With the primaries now behind us, the general election season is underway. As we have done in the past, and as we do all year long, Priests for Life will again be very vocal in the coming months about the responsibilities we all have “to participate in building the culture of life” (US Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, n.34).
The voters will hear from us, the candidates will hear from us, and the message will be clear: “The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed” (US Bishops, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, n.28).
At the outset of this general election battle, we have some questions for several groups of people:
1. To candidates whose position is that abortion should remain legal, we offer the following quotes from abortionists, medical textbooks, and court documents, and we ask, “When you say the word abortion, is this what you mean?”
“[T]ypically the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece…” (Sworn testimony given in US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, May 27, 1999, Case No. 98-C-0305-S), by Dr. Martin Haskell, an abortionist. He describes legal activity.)
“A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus…” (From the medical textbook Abortion Practice – Dr. Warren Hern, p.154, describing legal activity.)
“For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely re-moved.” (US Supreme Court, Gonzales vs. Carhart, 2007, describing legal activity).
“Question: Can the heart of a fetus or embryo still be beating during a suction curettage abortion as the fetus or embryo comes down the cannula? Answer: For a few seconds to a minute, yes.” (Sworn testimony given in US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, May 27, 1999, Case No. 98-C-0305-S), by Dr. Harlan Raymond Giles, an abortionist. He describes legal activity.)
2. To candidates who oppose abortion, we do not merely want to hear that you believe it is wrong. Rather, we ask, “What specifically will you do to advance the protection of children threatened by the violence of abortion?”
3. To voters who do not consider the political process helpful, or who are not enthusiastic about the candidates, we ask, “When you are troubled by the outcome of the election, or by the laws passed and court decisions issued by public officials who should not be in office in the first place, whose responsibility will that be?”
4. To those outside the Church who think the Church should keep her mouth shut about political matters, we ask, “Since when do you get to decide which citizens should have more of a voice in the public process than other citizens?”
5. To those inside the Church who are so cautious about political matters that they don’t take any risk or initiative on anything related to elections, we ask, “When a party that is committed to closing your Churches rises to power, can we come back to you then and count on you to say something? Exactly how bad do things have to get in order for you to find your courage?”
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, pointed to the statement of Pope John Paul II in the “Gospel of Life” which states that when a state makes abortion legal, “the disintegration of the State itself has already begun” (n. 20). “That sounds like more than just a single issue to me,” Fr. Pavone stated, “and our organization doesn’t intend to sit on the sidelines and watch it happen.”
Fr. Pavone will announce, in the coming weeks, a series of conference calls and web seminars that will enable interested citizens to engage the political process to advance the culture of life. To sign up to receive such announcements, visit www.PoliticalResponsibility.org.