Statement on the Anti-abortion Amendment
Statement Issued by the Administrative Committee of the National Conference
of Catholic Bishops
September 18, 1973
1. The Administrative Committee of the National Conference of
Catholic Bishops reaffirms its commitment to a constitutional amendment in
defense of unborn human life. While abortion transcends legal and
constitutional issues and involves fundamental questions of individual and
social morality, a constitutional amendment is now the only viable means to
correct the disastrous legal situation created by the Supreme Court's
rulings on abortion.
2. We therefore urge early hearings in the Senate and House on
pending constitutional amendments to protect the unborn. We also urge
pro-life supporters to call on their senators and representatives to support
congressional hearings at an early date.
3. We are strongly encouraged by the fact that numerous
pro-life amendments have been introduced in both houses of Congress. We
commend the many members of Congress who have sponsored such amendments. In
view of the evidence of widespread popular and congressional support for an
amendment, we feel that prompt and positive congressional consideration is
4. Furthermore, independent of the hearings, we recognize the
need for grassroots pro-life organization on behalf of such an amendment.
Local action can render an essential service by example, by public
information programs on the subject of abortion, by contacts with
congressmen, and by encouragement to state legislatures to petition
Congress—as several have done—on behalf of a constitutional amendment. Men
and women of good will, regardless of creed, who support the cause of human
life must prepare now to make an effective, united, long-term effort.
5. The complex legal issues relating to an amendment are now
under intensive and continuing study by the bishops' conference and by the
legal staff and advisors of the United States Catholic Conference. At
present, we do not single out any specific pending amendment. Our detailed
views regarding the wording of an amendment will be stated at an early date,
in the context of congressional hearings or some other appropriate forum.
Our immediate concern, however, is that Congress take action to insure
prompt and favorable consideration of this urgent matter and that pro-life
individuals and groups prepare now for the supportive action which will be
necessary to win congressional approval and ultimate ratification of an