Massachusetts Catholic bishops urged Christians to continue to “oppose the taking of human life through abortion” in the face of a new state law that allows unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason up to birth.
The bishops joined thousands of Massachusetts residents in speaking out against the legislation before it passed, but state lawmakers ignored the massive public outcry, overrode Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto and passed it into law Dec. 29.
“We are deeply disappointed by the failure of the Massachusetts legislature to uphold Governor Baker’s veto of legislation which further expands access to abortion in the Commonwealth beyond 24 weeks of pregnancy,” the bishops responded Dec. 31.
The joint statement came from Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, Springfield Bishop William D. Byrne, Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus and Fall River Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, The Boston Pilot reports.
Unborn children are precious, defenseless human beings who must be protected, the bishops said.
“The Catholic Church recognizes that it has a primary moral responsibility to speak for the most vulnerable among us – the unborn. That responsibility is at the center of the Catholic moral vision,” they continued. “Because of its centrality, the Church must oppose the directly intended taking of human life through abortion at any stage of pregnancy. It is a serious moral wrong and directly undercuts our unyielding goal to promote the common good throughout a civil society.”
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The bishops said they also are committed to protecting human dignity by opposing doctor-assisted suicide and capital punishment as well as supporting immigrants, refugees and the poor.
The bishops were among hundreds of Christian leaders in the state who urged lawmakers to oppose the pro-abortion legislation. In November, more than 300 pastors in the state sent a letter to Baker urging him to veto the bill. Then in December, 400 pastors sent a second letter urging the governor and lawmakers to protect unborn babies from abortion.
“In 2019 alone, there were 18,593 abortions performed in the Bay State. How much more ‘accessible’ does the murder of unborn children need to be?” they asked. “Abortion ends the life of a human child and puts the physical, mental and emotional health of women, most especially young women, at risk.”
The new Massachusetts law codifies Roe v. Wade into state law so that abortions will remain legal if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the infamous case. It allows unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason up to birth, ends parental consent for girls as young as 16 seeking abortions, weakens the state anti-infanticide law, and allows non-doctors to abort unborn babies.
Baker, a pro-abortion Republican, vetoed the legislation on Christmas Eve, saying he opposed ending parental consent for underage girls. The governor also wanted more limits on late-term abortions.
But despite the governor’s veto and bipartisan opposition to the legislation, the House and Senate voted to override the veto over Christmas week and enact the law right away.
Though discouraged, state pro-life leaders promised that their work for life will continue.
“We know the lives we work to protect are worth every minute of our time in this life,” said Myrna Maloney Flynn, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. “We know without a doubt that our supporters, by their advocacy over the last 24 months, changed minds and opened hearts, even our governor’s. And we look forward to continuing our work alongside the citizens of Massachusetts, who already know the value of human life and are eager to educate and support others and to ultimately illuminate the inherent right to life of the unborn.”
According to the Christian Post, 13 other states have similar laws in place that establish a “right” to abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. They are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
New Jersey is considering a similar bill this winter.