Editor’s note: This is the second in a series prepared by the Wisconsin Catholic Conference as a guide for those who wish to inform their consciences in order to participate more fully in the political process. To learn more about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (FCFC), visit faithfulcitizenship.org and wisconsincatholic.org.
Why is protecting the unborn of such great importance?
As Pope Francis explains, “Among the vulnerable for whom the church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. … (T)his defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development” (Evangelii Gaudium, 213).
What about other human rights?
“The right to life implies and is linked to other human rights — to the basic goods that every human person needs to live and thrive. All the life issues are connected, for erosion of respect for the life of any individual or group in society necessarily diminishes respect for all life. The moral imperative to respond to the needs of our neighbors — basic needs such as food, shelter, health care, education and meaningful work — is universally binding on our consciences and may be legitimately fulfilled by a variety of means. Catholics must seek the best ways to respond to these needs” (FCFC, 25).
“Catholic teaching about the dignity of life calls us to oppose torture, unjust war and the indiscriminate use of drones for violent purposes; to prevent genocide and attacks against noncombatants; to oppose racism; to oppose human trafficking; and to overcome poverty and suffering. Nations are called to protect the right to life by seeking effective ways to combat evil and terror without resorting to armed conflicts except as a last resort after all peaceful means have failed, and to end the use of the death penalty as a means of protecting society from violent crime. We revere the lives of children in the womb, the lives of persons dying in war and from starvation and indeed the lives of all human beings as children of God. We stand opposed to these and all activities that contribute to what Pope Francis has called ‘a throwaway culture’” (FCFC, 45).