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Editorial | We care, and we act

Pro-life advocates reach out to women and children in need

It bears repeating once more. Pro-life advocates care about more than unborn lives — with the outreach by Catholics and the Catholic Church providing prime examples.

Following President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, a familiar cry rose again from abortion advocates — that pro-life advocates do not support efforts to care for women and children in need.

Are you kidding?

Historian Daniel K. Williams, in his book “Defenders of the Unborn,” points out that way before the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, opponents of abortion believed it is the government’s duty to protect the unborn alongside the poor and weak. Led by Catholics, they viewed the cause for life as a crusade for human rights, the same argument that supports social programs for the poor and a living wage for workers. The papal encyclical “Rerum Novarum, (On Capital and Labor)” — known for its defense of workers to form unions — makes it clear that all are bound to the preservation of life, and poor and vulnerable people have a special place.

The dignity of the human person is a central theme that runs throughout Catholic social teaching. This principle asserts human life is sacred and must be preserved from conception through natural death, and that each person possesses a basic dignity that comes from God. Therefore, the test of every institution or policy is whether it enhances or threatens human life and human dignity.

For example, Good Shepherd Family and Children’s Services, a Catholic Charities of St. Louis agency, has an expectant parent program that works with pregnant women in crisis to provide counseling, resources and aid to ensure that babies are born healthy and that the mother and her children get the best possible start in life. The agency has a foster care program that provides case management and resource development aimed at healing and reuniting families and connecting severely abused and neglected youth with permanent loving homes. Adoption services place infants for adoption and serve families seeking to adopt. A maternity care program provides shelter, food, counseling, life skills and parent training, medical and educational support and supervision for pregnant and/or parenting teens and young adults and their children who have nowhere else to go.

This is just one example. Marygrove, another Catholic Charities agency, helps children, teens and young adults learn how to move beyond an abusive past or overcome other life challenges. Six additional agencies in St. Louis go to bat for families and individuals in need.

Then there’s the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and its volunteers. The St. Louis Review recently reported on efforts of the Catholic lay organization providing person-to-person service to all in need. At the St. Charles Borromeo Parish conference, working with the St. Louis office and others, the volunteers overcame obstacles to secure an apartment for a pregnant woman and her four children who faced homelessness.

Sounds a lot like they care for women and children in need.

So, pro-life advocates, let’s continue — even increase — our support of these efforts. Abortion proponents need only open their eyes to see how much we care for the poor and weak.

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