Statement on Abortion
A Statement Issued by the President of the National Conference of
January 22, 1973
Supreme Court's decision today is an unspeakable tragedy for this
nation. It is hard to think of any decision in the two hundred years of our
history which has had more disastrous implications for our stability as a
civilized society. The ruling drastically diminishes the constitutional
guarantee of the right to life and, in doing so, sets in motion developments
which are terrifying to contemplate.
2. The ruling represents bad logic and bad law. There is no
rational justification for allowing unrestricted abortion up to the third
month of pregnancy. The development of life before and after birth is a
continuous process, and in making the three-month point the cutoff for
unrestricted abortion, the Court seems more impressed by magic than by
scientific evidence regarding fetal development. The child in the womb has
the right to the life it already possesses, and this is a right no court has
authority to deny.
3. Apparently, the Court was trying to straddle the fence and give
something to everybody: abortion on demand before three months for those who
want that, somewhat more restrictive abortion regulations after three months
for those who want that. But in its straddling act, the Court has done a
monstrous injustice to the thousands of unborn children whose lives may be
destroyed as a result of this decision.
4. No court and no legislature in the land can make something evil
become something good. Abortion at any stage of pregnancy is evil. This is
not a question of sectarian morality, but instead concerns the law of God
and the basis of civilized society. One trusts in the decency and good sense
of the American people not to let an illogical court decision dictate to
them on the subject of morality and human life.
John Cardinal Krol
National Conference of Catholic Bishops