Statement from Bishop Soto concerning New York abortion law

Dear Friends in Christ,

Last month on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the governor of New York signed into law a broad expansion of the practice of abortion in the state. The new law not only legalizes the abortion of a child for practically any reason during all nine months of pregnancy; it also removes any protection for a child born alive following an abortion procedure.

Abortion has always been built on lies. In former times, the rationale employed in its defense was "abortion is a choice". Today, the argument comes in a new form: "abortion is healthcare". The argument for the former relies upon a distorted sense of human freedom in order to obscure the fatal consequences of that choice for the child, as well as the moral consequences for the mother. The argument for the latter, abortion as healthcare uses a false sense of personal autonomy in order to eclipse the nascent but still real relationship between a mother and child, as well as the social obligation to care for the most vulnerable.

Abortion has always relied upon privacy to cloak the false dichotomy between the welfare of women and the welfare of children.  The personal dimensions of a woman whose womb bears a child does not diminish the social and moral obligations to care for both.  Even the word itself, "personal", implies the common sense acknowledgement of the persons involved.  We cannot respect the personal claims of one without respecting the moral claims of the other.  The legitimate, worthwhile efforts to provide healthcare for all are gravely undermined by this careless expansion under the dubious guise of autonomy.

Over the years, the concerns for a moral “slippery slope” have been discounted as hysteria.  Today, both abortion and euthanasia are part of the health care system.  Does the notion that a parent may decide for any reason the fate of a born child not make the whole health care system tremble?  Will a doctor or a nurse mutely stand by at that moment?  Will that become the prevailing protocol for any vulnerable person?  A sound and effective healthcare system does not begin by casting aside the unwanted and unneeded.  A healthy society recognizes the dignity of each person as vital to the well-being of all.

I encourage my Catholic brothers and sisters and all people of good will: Be attentive to the light of God’s mercy and truth in the midst of the many moral challenges in the volatile health care environment.  Profit or expedience should not be the criteria we use to care for one another.  We must be good stewards of God’s creation starting with the sanctity of human life.

Pray that the Lord Jesus may grant us a resolute perseverance to cultivate a culture of life.  Demonstrate a personal, reverential concern for expectant mothers, the sick, and the frail.  Advocate for a health care system worthy of the name, that protects the sanctity of life from the moment of conception until natural death.

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May the intercession of our Blessed Mother, Santa María de Guadalupe, sustain us as joyful missionaries of the gospel life and joy of her Son, Jesus.