Editorial | City’s pro-abortion law only strengthens our resolve

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The city named in honor of a saint and nicknamed "Rome of the West" is now a so-called "sanctuary" city for the right to choose abortion, the horrific act of killing innocent, unborn babies.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Our proud city, St. Louis ... it's shameful, embarrassing and disgusting.

"This is not what our city should stand for," Archbishop Robert J. Carlson wrote about Board Bill 203.

Though the St. Louis Board of Aldermen's passage of the bill and the mayor's signing it into law might be cause for despair, retreat or fight, now isn't the time for those reactions. It's time to reflect on the innocent man who died for our sins more than 2,000 years ago. Jesus Christ willfully marched to His crucifixion at Golgotha, carrying His own cross, wearing a crown of thorns and being mocked by onlookers.

Imagine what that was like ... yet He forgave them: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

In light of His killing and His forgiveness, is it so bad to be persecuted for our beliefs by the culture of death to advocate for the voiceless unborn and to be equated with terrorists and derisively called anti-abortion extremists? Not really.

Will Catholics and other pro-life advocates be compelled to accept the sinful mandates of abortion? Never.

"Let me be clear that the Archdiocese of St. Louis cannot and will not comply with any ordinance like Board Bill 203 that attempts to force the Church and others to become unwilling participants in the abortion business," Archbishop Carlson stated. "There is no room for compromise on such a matter. This is a matter of fundamental religious and moral beliefs."

Abortion rights proponents would have us believe that the Catholic Church is out of step with modern beliefs, that it does nothing beyond fighting against choice. They're sadly mistaken.

Through Catholic health care, ministries and programs, the archdiocese "will continue to extend both spiritual and material assistance to all those in need, especially the poor and ... women facing crisis pregnancies who feel they have no one else to turn to for help — both during their pregnancies as well as after their child is born," Archbishop Carlson wrote.

We always have and always will. To suggest otherwise, that Catholics ignore women who choose life for their babies ... seriously? That's plain wrong.

"We support young mothers and families," said Deacon Jim Carter, who's spearheading the deacon's Lenten Diaper Drive to help moms and families in need. Last year, the deacons collected 125,000 diapers archdiocesanwide, but this is merely one example of such support in the archdiocese.

The archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate's LifeLine Coalition provides financial help to agencies that provide assistance and encouragement to pregnant mothers and their families who otherwise might turn to abortion. Beneficiaries include Birthright, Our Lady's Inn and Good Shepherd Children and Family Services. Other examples of archdiocesan support inlude the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Fund, and other Catholic Charities agencies such as Queen of Peace Center and St. Martha's Hall.

In many ways, St. Louis is the epicenter of the pro-life movement. Cardinal John Carberry launched in the archdiocese the nation's first pro-life committee after the Roe v. Wade travesty of 1973. And in a series of undercover videos released in 2015 by the Center for Medical Progress, a Planned Parenthood official spoke about St. Louis being an "untapped" place to obtain human fetal body parts from aborted babies to be sold to researchers.

The ill-conceived bill just shows that the battle between good and evil still exists in the Rome of the West, and that evil sometimes appears to win. But we Catholics know better. We know the truth.

So rather than cause despair, BB203 only strengthens our resolve to counter the abomination of abortion. We should lobby elected officials, pray on the sidewalks outside Planned Parenthood, and, more than ever, reach out to women in crisis to help them make the right choice.

Right now, the Missouri House of Representatives is considering a measure, House Bill 174, which would acknowledge the rights of alternatives-to-abortion agencies and pre-empt any local government from requiring anyone to directly or indirectly participate in abortion.

We urge you to contact your representative in favor of HB174. Our right to religious freedom — as St. Louisans and as Catholics — is at stake. 

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