Cardinal Dolan Rebukes Priest Who Suggests Giving Up on Banning Abortions: We Will Never Abandon Unborn Babies

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 12, 2018   |   10:04AM   |   Washington, DC

U.S. Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan said pro-lifers must never give up fighting for laws that protect unborn babies from abortion.

Dolan, the archbishop of New York and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities, wrote a column at RNS on June 8 in response to a priest’s suggestion that pro-life advocates stop trying to change abortion laws.

In a May 27 column, Fr. Thomas J. Reese said the pro-life movement should focus instead on making abortions unthinkable by providing material support to pregnant and parenting moms, CNA reports. He claimed the pro-life movement “needs a new strategy” and pointed to the recent vote in Ireland to repeal its pro-life Eighth Amendment.

Dolan disagreed. He expressed a number of “serious reservations” with Reese’s arguments, saying they capitulate to the abortion culture and weaken the power of the pro-life witness.

“Catholic tradition and basic human rights teach us that every human being has an inalienable right to life that must be recognized and protected in law,” Dolan wrote at RNS. “While the law is not the only means of protecting life, it plays a key and decisive role in affecting both human behavior and thinking. We cannot give up!”

Reese referred to polls showing support for legalized abortion, suggesting the pro-life movement will not succeed politically. He emphasized programs that provide material and emotional support, as well as greater access to artificial contraception – something the Catholic Church opposes.

“Planned pregnancies do not get aborted; many unplanned pregnancies do,” he claimed. “In short, the pro-life movement must support any program that lessens the burden on mothers and their children.”

Dolan countered that the Catholic Church and others in the pro-life movement already are doing a lot to support pregnant and parenting mothers and their families. He agreed with Reese that more support is needed, but he criticized the priest’s suggestion that taxpayers continue to support Planned Parenthood, the No. 1 abortion business in America.

Here’s more from CNA:

Reese also wrote that “closing [Planned Parenthood] clinics that provide health care and birth control to women before replacements are up and running is irresponsible and counterproductive.”

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… While Dolan noted support for some of Reese’s suggestions, such as offering much-needed support to pregnant mothers, the New York cardinal said Reese’s strategy ultimately reminds him of “those in the mid-19th century who proposed amelioration as a way to reduce slavery in our country.”

“Thank God, those who believed that slavery was a moral horror, a cancer on our country, and contrary to the higher values of a lawful republic, could never accept this capitulation.”

Dolan said the pro-life movement uses many different strategies to protect unborn babies from abortion, and the fight for legal protections is a vitally important component.

“Abortion is a grave injustice. We must do everything in our power to legally protect babies and to provide for the needs of mothers,” the cardinal said.

He encouraged pro-life advocates to keep working hard and to refuse to give up hope.

“May we never give in to the culture of death or lose faith in our efforts to build a culture of life in our world,” Dolan said.