What did Pope John Paul II Ask the bishops to do about abortion?

While reviewing the Pope’s infallible encyclical on the Gospel of Life I found a reference to a letter that he sent to all the world’s Catholic bishops: Letter to all my Brothers in the Episcopate regarding the “Gospel of Life” (19 May 1991).

The letter is a clear call to pursue personhood as a way to educate people about the evil of abortion and bring about a culture of life. It is a must read for Catholics who want their bishops to take some action on abortion:

Following the recent Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals which was held in April, the Holy Father addressed a letter to each Bishop throughout the world concerning the inviolability of the right to life. The text of the letter, which was signed on Pentecost, the feast of the Holy Spirit, “the Giver of life”, was published by the Holy See on Friday, 21 June.

Venerable and dear Brother in the Episcopate,

The recent extraordinary consistory of cardinals, held April 4-7 in the Vatican, included a broad and detailed discussion on the threat to human life, and concluded with a unanimous vote: The cardinals asked the pope to “solemnly reaffirm in a document (the majority of cardinals proposed an encyclical) the value of human life and its inviolability in the light of present circumstances and the attacks which threaten it today.”

As you will note from the summary which will be sent to you by the pro-secretary of state, a striking picture emerged from the reports and the work of the consistory. In the context of the numerous and violent attacks against human life today, especially when it is weakest and most defenseless, statistical data point to a veritable “slaughter of the innocents” on a worldwide scale. A source of particular concern, however, is the fact that people’s moral conscience appears frighteningly confused and they find it increasingly difficult to perceive the clear and definite distinction between good and evil in matters concerning the fundamental value of human life.

However serious and disturbing the phenomenon of the widespread destruction of so many human lives, either in the womb or in old age, no less serious and disturbing is the blunting of the moral sensitivity of people’s consciences. Laws and civil ordinances not only reflect this confusion but they also contribute to it. When legislative bodies enact laws that authorize putting innocent people to death and states allow their resources and structures to be used for these crimes, individual consciences, oft en poorly formed, are all the more easily led into error. In order to break this vicious circle, it seems more urgent than ever that we should forcefully reaffirm our common teaching, based on sacred Scripture and tradition, with regard to the inviolability of innocent human life.

The centenary of the encyclical Rerum Novarum which the church is celebrating this year suggests an analogy to which I would like to draw everyone’s attention. Just as a century ago it was the working classes which were oppressed in their fundamental rights, and the church courageously came to their defense by proclaiming the sacrosanct rights of that worker as person, so now, when another category of persons is being oppressed in the fundamental right to life, the church feels in duty bound to speak out with the same courage on behalf of those who have no voice. Hers is always the evangelical cry in defense of the world’s poor, those who are threatened and despised and whose human rights are violated.

The church intends not only to reaffirm the right to life — the violation of which is an offense against the human person and against God the Creator and Father, the loving source of all life — but she also intends to devote herself ever more fully to concrete defense and promotion of this right. The church feels called to this by her Lord. From Christ she receives the “Gospel of life” and feels responsible for its proclamation to every creature. Even at the price of going against the trend, she must proclaim that Gospel courageously and fearlessly, in word and deed, to individuals, peoples and states.

It is precisely this fidelity to Christ the Lord which in this area too is the church’s law and her strength. The new evangelization, which is a fundamental pastoral necessity in today’s world, cannot neglect the proclamation of the inviolable right to life which belongs to every person from the moment of conception until life’s natural end.

At the same time the church also feels called to express, through this proclamation and active witness, her esteem and love for man. She addresses herself to the heart of every person — non-believer as well as believer — because she realized that the gift of life is such a fundamental value that anyone can understand and appreciate its significance, even in the light of reason alone. In the recent encyclical Centesimus Annus, I recalled the church’s esteem for the democratic system, which enables all citizens to participate in political life, but I also insisted that a true democracy can only be established on the basis of a consistent recognition of the rights of each individual (cf. 46-47).

Having meditated and prayed to the Lord, I decided to write to you personally, my dear brother bishop, in order to share with you the concern caused by this major problem, and above all in order to ask your help and cooperation, in a spirit of episcopal collegiality, in facing the serious challenge constituted by the present threats and attacks against human life.

All of us, as pastors of the Lord’s flock, have a grave responsibility to promote respect for human life in our dioceses. In addition to making public declarations at every opportunity, we must exercise particular vigilance with regard to the teaching being given in our seminaries and in Catholic schools and universities. As pastors we must be watchful in ensuring that practices followed in Catholic hospitals and clinics are fully consonant with the nature of such institutions. As our means permit, we must also support projects such as those which seek to offer practical help to women or families experiencing difficulties or to assist the suffering and especially the dying. Moreover, we must encourage scientific reflection and legislative or political initiatives which would counter the prevalent “death mentality.”

Through the coordinated action of all the bishops and the renewed pastoral commitment which will result, the church intends to contribute, through the civilization of truth and love, to an ever fuller and more radical establishment of that “culture of life” which constitutes the essential prerequisite for the humanization of our society.

May the Holy Spirit, “the Lord and giver of life,” fill us with his gifts, and may Mary, the virgin mother who gave birth to the author of life, be at our side in this responsibility.

From the Vatican, 19 May, the Solemnity of Pentecost, in the year 1991.





—  Governor Huckabee Endorses Personhood Initiative in Colorado —

— Huckabee:  “(A)nother victory in the battle to protect those who cannot protect themselves.” —


DENVER, COLORADO (25 Feburary 2008) – Colorado for Equal Rights today announced the endorsement of U.S. Presidential hopeful Governor Mike Huckabee for the proposed Colorado Human Life  Amendment seeking to get on the ballot in November.


“I support the Colorado Human Life Amendment because this proposed constitutional amendment will define a person as a human being from the moment life begins at conception,” stated Governor Huckabee. 


Huckabee spoke earlier last week in favor of the personhood initiative,


“With this amendment, Colorado has an opportunity to send a clear message that every human life has value,” continued Huckabee.  “Passing this amendment will mean the people of Colorado will protect the sanctity of life from conception until natural death occurs. Passing this amendment would be another victory in the battle to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”


“National leaders are now recognizing how revolutionary personhood really is,” stated Kristi Burton, who initiated the Human Life Amendment as a small grassroots organization.  “That national pro-life leaders such as Huckabee are taking notice is an amazing boost to our petition gathering efforts.  It sends a clear message to pro-life activists that we are one step closer towards personhood in Colorado.”


Colorado for Equal Rights is a statewide grassroots organization of committed pro-life activists.  Colorado for Equal Rights is sponsoring the Human Life Amendment to the Colorado Constitution, stating “(t)he term “Person” or “Persons” shall include any human from the time of fertilization.”  The Human Life Amendment initiative is currently working to gather petition signatures to appear on the November 2008 ballot. 

For Interviews, please contact Kristi Burton at 719-661-8827

For more information, please contact Keith Mason at 720.341.1892 or via e-mail at coloradoforequalrights@gmail.com.




Colorado for Equal Rights:



Now that we know that pro-lifers are going to have the same old same old choice in the national presidential election: really really bad verging on communist candidate vs. disinterested in the whole pro-life thing candidate. Why don’t we focus our collective pro-life attention on at least talking about the right things during election time, like legal rights of the preborn babies.

Why do corporations get to enjoy the protections of legal personhood but not preborn babies?

Why are there laws protecting the bodies of dead people against desecration, but not the bodies of preborn people against mutilation?

Why did 1800’s Americans (you know the ones who actually ratified the 14th amendment that protects persons against crimes) also pass abortion laws that showed they believed the preborn to be persons and abortion an evil?

Go here to learn more about the Colorado for Equal Rights personhood campaign.

There are so many great questions, but we can’t ask them because a group of people and interest groups, which we call the incrementalists, don’t want us to divert our attention from partial birth abortion and parental consent.

I propose this pro-life manifesto.

It is agreed that:

Incrementalist pro-lifers seek to act upon the consensus that abortion is available much too widely and seek to pass laws to control under what circumstances an abortion is performed. Incerementalists don’t seek to do away with the motherly imposed death penalty on the preborn, they seek to be judges that can approve or dissaprove of the abortion based on societally acceptable norms.*

Principled pro-lifers seek to have our civil and criminal law reflect the belief that the life that God gave all of us at the moment of fertilization should not be taken from innocent people by anyone for any reason, no matter what the public thinks.

If we acknowledge those two maxims, then we should be fine. Incrementalisms want to bring a certain process to the killing, and principled pro-lifers want to end it.

Incrementalists shouldn’t attack principled pro-lifers for seeking to end abortion, and principled pro-lifers should not attack incrementalists for seeking to limit abortion. Intellectual honesty would be a very welcome thing to the pro-life community though. Incrementalists should acknowledge that the attainment of their goals will leave very large chunks of the population without rights. They should also acknowledge that their intellectual capital will run out and that they will not be able to mount a principled argument after having adopted the flawed logic that incrementalism requires.

Principled pro-lifers should admit that they are the mustard seed. Principled pro-lifers don’t stand a chance in a society that venerates the culture of death, but with the help of God, principled pro-lifers will be able to change the society, whereas incrementalists will only be able to cater to the ever lower common denominator. Right now principled pro-lifers couldn’t win a school board election, much less any legislative or executive change that would actually forbid abortion. Principled pro-lifers need a miracle and should pray for one, incrementalists would not know it even if the miracle came to them …

And finally one question for the incrementalists: how does incrementalism help the down syndrome babies, the children of rape and incest, and those who put their mom’s health in danger? Do they really think that picking the battles based on where the population is at is going to make the population change their views, or is it going to make the leaders change theirs?

Here are some cold facts: most Americans (even conservatives) won’t support a law that does not include exceptions, neither will pro-life politicians, nor the major pro-life organizations, including in many sad instances, the Catholic church whose teaching is opposed to all abortion. Do pro-lifers think that by not talking about rape and incest, this inmense majority of Americans is going to someday wake up and tell themselves that they suddenly support laws that force women to carry their rapist’s child? No, no, no. Incrementalism at best will get us to the point where abortion is banned after 24 weeks, or something like that, it has no chance of anything better, because it aspires to nothing better.

*Believing that incremental bills are the one and only way to go makes you an incrementalist, but supporting an incremental bill when it comes along does not.


I thought it would be interesting to give the candidates a pro-abortion score card. NARAL Pro-Choice America gives a grade to each state based on their legislature’s makeup and several other factors like current abortion laws and number of abortion facilities etc. It is a pretty good ranking of liberal vs. conservative populations since abortion is the linchpin of most liberals – not just liberal democrats but also liberal republicans. I believe that the score that each candidate gets is directly correlated to how they will treat the pro-life movement, since their mandate will come from those people who elected them. The higher the pro-abort score the less attention they will pay to pro-lifers. For example, McCain’s constituency consists of mostly liberal pro-abortion states, it is no surprise therefore that he garnered the endorsement of the Republicans for Choice and received NARAL’s highest grade. Romney’s lower grade may be a little bit deceiving since he won two pro-life states based on his religion and his family history (Michigan and Utah.) In general however, his lower grade shows that his constituency is less pro-abortion than McCain’s. The undisputed pro-abortion flunky is Mike Huckabee, his grade might still have been lower had he won Missouri (which he lost by less than one percent) and not won West Virginia, which he won thanks to McCain’s help.

McCain, the front-runner gets the following grades from NARAL:

Arizona(C+), California (A+), Illinois (B-), New York (A-), New Jersey (A-), Oklahoma (F), Connecticut (A), Missouri (by less than 1%) (F), Delaware (C+), Florida(D), South Carolina (F), New Hampshire (A-)

McCain’s total comes out to a 2.31 or the equivalent of a C+

Romney, “the conservative’s conservative” (according to Laura Ingraham et. al.) gets a NARAL gets the following grades:

Massachusetts(B-), Utah(F), Michigan (F), Minnesota (C+), Alaska(A-), Colorado(C-), Montana(A-), North Dakota(F), Main(A), Nevada(A-), Wyoming(D)

Romney’s total comes out to a 1.98, or a solid C.

Huckabee, the church-goer’s candidate received the following grades from NARAL:

Arkansas(F), Georgia(D), Alabama(F), Tennessee(D+), West Virginia (B), Iowa (C+)

Huckabee’s totals come out to a 1.33 or a solid D+
What does this tell us about the makeup of the voting blocks? What does it tell us about the candidate?

Here are my conclusions:

1. McCain will continue to compromise on life when it suits him, for example suing Wisconsin Right to Life to uphold his Campaign Finance Bill or pushing for funding of human embryo destructive research. Who he will appoint to the supreme court only God and John McCain can tell, but I am not confident appointing a pro-lifer will be very high on his list.

2. Romney, even with the incessant and overbearing advocacy of talk radio and the conservative mainstream media was not able to convince pro-lifers that he was their man. Christian conservatives have been taken for granted too many times by candidates who paint themselves in a favorable light to us only to later care little if at all about our issues.

3. Huckabee will have a hard time winning over Romney’s base, since as the grading describes Romney’s base is closer to McCain’s than to Huckabee’s. McCain 2.3, Romney 2.0, Huckabee 1.3. I believe most Romney supporters wanted a winner who spoke like a generalized conservative. Huckabee supporters want a proven Christian conservative. I believe the Romney base will take a while to warm up to McCain, but they will end up following the currently perceived winner – after all Americans, especially conservative Americans, love a winner. The Huckabee followers will follow Huckabee through the primary and only in the general election will they vote for the lesser of two weevils.

4. Out of all conservative talk radio, only Rush understood the Huckabee crowd. We didn’t support Huck because we don’t like Mormons (See. Hugh Hewitt), and we didn’t support Huck because we love illegal immigration and higher taxes. (See all the rest of the talk show hosts), we supported Huck because we are willing to believe he will change his ways on taxes and immigration and remain a pro-life advocate. For too long Christian conservatives have been taken for granted. Our main concern is abortion. We also like lower taxes and the rule of law, but we want the abortion genocide stopped or at least we want to see someone put up a good fight. During the GOP primary we went for the candidate with a proven consistent pro-life record, and that was Mike Huckabee. After all, isn’t it time the mainstream GOP hold their nose for one of ours like we have done for them for 35 years? Rush had it right, the Christian conservatives voted for one of their own, and it all revolves around abortion.

Mitt Romney on Abortion

Mitt Romney has a very visible pro-abortion record. Here are two videos that have been widely circulated on YouTube.
This first one is from a 2002 debate for the governorship of Massachusets. Pretty clear where he stands. What bothers me is that he seems so emotional on the issue of abortion and uses a personal family story to legitimize his long record. In fact it is a multi-generational record as his mother ran on a pro-abortion position for a US Senate seat in 1970, three years before Roe was decided.

This next clip is from Romney’s run for Ted Kennedy’s seat in the US Senate in 1994, it includes a variety of issues, but the abortion responses are chilling.

So the real question is why are pro-lifers supposed to forget this long and proud record while completely disqualifying people like Huckabee, because he gave the children of illegals a shot at merit based scholarships. Give me a break. We are told to judge candidates on their record, that is unless analyzing their record somehow weakens the chances of a fiscal conservative. Mark Levine, went so far as to say that Giuliani is a conservative. I guess for Mark Levine, we pro-lifers are invisible.
Sure Huckabee, is not perfect, and he would need to catch up on a lot of foreign policy, but for a pro-lifer every day is 9/11 and having a reliable record that shows that the candidate understands this is a necessity not a one of a broad list.

McCain on Abortion

I remember that in 1999, when McCain was planning on running against then Governor Bush, he made some statements that showed very clearly his soft, no to say inexistent pro-life position. Here are the quotes:

“I’d love to see a point where it is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary,” McCain told the Chronicle in an article published Friday. “But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.”


On Sunday, on CNN’s “Late Edition,” McCain reiterated that he would not have an abortion “litmus” test for a running mate or Supreme Court nominees. He added that while he ultimately favors repeal of Roe, “we all know, and it’s obvious, that if we repeal Roe v. Wade tomorrow, thousands of young American women would be performing illegal and dangerous operations.”

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/mccain082499.htm

To be fair, John McCain has a 26 year record of semi-consistent pro-life votes (60-75% agreement with NRLC), but on the critical issue of using tax payer funding for human embryonic stem cell research he was dead wrong. It is worth mentioning that NRLC only proposes and only supports legislation that is the equivalent of the low hanging fruit of the pro-life universe of legislation, so having a 60 %’ish record is not all that amazing.
Furthermore, the following quote shows a basic misunderstanding of abortion which would lead me to the conclusion that John McCain is as pro-life as is convenient to him at any given moment. Here’s the quote:

KEYES [to McCain]: What you would say if your daughter was ever in a position where she might need an abortion? You answered [earlier today] that the choice would be up to her and then that you’d have a family conference. That displayed a profound lack of understanding of the basic issue of principle involved in abortion. After all, if your daughter said she was contemplating killing her grandmother for the inheritance, you wouldn’t say, “Let’s have a family conference.” You’d look at her and say “Just Say No,” because that is morally wrong. It is God’s choice that that child is in the womb. And for us to usurp that choice in contradiction of our declaration of principles is just as wrong.

McCAIN: I am proud of my pro-life record in public life, and I will continue to maintain it. I will not draw my children into this discussion. As a leader of a pro-life party with a pro-life position, I will persuade young Americans [to] understand the importance of the preservation of the rights of the unborn.

Source: (X-ref from Keyes) GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

Is this a man we pro-lifers can vote for?  If he wins the nomination pro-lifers will be given that proverbial lesser of two evils choice yet again.  Stay tuned for my analysis on the other possible GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Dramatic Improvement in Survival Rates for Premature Babies Published

The survival rates for the most premature babies have more than doubled in the last 20 years at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH).

For babies born alive between 22 and 25 weeks of gestation, survival rates increased from 32% in 1981 to 71% in 2000, the research found.

Source: http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5iRcTmpkazueH9GCvEJc1WUPOY1aQ