Bible and Abortion

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Bible and Abortion

Post by Orlion »

My philosopher teacher just pointed this out: Here's his original message:
I understand that most opposition to abortion rights is religious in nature but where in the Bible is this prohibition located? There are passages suggestive of an endorsement of abortion - particularly NUMBERS 5:11 and EXODUS 21:22 suggests that the killing of a fetus is not equivalent to the killing of a person but a matter of lesser importance. So where exactly is the prohibition found?
My question: are these comparable with abortion? Is the Numbers scripture an actual example of divinely sanctioned abortion? By all means, I just what a myraid of opinions on the matter, then we can turn it into discussion...

Here are the following scripture, for those who may not have easy access (King James Version):
Exodus 21 wrote: 22 ¶ If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
Numbers 5 wrote:11 ¶ And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
12 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,
13 And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner;
14 And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:
15 Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.
16 And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord:
17 And the priest shall take aholy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:
18 And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:
19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:
20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband:
21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The Lord make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to arot, and thy belly to swell;
22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.
23 And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:
24 And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.
25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the offering before the Lord, and offer it upon the altar:
26 And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.
27 And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.
28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.
29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;
30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.
31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.
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Post by lucimay »

not trying to throw a wrench in the works but thats all OLD testament.
what does the NEW COVENANT say about abortion?

isn't the new testament supposed to be a new covenant with god?
doesn't that therefore mean that the old laws are trumped by the
new laws?

just askin. :)
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Re: Bible and Abortion

Post by Rawedge Rim »

Orlion wrote:My philosopher teacher just pointed this out: Here's his original message:
I understand that most opposition to abortion rights is religious in nature but where in the Bible is this prohibition located? There are passages suggestive of an endorsement of abortion - particularly NUMBERS 5:11 and EXODUS 21:22 suggests that the killing of a fetus is not equivalent to the killing of a person but a matter of lesser importance. So where exactly is the prohibition found?
My question: are these comparable with abortion? Is the Numbers scripture an actual example of divinely sanctioned abortion? By all means, I just what a myraid of opinions on the matter, then we can turn it into discussion...

Here are the following scripture, for those who may not have easy access (King James Version):
Exodus 21 wrote: 22 ¶ If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
Numbers 5 wrote:11 ¶ And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
12 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,
13 And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner;
14 And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:
15 Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.
16 And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord:
17 And the priest shall take aholy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:
18 And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:
19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:
20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband:
21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The Lord make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to arot, and thy belly to swell;
22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.
23 And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:
24 And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.
25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the offering before the Lord, and offer it upon the altar:
26 And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.
27 And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.
28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.
29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;
30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.
31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.
Certainly the Exodus passage isn't about the support for abortion. It does suggest that a fetus wasn't considered quite the same as a person outside the womb for legal purposes. However it does impose possible penalties for hurting a fetus, as determined by the womans husband and the judges.

Numbers on the other hand, is a tougher read, and looks a lot like some of the things that used to be in the "Witch's Hammer" for determining is a woman was a witch. Essentially it appears to state that if the woman has only been with her husband, then the offering won't hurt her or the child, whereas if she has strayed, then it will probably induce and abortion, and cause fairly grievious harm to her.

It certainly could be read to say that under certain circumstances that it is preferable for the child to not be born.
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Post by Dromond »

Hosea 13:16 is an interesting verse as regards this topic.

Whichever Bible you look at, it ain't pretty.
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Post by Orlion »

lucimay wrote:not trying to throw a wrench in the works but thats all OLD testament.
what does the NEW COVENANT say about abortion?

isn't the new testament supposed to be a new covenant with god?
doesn't that therefore mean that the old laws are trumped by the
new laws?

just askin. :)
Fair question, it depends on how you view the bible. First, though I do not remember where it is at, Jesus said something along the lines that he was around to fulfill the law, not (replace?) it...not having a bible on me or the text, I could be remembering this wrong. But I think the main problem is the following:

The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament (the specifics of this may be different, but this generality is legit). It is said that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and does not change. Allowing abortions, therefore, in the Old Covenant, and then not doing so would be a complete change of opinion (divine though it may be) on the manner.
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Post by Cybrweez »

Well, change isn't necessarily a reflection of divinity or perfection. For instance, incest was ok in the beginning, not until Moses did God outlaw it (you know, b/c the gene pool was ok until that time, by then, too risky for procreation). So, a change in anything may have a legit reason. However, I wouldn't say that anywhere in the New Testament is there the idea that the Hebrew Scriptures have diminished in any way. Jesus said not one jot or tittle of the Scriptures would pass away, and of course, only the Old Testament existed when he said so.
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Post by rusmeister »

Hi guys! I'll be as brief as I can; I'm still feeling overwhelmed, esp. with the new baby (#4).

Really, the answer to all of this is easy. Of course the Bible doesn't mention abortion. It is a modern euphemism. It does, however, mention killing.

The question really is, what is human life? If it is alive, then to destroy it is to kill it. So, what is human?

The modern attempt to draw the distinction at birth (exit from the mother's womb) is clearly self-deceptive. There are a number of things the baby does not have and cannot do before birth, and likewise after birth. A human remains helpless for years and in constant need of care. Would that give us the right to kill them? There is no objective point at which we can say "a person is finished" and now a "valid person". We are in a state of constant growth. This is as apparent before birth as after. It is clear that the reference to birth is arbitrary as applied to one's humanity.

Thus, all talk of "choice" and "freedom" becomes a smokescreen, which avoids the moral issue of killing the small human - maintaining that it is somehow not human. This eventually lead to the birth of a term which avoids the idea of killing - "abortion". Now we no longer have to talk about killing. Now we can pretend that we are engaging in some minor cosmetic procedure. We are only 'stopping', not 'killing', and the word lets us think that. (A general problem of modern euphemisms.)

If an act is morally wrong, no subsequent act based on choice (such as women dying from 'coat-hangar' abortions) can make that act less wrong. It is the evasion/denial of this initial moral evil that has brought us to social disagreement today. If it is true that abortion is the taking of human life, then all talk of the choice of the adult is nonsense, so that is what the supporters of "abortion" must desperately deny, no matter how self-contradictory they become in doing so.

(Not that any of this matters if people cannot agree on a basis for moral authority. Such a state must eventually lead to anarchy or civil war, imo.)
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Post by The Dreaming »

The ancient world was a pretty dirty place. Even the most strict orthodox Jew doesn't take the entire levitical code to seriously, there is some nasty stuff in there.

These rules were designed for, let's face it, a completely different world and human experience. Modern life makes all kinds of pesky modern ethical dilemmas. The church is, in my opinion, a little foolish to try and take the ancient Jewish laws and apply them to the uniquely modern problem of legal, institutionalized abortion.

There are principles behind religion that are greater than the literal interpretation of scripture. One of the things I like about rus and about orthodoxy is their emphasis on the core wonders of religion's take on the human experience. The idea of harmony with our fellow man and harmony with a higher, benevolent, loving force that unites us all.

When you see morality that way, the path becomes a little clearer. Most of the problems come from constantly re-defining what we mean by the biblical "neighbor". Is an infant our "neighbor", our fellow man, before exiting the womb? Catholic tradition says yes, life begins at conception. It's not really directly supported by scripture, more so by millennia of theological and philosophical thought. Even with everything we know about human biology, the question of when humanity begins, and even what humanity *is* remains a thorny mystery. Conception is the prudent call. Catholic moral tradition is usually about making the "prudent" call. No member of the Catholic hierarchy claims to know the criterion by which god parses out salvation or damnation, we have only a series of our best educated guesses. Scripture is a great tool in trying to figure this stuff out, but it's hardly the only tool we need. Our minds, for one, remain an excellent tool.
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Re: Bible and Abortion

Post by Linna Heartbooger »

Hey Orlion, more good conversation-starters... thanks! I think that the rusmeister summarized roughly where the prohibition comes from, for many of us with a Christian worldview. Now to pick away at the details and the passages...
Rawedge Rim wrote:Certainly the Exodus passage isn't about the support for abortion.
Thank you! I am always stunned when people question whether abortion is sanctioned by the Bible based on a passage that is about something different - accidental harm caused to a pregnant mother.
Rawedge Rim wrote:It does suggest that a fetus wasn't considered quite the same as a person outside the womb for legal purposes. However it does impose possible penalties for hurting a fetus, as determined by the womans husband and the judges.
Actually, I don't think we can necessarily make that assessment. (even though it totally sounds reasonable on the surface!) I think the matter MIGHT be more concerned with the amount of responsibility laid upon the man who causes the harm. Here's the passage again:
Exodus 21 wrote:22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
If a guy punches a woman in the eye or knocks her unconscious, he can SEE what he's doing when he does it... he can know what consequences the force of a blow is likely to have to the woman herself. Wheras a pregnancy will usually be all-or-nothing. :(

I mean, the intention of the guy was explicitly stated as being "to fight with another guy," not to hurt the woman or child.

For comparison, here's a passage - from the same chapter - about something that is NOT a hot-button issue in the first world today. Oxen goring people. :lol: It's got some of the same characteristics - it talks about the penalty for unintentional harm that a person is in some way responsible for causing, but didn't see at the time.
Exodus 21:28-29 wrote:When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner of the ox shall not be liable. But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.
(I just love the level of detail of the Law on the ox-goring passage. So practical!)
Dromond wrote:Hosea 13:16 is an interesting verse as regards this topic.

Whichever Bible you look at, it ain't pretty.
Ugh, I agree that what's being described isn't pretty!

Tell me what you think about this based on the context, Dromond. Do you think that the speaker is intending to describe acceptable, God-sanctioned acts? ...or tolerable, "oh-well-thats-how-things-go-some-days-in-this-world" acts? ...or horrific and abominable acts?
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Post by [Syl] »

www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599, ... orld-yahoo
A Sequel to the Case of the Pregnant 9-Year Old
The Catholic Church (and Pope Benedict XVI) were presented with a public-relations powder keg in March when news broke that a 9-year-old Brazilian girl underwent an abortion after she'd been raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather. Catholics from São Paulo to Paris were outraged by the swift public declaration of the local Archbishop, José Cardoso Sobrinho, that the girl's family as well as the doctors who performed the abortion were automatically excommunicated.
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Post by aliantha »

Yeesh. I guess it's good for the Church that the Pope is being consistent.... Not surprised that they tried to bury the ruling, tho.
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Bible and Abortion

Post by Wosbald »

+JMJ+

New Mexico’s bishops ‘shudder’ at prospect of ‘satanic’ abortion clinic
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NEW YORK — Facing both a pro-abortion bill and the arrival of a self-described “satanic” abortion clinic, New Mexico’s bishops, shuddering at the thought of what more might be coming, are pleading with the state’s citizens to protect the sanctity of life.

Recently New Mexico has become the latest Democrat-led state to work towards expanding abortion rights after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last summer removed a federal abortion standard and left it up to the states to decide.

Meanwhile, the new abortion clinic, named the “Samuel Alito’s Mom’s Satanic Abortion Clinic,” is part of the Massachusetts-based “The Satanic Temple” reproductive rights organization. Recognized as a tax-exempt religious organization by the IRS, the organization seeks to expand access to medical abortions and conducts its own abortion ritual, according to its website.

Donations to the organization are tax-deductible, and may be made in amounts up to $666 using its website.

It’s unclear what the group’s “Religious Abortion Ritual” exactly entails. The organization describes it as a “protective rite,” the purpose of which is to “cast off unwanted feelings that a patient may be experiencing due to choosing to have a legal and medically safe abortion.”

In essence, it’s a ritual to reassure pregnant women that their decision to get an abortion is the right one.

[…]

The state’s bishops were quick to condemn the initiative.

“The last thing we need in our state is a satanic temple from Massachusetts to offer free ‘reproductive health’ services,” New Mexico’s bishops said in a joint Feb. 7 statement. “We shudder to think what the ‘Religious Abortion Ritual’ that they require is all about.”

The statement also commented on “New Mexico House Bill 7: Reproductive & Gender-affirming Health Care.”

The bill, recently approved by the state’s Health and Human Services Committee, would mandate that public bodies — including state and local governments and school districts — not “restrict or interfere with a person’s ability to access” both reproductive health care and gender affirming care.

The New Mexico bishops focused on what it would mean for schools.

“It will force school teachers to facilitate abortions and even promote transgender surgeries among school children,” the bishops stated. “It is, in fact, the most radical bill of its kind in the nation and continues New Mexico’s penchant for rejecting the most vulnerable and weak among us.”

The statement was signed by Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, Bishop Peter Baldacchino of Las Cruces, Bishop James wall of Gallup, New Mexico Conference of Bishops executive director Allen Sánchez, and other staff members.

In it, they described the House bill as “satanic.”

“This bill is neither about care nor freedom, for it denies essential truths about God’s plan for humanity and seeks to supplant God’s vision with the lies and shackles of the evil one,” the statement reads.

The Catholic leaders asked the faithful to continue their pro-life advocacy.

“We, the Catholic Bishops of New Mexico, want to encourage all the faithful of the State of New Mexico, and indeed all men and women of goodwill, to continue to pray and work for a complete end to abortion in our state and in our nation, and for a thorough conversion of hearts to the Gospel of Life,” they said.
Last edited by Wosbald on Sat Apr 08, 2023 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Post by Skyweir »

I think that may be an overreaction from the NM Bishops that is …

From my understanding the TST is a secular, non theistic organisation
The Satanic Temple has utilized satire, theatrical ploys, humor, and legal action in their public campaigns to "generate attention and prompt people to reevaluate fears and perceptions", and to "highlight religious hypocrisy and encroachment on religious freedom."
Of course the choice of self-descriptor must surely be provocative … but that probably part of their point.
The Satanic Temple does not believe in a supernatural Satan; instead it employs the literary Satan as a metaphor to promote pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity.
They seek to flag their view of the inviolability of the body ~ and the issue with mandating full-term pregnancy.
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Bible and Abortion

Post by Wosbald »

+JMJ+

Michigan Catholic Conference laments new abortion legislation
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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer holds up signed legislation that repeals the 1931 abortion ban statute, which criminalized abortion in nearly all cases during a bill signing ceremony, Wednesday, April 5, 2023, in Birmingham, Mich. The abortion ban, which fueled one of the largest ballot drives in state history, had been unenforceable after voters enshrined abortion rights in the state constitution last November. (Credit: Carlos Osorio/AP)

NEW YORK — After Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation to repeal Michigan’s century old abortion ban on April 5, the state’s Catholic conference warned that the legislation does more than people realize.

Whitmer’s signature to House Bill 4006 repealed a 1931 law that made abortion a felony in all cases, except when “necessary to preserve the life of such woman.” The move answers a call of Michigan voters, who came out in record numbers last year to advocate for abortion liberalization.

What the Michigan Catholic Conference claims voters may not realize, however, is that Whitmer’s signature to House Bill 4006 paved the way for her to sign House Bill 4032 and Senate Bill 2, which removes the maximum 15-year felony for an abortion resulting in the death of a woman, and repeals the law that made distributing information on how to perform abortions a misdemeanor, respectively.

“The current legislative majority and Gov. Whitmer’s new abortion policy presents risk and harm for vulnerable women and does not reflect what voters were sold regarding Proposal 3 — that it would just ‘restore Roe v. Wade’ — because under Roe, each of these laws now being repealed served a valid purpose,” said Rebecca Mastee, a Michigan Catholic Conference Policy Advocate.

[…]

Signing House Bill 4006, Whitmer said the state was taking “action to make sure that our statutes and our laws reflect our values and our constitution.” About half of U.S. states have measures in place to protect abortion access, and a number have even expanded abortion since Roe was overturned.

Conversely, a number of states have restricted abortion since Roe was overturned.

The Michigan Catholic Conference maintains that their state should focus on making sure there are support systems in place to help women realize that abortion isn’t their only option.

“We urge public officials to work toward a society where women do not feel that abortion is their only choice when facing a difficult, unplanned, or unwanted pregnancy,” Mastee said. “Lawmakers should focus their efforts on helping women access the resources needed to support themselves and their families before, during and after birth.”


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Bible and Abortion

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+JMJ+

Diocese appeals city’s decision to block a Mass for Life in front of abortion clinic
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Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita celebrates the diocese’s annual Mass for Life. This year’s celebration is up in the air over a dispute of a city permit that allowed the diocese to close a street for the Mass. (Credit: Diocese of Wichita)

NEW YORK — Days after a judge blocked a city permit that would have allowed the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, to close a street for its annual Mass for Life, blocking the entrance to an abortion clinic, a diocesan spokesperson said they hope to make their case to the city council and reschedule the event.

“That’s our hope,” Matthew Vainer, director of communications for the diocese said of holding the Mass in front of the abortion clinic, adding that it’s important to do so because “it’s important for us as Catholics to always believe that the unborn need a voice, so we can hold up their lives.”

The diocese’s Mass for Life was scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7. Two days earlier, the diocese was informed by the city council that more than a third of property owners affected by the street closure had objected, which, according to a city ordinance, requires the matter to go before the city council.

Last month, the abortion clinic, Trust Women, also filed a request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the Mass, which a judge granted Oct. 6 until the city council takes up the matter.

As a result of the objections and judge’s order, Vainer told Crux that the diocese asked for an emergency city council hearing, but that wasn’t accommodated. There is still no date set for the hearing, he said.

In an Oct. 6 statement, the diocese said “it is our hope that we have the opportunity to speak in front of the City Council, as it is important to express our religious liberties by praying in public.”

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[…]

Vainer said the diocese has held the Mass for life on that street for the last six years, except for the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, without issue. The difference this year, he said, is the addition of a new business on the street, which, with Trust Women, accounted for more than a third of property owners, so that both businesses objecting to the Mass was enough to get it at least temporarily stopped.

Trust Women, according to its website, is an organization that provides resources for abortions, gender affirming care, medication assisted treatment, and sexual health services. The other organization, the Strategic Workspace and Event Center, according to its website, offers office space to businesses.

Reached by Crux, the Strategic Workspace and Event Center declined to comment on why it objected to the diocese’s planned Mass for Life. Crux couldn’t reach Trust Women for comment.

Vainer said the diocese generally draws between 100–250 people to the Mass for Life, which is why the street has to be closed. He added there is no set timeline for rescheduling the Mass, but that they’ll figure something else out if not.

“I definitely think there are alternative options,” Vainer said.


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Bible and Abortion

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French bishops call for fasting, prayer as abortion is enshrined in country’s constitution
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The Eiffel Tower lights up with the message "My Body My Choice" in Paris March 4, 2024, after French lawmakers enshrined the right to abortion in the country's constitution during a meeting of the parliament in Versailles. (OSV News photo/Abdul Saboor, Reuters)

PARIS (OSV News) — French bishops called for fasting and prayer as abortion was enshrined in the constitution by an overwhelming 780–72 vote, accompanied by a standing ovation when the result was announced as the parliament met in Versailles.

After several months of legislative process, the French Congress, a special body composed of both chambers of parliament, revised the country’s 1958 constitution to enshrine women’s “guaranteed freedom” to abort in Article 34, making France the first country in the world to explicitly include the right to abortion in its constitution.

French bishops called for “fasting and prayer” in a March 4 statement with the Pontifical Academy for Life releasing its own communique on the same day, saying, “There can be no ‘right’ to end a human life.”

Academy members lamented the debate over the bill in France “did not touch on support mechanisms for those who wish to keep their child” and added that the “protection of human life is humanity’s primary objective, and can only develop in a world free of conflict, where science, technology and industry are at the service of the human person and of fraternity.”

In a statement signed by Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, president of the French bishops’ conference, and vice presidents Archbishop Vincent Jordy of Tours and Bishop Dominique Blanchet of Créteil, the bishops cried out that “of all European countries, even Western Europe, France is the only one where the number of abortions is not decreasing and has even increased over the last two years,” and that France “would have honored itself by instead promoting the rights of women and children.”

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In an online post Oct. 28, 2023, French President Emmanuel Macron said that “in 2024, the right of women to choose abortion will become irreversible.” This followed a promise Macron made March 8, 2023, International Women’s Day, which was seen as a response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022.

In the wake of Congress’s move that French media called “historic,” French bishops said in a Feb. 29 statement that abortion “remains an attack on life from the very beginning,” and “cannot be seen from the sole angle of women’s rights,” regretting that “the debate initiated did not mention support measures for those who would like to keep their child” — argument repeated in the statement issued by Pontifical Academy for Life on March 4.

Several French bishops additionally stressed their anger and expressed the danger for freedom of expression about abortion in their country.

On Feb. 27, Archbishop Olivier de Germay of Lyon pointed out that constructive debate is no longer possible in France on the issue of abortion. “It is becoming difficult to express oneself on this subject without running the risk of becoming a media target,” he said.

With the bill, Archbishop Germay said, France put “the equal dignity of all human life — a principle with constitutional value — and freedom of access to abortion on the same level. How to explain such a contradiction?” he asked.

[…]

Lucie Pacherie, a lawyer for the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, which continues the research of geneticist Jérôme Lejeune on Down syndrome, told OSV News, “The freedom to have an abortion was in fact already constitutionally recognized.”

The threat, she said, is that the Congress has now “placed it at the rank of a supreme constitutional value.”

“This elevated it to a higher level than other freedoms — such as freedom of conscience or freedom of expression — which are only recognized by (statements issued by) the Constitutional Council or in other texts with constitutional value,” she said. Pacherie warned “this will put a greater pressure on those who seek to understand and remedy the often dramatic causes which can lead women to have an abortion.”

In 1958 — same year when the now-updated constitution was passed — Lejeune and two other scientists, Marthe Gautier and Raymond Turpin, discovered the chromosomal anomaly responsible for trisomy 21, known as Down syndrome.

Dismayed to see his discovery used in prenatal diagnosis, and leading to abortions, he campaigned throughout his life for the defense of human life from conception until natural death. St. John Paul II asked Lejeune to become the founding president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He died in 1994, and in 2021 Pope Francis approved the promulgation of a decree on his heroic virtues, declaring Lejeune venerable.

“I am concerned about the taboo that now exists on this issue,” Pacherie added. “The deputies were unable to raise the ethical questions that the medical act of abortion poses, to propose amendments or evoke the conscience clauses for doctors, without being booed. The number of abortion is increasing in France, and it is impossible to debate on this subject,” she echoed the concerns of the bishops.

Archbishop Laurent Ulrich of Paris, speaking on Catholic-run Radio Notre Dame March 2, expressed his “sadness” at seeing “the fact of not transmitting life” promoted as a positive value.

“We guarantee the freedom not to carry a pregnancy to term. But what guarantees do we have that women will have the freedom to make another choice? What support will they have?” he asked.

[…]

“This constitutionalization of abortion is the constitutionalization of a lie,” Pacherie told OSV News. “This lie hides the objective reality of abortion, which regards an unborn child, and a woman in a situation of distress.”

The Pontifical Academy for Life appealed to “all governments and all religious traditions to do their best so that, in this phase of history, the protection of life becomes an absolute priority.”

The French bishops added in their March 4 statement, “As Catholics, we will always have to remain servants of the life of each and every one, from conception to death,” and they prayed that “our fellow citizens will rediscover the taste for life, for giving it, for receiving it, for accompanying it, for having and raising children.”


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Bible and Abortion

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Military archbishop ‘deplores’ plan to permanently provide abortion
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Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, gestures during a Nov. 15, 2022, news conference after being elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during the fall general assembly of the bishops in Baltimore. (Credit: Bob Roller/CNS)

NEW YORK — Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, has called the federal government’s decision to make permanent a policy to provide abortion under certain circumstances “at odds with the notion that the military protects the innocent.”

On March 4, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) permanently amended its medical regulations to remove the exclusion on abortion counseling, and establish exceptions to the exclusion of abortions for those who use the department’s medical benefits package, and for those who are beneficiaries of its Civilian Health and Medical Program.

The policy has been in effect under an interim tag since 2022. The final rule goes into effect on April 3.

“The [U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’] decision is at odds with the notion that the military protects the innocent,” Broglio told Crux in a March 6 statement. “Now, the Department which was established to care for Veterans of the United States Armed Forces through service-related disabilities and retirement, affirms its decision to join what Pope Francis called ‘hit men’ — those who choose ‘to do away with a human life to solve a problem.’ ”

Broglio made clear he was responding to the VA’s decision strictly in his capacity as Archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and not in his capacity as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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Broglio said he “deplores” the VA’s decision.

“The notion that killing an unborn child can somehow be considered ‘medical or surgical care’ certainly violates the dignity of the human person and suggests that some lives are more important than others,” Broglio said. “I deplore this decision that once more removes the right to life for the defenseless and inflicts untold physical and psychological trauma on mothers.”

[…]

In its comments with the final rule, the VA acknowledges that under Section 106 barred abortion provisions, however, adding that fact “did not limit VA’s authority to provide such services under any other statutory provision.” It goes on to explain that for years the department has already relied on other provisions for general pregnancy care and infertility services.

Broglio pushed back on the logic.

“Nonsensically, the Department claims that other statutes, which never mention abortion, create in their silence, a right to abortion, even though abortion is specifically prohibited within the larger statutory scheme for VA health care,” Broglio explained.

Broglio also took aim at the legal rhetoric the department used to justify the decision.

“This bald rhetoric ignores logic and basic tenets of statutory construction, and bellies a relentless ideological pursuit of abortion even when it is plainly contrary to law.”

As it’s written, the final rule does protect those — medical personnel, staff, and others — who have religious, or simply conscience, objections to abortion from adhering to the rule by stating that it “adheres to all applicable Federal laws relating to employee rights and protections, including protections based on an employee’s religious or conscience-based objection to abortion.”

Broglio said he expects this will remain the case.

“It is expected that the Department of Veteran Affairs will at least respect the conscience rights of medical personnel, staff, and other employees and permit them to abstain from any involvement in immoral procedures,” Broglio said.


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Bible and Abortion

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March for Life takes place in Ireland amid ‘soaring’ abortion rates
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March for Life takes place in Dublin, Ireland, on May 6, 2024. (Credit: Pro Life Campaign Ireland)

LEICESTER, United Kingdom — Crowds turned out in the Irish capital Dublin on Monday for the annual March for Life.

EilIs Mulroy of the Pro Life Campaign addressed the event, saying the country’s legalized abortion has sent the numbers of unborn babies being killed in Ireland “soaring.”

British pro-life doctor Calum Miller also spoke at the event.

“If you lose the soul of medicine and make it a profession of killing, if you rob medicine of conscience by expelling those who listen to their conscience, everyone is in danger,” he said.

“Is that the sort of healthcare system you want looking after you when you are weak and vulnerable?” Miller added.

[…]

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin and chairman of the Council for Life of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference spoke at Mass before the March for Life.

He noted that the biology of cells was discovered less than four hundred years ago, and it is only a little more than 150 years since the discovery of DNA.

“Everything we have discovered since then has confirmed that, while pregnancy is a time of rapid growth and development, there is a radical continuity between the fertilized ovum and the child who is born at the end of nine months,” he said.

“That is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of scientific fact. Philosophers can interpret it, but they can’t change it. A human embryo is an individual member of the human species; otherwise known as a person,” Doran continued.

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He noted that Pope John Paul II, writing in Fides et Ratio, said there is no fundamental conflict between faith and science.

“We who seek to promote a renewed respect for the inherent dignity of every human person, certainly need to distinguish between science and fake news. We have no need to be afraid of science, but we do need to remember that science only goes part of the journey in understanding the human person,” he said.

Ireland passed the ‘Safe Access Zones’ Bill earlier In May, legislation Mulroy called “draconian.”

The legislation criminalizes any perceived attempt to influence one’s decision to have an abortion within a 100-metre zone of a premises where abortion could be provided, which includes areas where some churches are located.

“Nothing — no law, no public policy and no peer pressure from neighbours or colleagues — can remove our right and indeed our responsibility to advocate publicly for those who are most vulnerable, especially at the beginning and at the end of life,” Mulroy said when the legislation was passed.

[…]

“While the Medical Council has no policy one way or the other on assisted suicide and has entirely removed the section on abortion from its code of conduct, we still stand with our doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who refuse to be bullied into participating in ending the lives of their patients,” the bishop said.

“We do this, not just because of what science tells us, but also because we believe in the inherent God-given dignity of every human life. This is a dignity that does not depend on society or law, on wealth or nationality, on physical or mental health or ability, because before ever we are formed in the womb, God knows us intimately and loves us for all eternity,” Doran said.


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