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EDITORIAL | Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade is a reminder that we must remain strong in our resolve to promote a culture of life

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people converge in Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life to mark the anniversary Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Life is a human right. Our defense of that right is a joyful witness to the beauty and dignity of every human person — from the moment of conception until natural death.

This year, we’ll have a different march for life. The national event is going virtual, and many groups are staying home. But that doesn’t mean the march within our minds and hearts on this issue ceases. The work to defend the dignity of every unborn person — and to cherish every life here on earth — continues.

Missouri has had a significant decline in abortions. Much of this has been credited to the numerous pro-life laws enacted to protect the life and health of pregnant mothers and their babies. The Missouri health department recently reported that 39 surgical abortions took place in Missouri from Jan. 1 through Nov. 15, 2020. In 2019, the total number was 1,471.

But the fact remains that Missouri women — and women across this country — are still seeking abortions. We have not yet fulfilled the creation of a culture of life, which St. John Paul II described in “Evangelium Vitae.” We have yet to change hearts and minds, to help others see that life is truly a gift.

“It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop,” St. John Paul II wrote. “A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized. Only respect for life can be the foundation and guarantee of the most precious and essential goods of society, such as democracy and peace.”

Over the course of these past months, we have seen firsthand the support of “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service,” a national initiative to draw attention to resources available to pregnant mothers in need. The initiative has helped parishes to communicate the support services available to women who are thinking about whether to carry their child to term.

The archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate, continues to also provide resources with the goal of establishing a culture of life, recognizing the inherent dignity of each human person, and focusing on four pillars: education, public policy, spiritual support and pastoral care.

“We have given voice to the preborn in the many pregnancy centers and houses of support for women and men who have chosen to give their children the opportunity to be born, cherishing our most precious gift from God,” Archbishop Rozanski said in the homily at the annual Roe vs. Wade memorial Mass Jan. 16 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

In 48 years, more than 60 million lives have been ended by abortion. “It is an affront to the great privilege that has been bestowed on our human race by God to be able to procreate human life in our world,” Archbishop Rozanski said. “Each life is indeed precious, created in the image and likeness of God, adding his or her own gifts, talents and abilities to enrich our human race.”

We are being called to remain strong in our resolve to end abortion and build a culture of life in this nation. And that work starts with us.

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