WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee called it “deeply disturbing and tragic” that any U.S. president would mark the Jan. 22 anniversary of the Roe decision that legalized abortion by praising it and committing to codifying it in law.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling “denies unborn children their most basic human and civil right, the right to life, under the euphemistic disguise of a health service,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
“I take this opportunity to remind all Catholics that the catechism states, ‘Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable,’” the archbishop said in a statement released late Jan. 22 in response to a statement on Roe by President Joe Biden, a Catholic, and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Biden and Harris said their administration “is committed to codifying Roe v. Wade and appointing judges that respect foundational precedents like Roe.” They did not use the word “abortion,” but talked about “reproductive health” and protecting women’s access to “health care.”
“In the past four years, reproductive health, including the right to choose, has been under relentless and extreme attack,” they said Jan. 22. “We are deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care — including reproductive health care — regardless of income, race, ZIP code, health insurance status or immigration status.”
They added: “Now is the time to rededicate ourselves to ensuring that all individuals have access to the health care they need.”
Archbishop Naumann said the bishops strongly urged Biden “to reject abortion and promote life-affirming aid to women and communities in need.”
“Public officials are responsible for not only their personal beliefs, but also the effects of their public actions,” the archbishop said. “Roe’s elevation of abortion to the status of a protected right and its elimination of state restrictions paved the way for the violent deaths of more than 62 million innocent unborn children and for countless women who experience the heartache of loss, abandonment and violence.”