Vatican Official: US Abortion Decision ‘Challenges the Whole World’ to Protect Human Life
‘The fact that a large country with a long democratic tradition has changed its position on this issue,’ said the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, ‘also challenges the whole world’
VATICAN CITY — The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life has said today’s historic Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade “is a powerful invitation” to reflect on the “serious and urgent issue” of human life and the conditions that make it possible.
In comments that concluded a Pontifical Academy statement sent to the media, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia observed that as Western society “is losing its passion for life, this act is a powerful invitation to reflect together on the serious and urgent issue of human generativity and the conditions that make it possible; by choosing life, our responsibility for the future of humanity is at stake.”
The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision, made public on June 24, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion a constitutional right, along with the subsequent Casey decision that reaffirmed it in 1991.
The ruling means that it is now up to states to decide if they wish to restrict or outright ban abortion at any point during a pregnancy, as was the case before Roe v. Wade federalized the issue.
In its statement on today’s decision, the Academy said it joined the U.S. bishops and their emphasis on healing, dialogue and support for mothers.
“It is a time for healing wounds and repairing social divisions,” the U.S. bishops said in a section of their statementquoted by the Academy. “It is a time for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue, and for coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into this world in love.”
“The Court’s opinion shows how the issue of abortion continues to arouse heated debate,” the Pontifical Academy stated, adding that the “fact that a large country with a long democratic tradition has changed its position on this issue also challenges the whole world.
“It is not right that the problem is set aside without adequate overall consideration,” the Academy continued. “The protection and defense of human life is not an issue that can remain confined to the exercise of individual rights but instead is a matter of broad social significance. After 50 years, it is important to reopen a non-ideological debate on the place that the protection of life has in a civil society to ask ourselves what kind of coexistence and society we want to build.”
The Academy said it is a “question of developing political choices that promote conditions of existence in favor of life without falling into a priori ideological positions.” It added that that also means “ensuring adequate sexual education, guaranteeing health care accessible to all, and preparing legislative measures to protect the family and motherhood, overcoming existing inequalities.
“We need solid assistance to mothers, couples and the unborn child that involves the whole community, encouraging the possibility for mothers in difficulty to carry on with the pregnancy and to entrust the child to those who can guarantee the child’s growth,” the Academy statement said.
It is not clear if the Vatican will be issuing any further statement on today’s historic news. The Register has asked the Holy See Press Office and American Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life for comment, but they have not yet responded.