The Unborn, the Elderly, and the ‘Throwaway Culture’ (Part V)

February 2, 2014

Great news! Mr. Paul C. Hufnagle has agreed to serve as a trustee for our parish.

Paul and his wife Phyllis have a long and honored history of service within our church and the broader community. In a future bulletin Paul will provide us with an introductory letter. Thank you Paul for your willingness to serve as a St. Edward’s trustee. Paul will replace Molly Mitch who finished her two-year term in December.

Below is the final installment of Russell Shaw’s update on the prolife movement (Click here to read Part I, Part II, Part III, or Part IV).

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Update: Human Life The Unborn, the elderly and the “throwaway culture” — Part V

As measured by polls, American public opinion on abortion presents a confused and ambiguous picture — nothing new, of course, since it’s been like that for many years. Perhaps the most positive part of it is that, as a Pew Research report put it last August, “regardless of their views about the legality of abortion, most Americans think that having an abortion is a moral issue.” Overall 49 percent hold abortion to be morally wrong and only 15 percent see it as morally acceptable, while 23 percent believe it simply isn’t a moral issue.

Among those who consider abortion wrong, the breakdown is this: white evangelical Protestants, 75 percent; Hispanic Catholics, 64 percent; black Protestants, 58 percent; white Catholics, 53 percent; white mainline Protestants, 38 percent; and religiously unaffiliated adults, 25 percent. By well baby feet smover two to one, people who attend religious services once a week or more often are more likely to see abortion as morally wrong (72 percent) than are people who seldom or never attend (32 percent). For white Catholics, the percentage is 74 percent among weekly or more frequent Mass attenders and 40 percent among those who attend Mass less often.

According to Pew, attitudes on legal abortion vary markedly from region to region. Percentages range from New England, where 75 percent think most or all abortions should be legal, to the South Central region of the country (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas) where only 40 percent think that.

Summing up poll results over many years, New York Times reporter David Leonhardt wrote: “If you were going to craft a law based strictly on public opinion, it would permit abortion in the first trimester (first 12 weeks) of pregnancy and in cases involving rape, incest or threats to the mother’s life. The law…would substantially restrict abortion after the first trimester in many other cases.”

The message all this sends … is clear: Educate, educate, educate. People need to know both scientific facts and moral principles relative to abortion, euthanasia and other life issues. Especially, perhaps, they must grasp what Pope Francis meant when he denounced the “throwaway culture” that leads to “eliminating human beings.” “Our answer to this mentality,” he said, “is a decisive and unhesitant ‘yes’ to life.”