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National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

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Today marks the 42nd anniversary of the legalization of abortion in the United  States.  Over 50,000 human lives have been lost and countless more have been damaged by the act of abortion.

These comments are from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Respect Life Program:

In the Beatitudes, Jesus reveals that a life fully lived is going to involve pain as well as blessing. But he also reveals that there are greater things than seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. It is worth noting that Jesus himself was born into a painful situation–what one might call a “crisis pregnancy”: a foster-father who was at a loss when he heard the news, a birth into an impoverished family and a hostile environment (Herod’s massacre), early childhood years as an immigrant (in Egypt), and even homelessness at various points. Jesus did not have a “quality” life from the start.

Each and every human life is valuable. If not, then no human life is valuable. If we could root the dignity and value of a human being in anything other than being made in the image and likeness of God, then that dignity would always be fragile and never permanent. If it were rooted in so-called “quality” of life, then a person would be less valuable when they have less pleasure and more pain.  If dignity were rooted in a person’s strength or intelligence, then those who are stronger or smarter would be more valuable than those who are weaker or less intelligent. If worth were rooted in a person’s ability to contribute or not be dependent on those around him or her, then individuals who are most in need would be the least “deserving” of help and attention. However, we know that our worth is not rooted in any of these things; our God-given dignity can never be taken away, and no person is ever less deserving of our love than another.

The “Quality of Life” ethic leads us down a road where not all life is treated as being valuable. The “Sanctity of Life” ethic leads us to the kind of world where everyone is valued—not for what they can do, but for the fact that they are created, and created by God. It is a world in which we joyfully acknowledge that “[e]ven the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect” (Pope Francis’ 2013 Day for Life Greeting).

Do we truly want to create a world where other human beings who are considered to be inconvenient are treated as though they are disposable?  By our prayers, by our actions, by the way we treat other people, we help to shape the world in which we live. Will it be a world where the “Quality of Life” ethic reigns and no one’s permanent value is recognized, or one in which the “Sanctity of Life” ethic prevails and everyone is treated according to their incalculable worth, which nothing can take away?