Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York called on everyone “concerned about the tragedy of abortion” to recommit to a “vision of life and love, a vision that excludes no one” on January 14. His statement marks the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Cardinal Dolan chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Most Americans oppose a policy allowing legal abortion for virtually any reason – though many still do not realize that this is what the Supreme Court gave us,” wrote Cardinal Dolan. “Most want to protect unborn children at later stages of pregnancy, to regulate or limit the practice of abortion, and to stop the use of taxpayer dollars for the destruction of unborn children. Yet many who support important goals of the pro-life movement do not identify as ‘pro-life,’ a fact which should lead us to examine how we present our pro-life vision to others.”
“Even as Americans remain troubled by abortion,” wrote Cardinal Dolan, a powerful and well-funded lobby holds “that abortion must be celebrated as a positive good for women and society, and those who cannot in conscience provide it are to be condemned for practicing substandard medicine and waging a ‘war on women’.” He said this trend was seen recently when President Obama and other Democratic leaders prevented passage of the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, “a modest measure to provide for effective enforcement” of conscience laws.
“While this is disturbing,” said Cardinal Dolan, “it is also an opportunity.” Pro-life Americans should reach out to “the great majority of Americans” who are “open to hearing a message of reverence for life.” He added that “we who present the pro-life message must always strive to be better messengers. A cause that teaches the inexpressibly great value of each and every human being cannot show disdain or disrespect for any fellow human being.” He encouraged Catholics to take part, through prayer and action, in the upcoming “9 Days for Life” campaign, January 16-24.
He also cited the Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis as a time for women and men to find healing through the Church’s Project Rachel post-abortion ministry.