Crises bring out the best and worst in people and in their decisions. We have seen so much of “the best” in the courageous sacrifice of our health care workers, first responders and other essential personnel who are keeping us supplied with medicine, food and so many other needs.
Sadly, however, In the midst of good efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, a glaring example of “the worst” judgment was demonstrated in the text of New Jersey Executive Order 109, where abortion was identified as a permissible elective surgery in the New Jersey. The order states
4. Nothing in this Order shall be construed to limit access to the full range of family planning services and procedures, including terminations of pregnancies, whether in a hospital, ambulatory surgery center, physician office, or other location.
At a time when we are doing everything possible in New Jersey to protect people from COVID-19 and to preserve the health, wellbeing and lives of people who have been exposed to coronavirus, to permit the simultaneous, continued destruction of life in the womb just doesn’t make any sense. It has never made sense even in good, pandemic free times.
Why are “the full range of family planning services and procedure including terminations of pregnancies” placed in the protected category of permissible elective services available in our state? The pro-choice lobby and its politics are too hard to resist, I guess, even for some leaders and politicians who identify themselves as “Catholic.“ For the Catholic, regardless of occupation or political party, abortion and the Catholic faith are irreconcilable. That has been the clear teaching of the Catholic Church for centuries and Roe v. Wade (1973) has not altered that teaching, even slightly. Every Catholic knows that, including elected officials. The elective “termination of pregnancies” is a death sentence — the death penalty — for children in the womb, pandemic or not.
New Jersey Executive Order 109 is another — and I emphasize, another — of the ongoing efforts in our state at the highest levels to ignore or dismiss the sound moral reasoning that is the foundation of our support for human life, from conception to natural death. In addition to the knowledge that children will be sacrificed in the womb in this time of COVID-19, the fact that Executive Order 109 bears Catholic fingerprints deeply saddens me as Bishop. I would not want that on my conscience when I face the Creator.