Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 30, 2022 / 14:00 pm (CNA).
Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore is expressing support for a nationwide abortion ban aimed at protecting unborn babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
As chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Lori recently thanked Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey — both Republicans — for introducing the “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act.”
“Although we will never cease working for laws that protect human life from its beginning and supporting mothers in need, we think that this proposed legislation is a place to begin uniting Americans regardless of their views on abortion,” Lori wrote in a Sept. 19 letter. “Further, we strongly agree that there is a federal role for protecting unborn human life.”
The legislation, proposed by Graham in the Senate and Smith in the House on Sept. 13, would ban abortion after 15 weeks, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.
“I support your efforts with the ‘Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act’ to protect the right to life of unborn babies from 15 weeks’ gestation,” Lori said. “All elected officials, including federally elected members of Congress, now have the opportunity to protect unborn human life and should rise to the occasion.”
He added: “It is long past time to end the barbaric practice of abortion and to provide life-affirming alternatives that support and protect both mother and child.”
The new legislation follows the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June with the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. That decision found that the constitution does not grant a right to abortion and leaves abortion up to the people and their elected represenatives.
Earlier this month, in anticipation of Respect Life Month in October, Lori called the Supreme Court’s decision an “answer to prayer” — and an opportunity to build a culture of life by practicing “radical solidarity and unconditional love.”
Recent research has revealed much that was previously unknown about babies in the womb, Lori said.
“Science continues to reveal the amazing development and characteristics of babies in utero, such as their ability to respond to music, to their mother’s voice, and to other stimuli,” he wrote. “Furthermore, there is significant scientific evidence that babies can feel pain as early as 12 weeks’ gestation.”
He cited the study, “Reconsidering Fetal Pain,” published by J Med Ethics in 2020.
In his Sept. 19 letter, Lori stressed that abortion puts mothers at risk.
“Finally,” he added, “not only does abortion end the life of the unborn child, but it is frequently harmful to the mother, emotionally and physically.”
Citing additional sources, he urged: “Late-term abortions, such as those performed when the unborn child is 15 weeks or older, pose significant physical, and potential fatal, risks to the mother.”
The Catholic Church, he said, is committed to accompanying moms in need and providing life-affirming alternatives to abortion.
“The Catholic Church remains clear and consistent in asserting that true justice demands the right to life, the most basic human and civil right, for every child, from conception onward,” Lori wrote. “No person or government has the right to take the life of any innocent human being, regardless of its stage of development.”
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