October is Respect Life Month, during which Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and around the nation highlight their witness to the dignity of every human life.
While this month draws attention to the sacredness of every human life, from the moment of conception until natural death, we are called to support a culture that values life every day.
Unfortunately, because of the pervasive acceptance of abortion in this nation, more than 62 million abortions have occurred since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Lives remain at stake, with public policy efforts to enshrine abortion in the United States, including the U.S. House’s passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would establish the legal right to abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy in all 50 states under federal law. The Senate version is not expected to pass, but the measure does send a message about the outrage some have felt about a new Texas law banning abortion after six weeks, supporters said.
In December, oral arguments are expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in an appeal from Mississippi to keep its ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. And in Missouri, a federal appeals court is considering whether Missouri can implement a sweeping law that would further limit abortions. The Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act (HB 126) would ban abortions at about the eighth week of pregnancy, and prohibit abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis.
We are called to stand up against the evil of abortion by supporting public policy and legislation that respects the sanctity of life. At the same time, it is equally important that we build a culture that considers abortion as unthinkable. We must be willing to support women and men in making life-affirming decisions for their unborn babies.
To that end, the archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate has expanded its inventory of local resources to include areas focused on pre-conception, pre-birth and after the birth of a child. A series of brochures, business cards and website are being planned for 2022. Working in collaboration with parish respect life committees and pro-life community partners, the Respect Life Apostolate said it’s part of a continued response to the U.S. bishops’ Walking with Moms In Need initiative, to serve pregnant and parenting mothers.
As Catholics, we have a definitive role in proclaiming the Gospel of Life. Human life is a gift from God and is sacred and inviolable. It is the presentation of human life as a life of relationship, a gift of God, the fruit and sign of His love. Through our relationship with Jesus, we should be able to see the dignity and face of Christ in every person, and in turn, to cherish and protect life.