Editorial | A sanctuary for life

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org
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A proposal in St. Louis to enshrine the rights of some has effectively trampled on the right to life.

City alderwoman Megan E. Green has proposed an ordinance that would amend the city's anti-discrimination law and add pregnancy and reproductive health decisions as protected classes.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson in a statement called the measure "vague and ambiguous," citing examples such as Catholic institutions being fined for not including coverage for abortion in insurance plans; or punishing landlords who don't want to rent to or be associated with the abortion industry.

Catholics must speak out against this potential violation of religious liberty and individual conscience rights, and we must continue our efforts to make St. Louis a "sanctuary for life and compassion, especially for mothers and their developing children," as the archbishop noted in his statement.

For generations, the Church in St. Louis has through its ministries and programs, provided spiritual and material assistance to those in need, especially the poor and women facing crisis pregnancies. Catholic Charities agencies such as Good Shepherd Children and Family Services and Queen of Peace Center provide maternity services; St. Francis Community Services offers help with health care and housing assistance.

The archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate, the first of its kind in the nation, oversees the LifeLine Coalition, a group of Catholic social service agencies and pro-life caregivers committed to helping women experiencing crisis pregnancies through: increasing awareness and availability of pregnancy assistance services; generating new revenue for caregivers; and expanding services to pregnant women.

The Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Fund assists expectant parents and parents who have recently given birth under difficult circumstances. The fund was established by Archbishop Carlson in 2009.

January 22 marks the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, and should serve as a stark reminder that we must remain diligent in our efforts to promote a culture of life. Whether that's participating in the monthly Helpers of God's Precious Infants Rosary procession at Planned Parenthood, supporting our Catholic agencies and other pro-life agencies with our time, talent and treasure or making our voices heard with our elected officials in the realm of public policy, we must remain steadfast in that commitment. 

Take Action:

St. Louis City Board of Aldermen (including a search for ward by address): https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/aldermen/Wards-1-28.cfm

St. Louis Aldermanic Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/aldermen/committee.cfm?committeeDetail=true&comId=1

Archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate: www.stlrespectlife.org | Facebook: Respect Life Apostolate - St. Louis | twitter: @ProLifeSTL 

Archbishop Carlson's statement: http://archstl.org/node/4403641

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