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Talking points on Abortion

Talking points on Partial-birth Abortion

Talking points on Political Responsibility

Homily suggestions relative to the Sunday Readings

Talking points on Abortion in general

Abortion is primarily a spiritual/moral issue rather than a political one. It violates justice, and therefore the command to love one another.

Alternatives to abortion are available nationwide, as is post-abortion healing and forgiveness.

The Church upholds human freedom, and also upholds the common-sense fact that when someone's choice destroys someone else's life, that's everybody's business, and is a choice that should not be allowed.

Christ is Life, and to stand with Him is to stand with Life, and against whatever destroys life. Nothing in our society destroys more life than abortion (4000 per day).

Talking points on Partial-Birth Abortion

The procedure called "partial-birth abortion" is performed in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, right up to full-term. It involves delivering most of the child, and then killing it by collapsing the skull.

Those who perform these procedures admit that at least 80% of them have nothing to do with the medical needs of the mother or the baby.

The Supreme Court has struck down a law which bans this procedure (Stenberg vs. Carhart, June 28, 2000). This contradicts the clear will of the American people, as evidenced by the fact that some 30 of the 50 state legislatures have banned it. So has the United States Congress, on three separate occasions. Polls likewise reveal a vast majority of the public wanting a ban on this procedure.

Banning partial-birth abortion is not the government making medical decisions; it is the government preventing the abuse of medicine.

Arguments in defense of partial-birth abortion can also apply to infanticide. In practice, the two evils are only inches apart from each other.

With the Court's action, the best legal recourse at this point against partial-birth abortion is the replacement of Supreme Court justices, which in effect means having people in the White House and the Senate who refuse to allow this kind of practice in America. This fact makes the upcoming elections more important than ever, since several Supreme Court justices will likely be replaced in the next few years.

Talking points on Political Responsibility

The bishops teach that participation in the political process is a virtue, and that every vote counts. Believers are not second-class citizens. Rather, they have every right to strive by legitimate means to shape public policy according to their moral convictions.

All legitimate authority comes from God and is responsible to God. Nations as well as individuals must follow his law.

Protecting human life is no more a sectarian creed than the Declaration of Independence is a sectarian document. Because all rights depend on life, the right to life is the most fundamental issue in any campaign.

Connections with the Sunday readings

Cycle B

22nd Sunday B - September 3

All three readings probe the meaning of true and pure worship, which can never be simply external observance, but must involve an adherence of mind and heart to God's commands. This adherence leads to the care of the needy, "looking after orphans and widows in their distress" (2nd reading). None are more needy in our day than the unborn. Christian service reaches out to them and their mothers. Can we say, "Lord, save us" and yet ignore their plea for us to save them?

The first reading, furthermore, shows that not only individuals, but nations, are called to be faithful to God's law. The Church does not write the laws of the nation, but proclaims the truths of God to which those laws must conform.

23rd Sunday B - September 10

Today's second reading strongly condemns favoritism, prejudice, and discrimination. Our nation's abortion policy, recently reaffirmed by the Supreme Court, is discrimination against the unborn and those in the process of birth. The Court has said, "The word person … does not include the unborn" (Roe v Wade). The Christian, on the other hand, is not free to exclude anyone from his love and concern.

Jesus, as the First reading foretells and the Gospel fulfills, makes the blind see and the deaf hear. This miracle is needed in our nation to help us again see the dignity of the youngest members of the human family.

24th Sunday B - September 17

The abortion policies of our nation embody the rejection of the cross, for which Jesus rebukes Peter in today's Gospel. The "right" to destroy even a partially born child is based on the idea that we find fulfillment by pushing others out of the way. Today's readings teach us that we find fulfillment only when we push ourselves out of the way (take up the cross) to make room for the other. Jesus says, "This is my body, given up for you" and we have life. Abortion supporters say, "This is my body, so you, the baby, must die."

The second reading shows us that it is not enough to "believe" in the right to life. We have to concretely help those who need protection. This includes being informed and active participants in our national elections.

25th Sunday B - September 24

The Gospel equates the welcoming of a child with the welcoming of Jesus, who embodies the very Kingdom of God. Abortion is exactly the opposite dynamic. Our nation's policies do not welcome the child. The Supreme Court has solidified the "right" to reject the child, even in the process of birth.

The pro-life position is the more inclusive, extending the circle of those whom we recognize as brothers and sisters and welcome into the human community. America is founded on the same ideal - that all are equal, and have the right to life. The Statue of Liberty expresses this welcome. Elected officials, therefore, have the obligation to uphold the principles of the equality of all human beings before the law. The abortion policies must therefore be changed.

26th Sunday B - October 1

The Gospel warns against scandal, which means leading others into sin.

The US Bishops have made it clear that public officials who support abortion risk the sin of scandal. They write, "We urge those Catholic officials who choose to depart from Church teaching on the inviolability of human life in their public life to consider the consequences for their own spiritual well being, as well as the scandal they risk by leading others into serious sin. We call on them to reflect on the grave contradiction of assuming public roles and presenting themselves as credible Catholics when their actions on fundamental issues of human life are not in agreement with Church teaching. No public official, especially one claiming to be a faithful and serious Catholic, can responsibly advocate for or actively support direct attacks on innocent human life" (Living the Gospel of Life, 1998, n.32).

27th Sunday B - October 8

The Gospel declares that the Kingdom of God demands openness to the children. Abortion directly contradicts this, both in national policy and personal choices.

Moreover the teachings on the unity of man and woman in today's readings are a good starting point to emphasize the Church's teachings on the dignity and equality of women. To be pro-life is to be pro-woman. We do not say that the child is more important than the mother, but that both are equal.

28th Sunday B - October 15

The prayer for wisdom (First reading) is one we should make not only for ourselves, but for our national leaders, and those who seek elected office.

Wisdom in practice is reflected in the Gospel passage. It starts with observance of the commandments, and the first one our Lord mentions is "You shall not kill." The commandments are the path to life, for individuals and nations. In our system of democracy, we the people govern the nation, and do so especially by exercising our right to vote. When we enter the voting booths, we do not cease to be Christians, exercising the wisdom God gives.

29th Sunday B - October 22

The Gospel makes it clear that the Christian is called to serve. Those in public office are also called to serve. This means taking account of the needs of all and protecting the lives of all. Abortion does exactly the opposite. It ignores the most fundamental rights of an entire segment of the public. Support for abortion cannot be reconciled with public service, and it is up to the Christian community to make this clear to the rest of the nation.

30th Sunday B - October 29

The first reading speaks of the promise of return from exile. One of the causes of the exile was the fact that God's people fell into the practice of child-sacrifice (see 2 Kings 24:3-4).

Our nation allows child sacrifice, most vividly exemplified by partial-birth abortion. Yet God gives us an opportunity to come back to him as a nation, including the mothers with child (First reading), and to see again (Gospel) the dignity of every life. Our national elections give each of us a chance to participate in bringing our nation back to moral uprightness before God.

31st Sunday B - November 5

Both the first reading and the Gospel teach us that our first allegiance is to God alone. In preparing to vote this week, therefore, we remind ourselves of what the bishops have said in their 1998 document Living the Gospel of Life: " we urge our fellow citizens to see beyond party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically, and to choose their political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or mere self-interest (n.34)."

Again, as they wrote in Faithful Citizenship (1999), "Our moral framework does not easily fit the categories of right or left, Democrat or Republican. Our responsibility is to measure every party and platform by how its agenda touches human life and dignity."


Priests for Life
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