by Joe Hittinger
Eagle Editorial Board
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops designates October as Respect Life Month. This is the forty-first year that this tradition has been in place.
For Catholics around the United States, this means reaffirming our commitment to defending human life.
We not only commit ourselves to fighting the ever-apparent scourge of abortion but also to fighting anything that threatens or degrades the sanctity of human life, including euthanasia and contraception.
Pope Benedict XVI said that the theme of this October’s Respect Life Month is that “Faith opens our eyes to human life in all its grandeur and beauty.”
All people should take this to heart and really embrace the defense of all human life.
Respect Life Month is especially important this year as the vital beliefs of Catholics everywhere are threatened by the recent health care reforms that will go into effect in 2013 under President Obama’s new health care plan, collectively known as Obamacare.
These proposed changes to health care would require colleges and hospitals to provide contraception under their insurances plans, including sterilization and early term abortions.
This is, of course, completely against the teachings of the Catholic Church.
If schools and hospitals refuse to provide coverage of contraception, they will be heavily fined. This is essentially an attempt by the government to bully citizens and leaders of Catholic institutions into compromising their own vital beliefs.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops published a list of reasons detailing how the Health and Human Services Mandate regarding contraception is wrong and unlawful.
The most important of these reasons is that the mandate treats fertility and pregnancy as a disease that needs to be prevented or treated in some way.
The American bishops point out that this is a ridiculous and harmful claim for the government to make people think this way.
The bishops also propose a solution to this blatant disregard for conscience by the government, which is to allow institutions to choose whether to implement this coverage of contraceptives and other procedures under their own health care plans. This is how the law operates currently, but that will soon change if Obamacare is not repealed.
However, the government has thus far refused to grant this solution, forcing Catholics and other defenders of human life to compromise their beliefs.
The great founding father Thomas Jefferson said, “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.”
The American tradition is to respect religious freedom and conscientious objection.
These health care reforms are destroying America’s protection of religious freedom, which is one of the main pillars upon which this great nation was founded.
Archbishop Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston strongly endorses an active participation in Respect Life Month. As the chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, DiNardo wrote a letter of protest to the House of Representatives pleading a policy of respect for the rights of conscience.
The content of this letter falls under a broader program put in place by the American bishops to encourage and cultivate a respect for human life.
Everyone in our community ought to participate in at least one of the many events that will be taking place throughout this special month.
The Respect Life Club will participate in various events to raise awareness of this important month, including prayer for an end to abortion and a day of silent solidarity.
Every student who believes in defending human life is encouraged to find out more about events happening this month and to get as involved as possible.