Cardinal reponds to NY Governor's op-ed

Following is the text of a statement relesed by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley Feb. 8, 2019.

This week, the New York Times published an editorial by the Governor of New York who makes the outrageous claim that pro-life Catholics are trying to impose our religion on the country. Opposition to abortion is not a "Catholic issue." We have no right to make Friday abstinence or the reception of Ashes on Ash Wednesday a legal obligation for all citizens. Abortion, like racism, anti-Semitism, and human trafficking are violations of human rights. Innocent human life should be protected by civil laws.

Dr. Martin Luther King was certainly motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but he never saw racism as a "Baptist issue." And people have not claimed that he was trying to impose the Baptist religion on the country. By the same token, pro-life Catholics can be deeply motivated by our desire to be faithful members of the Church, but we do not see abortion as a "Catholic issue." It is a matter of defending innocent human life, and that is the obligation of all governments and all people whatever their religious affiliation might be or not be.

The move afoot to allow young girls to have an abortion without parental consent and justifying late-term abortion is tragic.

The eroding of the sacredness of human life is a slippery slope that begins with abortion, moves to euthanasia and then the elimination of the weak, feeble, and the "undesirable" whose lives are not as important and are inconvenient. Cheapening human life is to devaluate all life. When the abortion debate began, the pro-abortion advocates said it was impossible to know when human life begins. That has become a moot question. While science makes viability possible sooner and sooner in the pregnancy, abortion advocates want to keep moving the goalpost in the other direction. It no longer matters when human life begins.

The Pro-Life movement is the largest grassroots human rights movement in the U.S. We must also continue to expand our effort to help women to be able to choose life in the midst of economic and social pressures to take the life of their child. Indeed, I wish to be clear that I recognize the difficult situations women often face in pregnancy. To stand for unborn life morally is not to stand against women in these tragic circumstances. Both the woman and the child deserve our support.

Being at the March for Life is so reassuring. Young people, often the least religious segment of the population, are nevertheless the more pro-life generation. Despite the ugliness of the present effort of some to promote abortion, hope for the future is bright because more and more young people realize that abortion is not a religious issue. It is a matter of public morality and the defense of human rights. The day is coming when the abortion movement will find itself on the wrong side of history as the new generation embraces the protection of life.