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Statement on Abortion

A Statement Issued by the President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops

January 22, 1973

1. The 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

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 •