The bishops of Illinois’ six Catholic dioceses gathered in Springfield on March 28 to speak out against a bill that would define abortion as a basic right and remove a law requiring parents of minors seeking it. abort are informed.
“It’s not about the right to abortion, although we question that,” Cardinal Cupich said. “It’s a radical departure from the status quo that goes way beyond Roe v Wade.”
One of the two bills would define abortion as a fundamental right and stipulate that embryos and fetuses would have no independent rights. It would also remove protections for doctors and other health care providers who refuse to participate in abortions because it violates their conscience and would require Illinois private health insurance to fully cover the costs of abortions.
Cardinal Cupich said the bills were an attack on the dignity of human life.
“The state and its leaders have not only a responsibility but also a vested interest in upholding the sanctity and value of every human life,” he said. “Everywhere we turn today, we encounter increasing efforts to treat the lives of men, women and children as mere means to achieve larger and supposedly more important goals. Those in need of health care are told it is a privilege they should be able to afford, and those in declining health are seen as less worthy of continued care. Global markets are growing for human trafficking and for the sale of human organs by those who, desperate of poverty, risk death to provide food and shelter for their families.
“In my town innocent children and adults are dying almost daily on our streets due to gun violence from those who consider human life cheap, encouraged by those who place their right to profit from the sale. weapons above the right to life of our neighbors. . And in terrorism we see the chilling claim that it is legitimate to kill innocent men, women and children for political ends and revenge.
“It is in this context that we must view this bill as the latest attack on human dignity, motivated by the dominant cultural ethic which asserts that the lives of unborn children have no value and have no sacred value when compared to the wishes and needs of others.
The press conference was hosted by the Catholic Conference of Illinois, the public policy arm of the church in that state, and also included an obstetrician-gynecologist and neonatal intensive care nurse from Catholic hospitals in Illinois and a representative of Catholic charities in the diocese. from Joliet.
Dr Jillian Stalling, obstetrician-gynecologist at OSF HealthCare in Peoria, said she was shocked by the contents of the bills.
“As physicians, we take an oath to do no harm,” said Stallings, director of the Illinois Medical Association and a member of the Illinois Catholic Healthcare Association. “We offer patients an objective treatment plan based on medical training and scientific testing. However, it is a long-standing practice to respect the conscientious rights of physicians when asked to perform a morally objectionable procedure. … I like taking care of women and giving birth. If this bill passes, I will not leave the medical profession and abandon women who need good health care. But I will refuse to participate in an abortion.
MaryBeth Miller, nurse manager at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, said that in her more than 30 years of working in neonatal intensive care, she has seen advances in medicine and technology enabling premature babies more and more young people to survive and flourish.
“I am amazed at how much the proposed legislation goes beyond the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v Wade when it categorically declares that an embryo or fetus has no independent rights,” Miller said. . “The infants I care for every day are tiny human beings. They are watching you; they pull their heels back, wince, or cry when responding to pain; and they calm down when you hold them and they hear their mother’s voice. They have had their own temperament and personality from the very beginning.
Joy Newburn, a Catholic Charities outreach support specialist in the Diocese of Joliet, said she was there to remind people that Catholic Charities is ready to help families who may be facing unplanned pregnancies.
“Our mission is simple: we’re here to help you when life gets tough and offer you tough choices like an unexpected pregnancy. If we can’t help you, we know someone who can, ”Newburn said.
“Our services reflect our Catholic faith in action to support the family,” she added. “We connect pregnant women with prenatal and postpartum education and support, such as diapers, baby clothes and child rearing classes. As children get older, they can enroll in our daycare or head start programs. When they enter Kindergarten to Grade 12, we host an annual Back-to-School Fair that features medical, dental and visual exams, as well as haircuts, book bags, school supplies and clothing.
The bishops declined to answer questions on other matters.