Monday, January 23, 2012

Catholic Bishops of Florida Issue Statement on the 39th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

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  • Tallahassee, FL – The bishops of Florida continue their tradition of speaking out against the January 22, 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that has resulted in the deaths of millions of unborn children and harm to women. The bishops praise Florida's pro-life legislators and the faithful as they work to decrease the number of abortions in our state. The Catholic Church continues its pledge of support to help pregnant women and their children and counsel those who regret their decision to participate in an abortion. 

    The full statement follows:

    While we are saddened that another year passes without our nation redressing the great wrong of Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal at any time before birth, we are encouraged by the actions of the 2011 Florida legislature that passed a record number of bills regulating abortion practices. For the fourth year in a row, the number of abortions in Florida has declined. These ongoing efforts of pro-life legislators have also been aided by the presence of men, women and children of faith praying in front of abortion clinics and assisting those who chose life as the result of these encounters. 

    Many crisis pregnancy centers now have ultrasound machines which reveal to a woman the truth and beauty of the unique individual created in her womb, a gift from God. As the woman in 2 Maccabees 7:1, 22, 23 eloquently speaks: "It was not I who gave you the breath of life, nor was it I who set in order the elements of which each of you is composed….it is the Creator of the universe who shapes each man's beginning, as he brings about the origin of everything."

    Throughout Florida, these centers are instrumental in providing physical and emotional support to vulnerable women who are counseled regarding their life situation and assisted whether they choose to parent or place their child for adoption. The Catholic Church continues its pledge of support to pregnant women and children in their time of need.

    As shepherds of the faithful, we offer pastoral care through Project Rachel and Rachel's Vineyard, nationally recognized confidential programs approved by the Catholic Church, to women, men and family members affected by procured abortion (TOLL FREE 888-456-4673 Those who have suffered because of the choices they regret should not despair because God's mercy heals all wounds, even those sins we may consider "unforgiveable."

    Recent polling shows 50% favor a law requiring women seeking an abortion to be shown an ultrasound image of her fetus at least 24 hours before the procedure. Legislation filed for 2012 includes a 24 hour waiting period and would be one more step toward providing women all the information necessary for an informed decision before committing to a life altering abortion.

    In an address to the Pontifical Academy for Life at the Vatican in February, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI said, "In the moral conscience, God speaks to each one and invites him to defend human life at all time. In this personal bond with the Creator lies the profound dignity of the moral conscience and the reason for its inviolability."

    May we never rest until laws violating the right to life are overturned or set aside and we ask people of good will to join us in prayer for the protection of all life from conception to natural death.

    Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski
    Archdiocese of Miami
    Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito
    Diocese of Palm Beach
    Bishop Robert N. Lynch
    Diocese of St. Petersburg
    Bishop Frank J. Dewane
    Diocese of Venice
    Bishop John G. Noonan
    Diocese of Orlando
    Bishop Felipe J. Estévez
    Diocese of St. Augustine
    Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski
    Apostolic Administrator
    Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee

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  • The Florida Catholic Conference is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. It speaks for the Church in matters of public policy and serves as liaison to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.