TALLAHASSEE, FL – The bishops of Florida have issued a statement acknowledging the anniversary of the January 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling by the United States Supreme Court. As a result of this radical decision to lawfully allow the termination of a child in the womb, an estimated 55 million unborn children have been deprived of life. While recognizing that recent protections for the unborn and the decline in abortions performed in Florida provide reasons for hope, the bishops state, "we will not rest in our efforts until the day when the unborn child achieves full legal recognition and protection of law, from the moment of conception."
The full statement follows:
Statement of the Catholic Bishops of Florida on the 41st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade
January 22, 2014
“Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to being aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before he was born, and then just after birth, experienced the world's rejection.” (Pope Francis, September 2013)
On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the termination of life in the womb, radically altering our country's discourse regarding the fundamental human right to live. Since then, an estimated 55 million unborn children have been deprived of life in the United States alone. We, nevertheless, "rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer," as Paul instructed in his letter to the Romans. (cf. Romans 12:12)
We rejoice in hope as the number of abortions performed in Florida continues to decline every year. Close to 20,000 fewer abortions took place in our state in 2012 than did in 2006. We rejoice in hope while strides are made such as on June 5, 2013, when Governor Scott signed a bill into law that provides an infant born alive during an attempted abortion with the same rights, powers, and privileges as any other child born alive. The active involvement of our young in protecting the unborn is also a great hope to us.
We endure in affliction as we work and pray to overcome the high court's far-reaching decision that has remained a scourge on our society, profoundly impacting the medical profession, the legal profession, the media, and through them, all people. This unjust ruling has perpetuated the intrinsic evil of killing the unborn child. As we endure, we will not rest in our efforts until the day when the unborn child achieves full legal recognition and protection of law, from the moment of conception.
We persevere in prayer for the mothers and fathers of the 76,138 unborn children who were aborted in our state in 2012. We persevere in prayer that the pregnant mothers in Florida who consider abortion may find their way to crisis pregnancy centers that will remind them of the truth and beauty of the gift from God in their womb, and support them in their time of need. We persevere in prayer for the healing and pastoral care of post-abortive mothers and fathers through ministries such as Project Rachel.
Pope Francis, addressing the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations in September 2013, proclaimed, "A widespread mentality of the useful, the 'culture of waste' that today enslaves the hearts and minds of so many, comes at a very high cost: it asks for the elimination of human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker. Our response to this mentality is a decisive and unreserved 'yes' to life."
May we accept our Holy Father's challenge to protect life at all stages and see the face of our Lord in the unborn.
Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito
Archdiocese of Miami Diocese of Palm Beach
Bishop Robert N. Lynch Bishop Frank J. Dewane
Diocese of St. Petersburg Diocese of Venice
Bishop John G. Noonan Bishop Felipe J. Estévez
Diocese of Orlando Diocese of St. Augustine
Bishop Gregory L. Parkes
Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee
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The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. It speaks for the Church in matters of public policy and serves as liaison to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.