauqua area: 716-401-3324; Niagara area: 716-284-2229. And Mother Teresa Home: 716-424-0217).
- Reach out to women who have suffered an abortion and men who suffer in silence (Call confidential line): 716-847-2211, or call 716-847-2205).
- Build the culture of life. Talk the talk. Build consensus. Educate the next generations to be unconditionally, unapologetically pro-life, and see the connection between their faith and politics. Walk the walk. Teach people to love, value and respect one another. This witnesses to our profound appreciation for the wondrous gift of human life
- Prepare carefully before you vote in future elections by educating yourself and others on important issues.
The petition to repeal the NY abortion law is now live on the website here: www.nyscatholic.org/nys-catholic-conference-action-center/
And, dear people, stay alert: assisted suicide is next as the “Medical Aid in Dying bill looms.