Roe v. Wade – January 2020

Bishop Noonan’s Statement Ahead of the 47th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.

I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13, 14


January 22, 2020 marks a sad anniversary: the U.S. Supreme Court’s tragic decision legalizing the deliberate taking of unborn human life through elective abortion. We must remember that judicial sanction of the termination of life in the womb is not God’s sanction. This wrong for 47 years has hardened hearts and created chaos within our daily living. Death of the most vulnerable – more than 60 million innocents – has wrought a disregard for human life as we discard those whom we deem disposable because of infirmity, belief, nationality, or economic status. As the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, when did we see you . . .” (Matthew 25:31-40), our subtle or marked indifference manifests itself in bullying or denial or violence to name a few.

Yet, amid this darkness, we witness God’s hope as young people march for life across the United States, and good and courageous acts light a way forward. The passage of laws by several state legislatures to restrict abortion is encouraging. Wide support in Florida for the vital help provided to pregnant women and their families by pregnancy care centers is greatly welcomed. Parish and other ministries that provide material and spiritual help and offer healing for those suffering from past abortions are to be commended. Parishioners pilgrimage to abortion centers throughout the Diocese and voice their prayers for those who enter. We guide our young people to prepare the way of the Lord as we advocate for existing legislation requiring a 24-hour reflection period prior to an abortion.

Despite the claims by some that Roe v. Wade is “settled law”, the whole human race is still conflicted about abortion, and this is what lies behind much of the divisiveness of today’s political discourse. As Catholics we are called to be a voice in the marketplace and to share the Good News. Informed by our Catholic teaching we seek to touch consciences and elicit affirmation for life.

In order to do that, we must believe that all life is of God and this life begins at conception and ends at natural death. If we believe this, then we can ask God with sincerity and truth for courage and strength to proclaim that each human life should be protected in law, law which sustains the dignity of every human person – whether he or she be poor, an immigrant, a refugee, incarcerated, infirmed, sick, elderly or unborn. This proclamation of our salvation history reaffirms the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights” and thus brings forth the “more perfect union” with God.

Let us be clear – to ask others to consider this option for life, we must also live as we say we believe. From the moment of conception to natural death, let us embrace each one for in every one is the face of God.  In this belief of our oneness with God, let us praise God, for each is wonderfully made!

Bishop John Noonan