The Inalienable Right to Live
Most Rev. Eusebius J. Beltran
Archbishop of Oklahoma City
A BORTION is the killing of an unborn human being. It is always evil, and
therefore can never be justified. The barbarism of abortion is especially evident in the
so-called partial-birth abortion. How anyone can perform or condone this
atrocious execution is beyond my comprehension.
Partial-birth abortion is a procedure in which the torso of the unborn child
is delivered through the birth canal before surgical scissors are stabbed into
the base of the child's head. The child's brain is then removed by suction,
collapsing the head for easier removal. These abortions can even occur on the
eve of natural birth.
How anyone can perform or condone this cold-blooded murdering of the unborn
(partially born) child is beyond my understanding.
And our president twice has vetoed the ban passed by Congress to eliminate
partial-birth abortions. However, not only the president, but also 36 senators
and 132 members of the House voted to sustain President Clinton's veto.
Yes, September 18th was a sad day for me and indeed for all Americans. It was
especially sad for the little boys and girls nearing birth whose lives will not
be spared. Because of a presidential veto more little babies have lost their
inalienable right to life.
Congress first passed the federal ban on partial-birth abortions in 1995. It
was immediately vetoed by President Clinton. A year later, art attempt to
override his veto failed.
Therefore, Congress passed new legislation last year which was again vetoed
by President Clinton. In July of this year, the House of Representatives
overrode President Clinton's veto with 296 voting to override the veto and 132
voting to sustain the presidential veto.
On September 18th, 64 United States senators voted to overturn the
president's ban while 36 senators voted to sustain it. Therefore with three
votes short of two-thirds, Mr. Clinton's veto stands and partial birth-abortion
remains legal in our country.
It is incredible to me that the president of the United States, 36 senators
and 132 representatives in the House would vote to allow the killing of babies
through partial-birth abortion.
Is there any wonder then why there is so much violence and confusion in our
While I am, and we all should be, outraged at the presidential veto and the
36 senators and 132 representatives who voted in favor of continuing
partial-birth abortions, we cannot just sit back and complain.
As Catholics, we are obliged to share the Good News of Jesus. We are supposed
to be a light in the darkness. We are responsible for our brothers and sisters,
especially those most in need like the innocent children in the wombs of their
What can we do? I will list five very specific ways that you and I can
overcome the current culture of death.
I. PRAYER. We can never underestimate the power of prayer. We can never
abandon prayer as an essential way of communicating with God and discovering His
Will and having the courage to follow it. We must be a prayerful people who turn
to God and seek His help.
II. FASTING. From the earliest days of the Church, fasting has been linked
with prayer as a spiritual exercise. It is an opportunity to seek more
diligently the Will of God by offering up something like food or drink or
legitimate pleasure as a sacrifice to God . Particular acts of fasting can be
offered as part of our prayer to end abortions.
III. STUDY. The Church has issued many beautiful teachings and writings on
the dignity of the human person. Our present Holy Father has shared a wealth of
knowledge by speaking and writing on the beauty of human life and our vocation
to holiness. We need to read, to study and to assimilate these teachings. This
is the truth found in the Sacred Scriptures. It is the truth by which we should
IV. ACTION. There are many, many ways that we can participate in constructive
action to bring about an end to abortion. Helping at Birth Choice or Birthright
or one of the other pro-life organizations puts our words into practice.
Teaching young people the value of chaste living, helping young couples to
appreciate the sacredness of all life, comforting the troubled, are all ways of
positively changing this terrible situation today.
V. VOTE. Vote for good and responsible pro-life candidates. Regardless of how
talented a doctor, lawyer or politician might be - if they are baby killers by
performing, supporting or promoting abortion, they should not be given roles of
leadership in our society which is supposed to protect the inalienable right to
life of all.
Sooner Catholic Sunday, October 4, 1998
Teachings of the Magisterium on Abortion