US bishops hail abortion ban

Two Catholic bishops hailed South Dakota's new law banning nearly all abortions, but they urged efforts to build a culture that respects all life from the moment of conception to natural death.

The bishops were responding to South Dakota's Governor Mike Rounds' decision to sign into law a bill prohibiting all intentional abortions except those to save a mother's life.

Bishop Blase J Cupich of Rapid City said South Dakota citizens and their elected officials "can be justifiably proud of their efforts to restore the rights of the unborn child," but "a change in law and structures," he said, "is not sufficient."

Society must build a culture of life that "begins with the unborn" and also ensures livable wages, education, adequate health care, help for single mothers and "an end to the death penalty," he said.

In a separate statement, Bishop Samuel J Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota, apostolic administrator of the Sioux Falls Diocese in South Dakota, said: "There is no question about the church's position on abortion - human life is sacred because it involves the creative action of God. ... None of us can claim the right directly to destroy an innocent human being."

He hailed the new law but said the church is "dedicated to promoting a culture that respects human life."

"Regardless of court rulings and laws, we must be ardent in our efforts to transform the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens. All people must recognise human life is a gift," Bishop Aquila said.

The anti-abortion law specifically exempts women from any criminal conviction or penalty for obtaining an abortion. But those convicted of performing an abortion except to save a mother's life is punishable by a fine up to US$5,000 [AU$6,700] and up to five years in prison.

The law does not apply to medical treatment "that results in the accidental or unintentional injury or death to the unborn child."

South Dakota's new law is the most sweeping ban on abortion adopted in any state since 1973, the year the US Supreme Court legalised abortion virtually on demand in its Roe v Wade decision.

Bishops hail abortion ban, urge more efforts to build culture of life (Catholic News Service 7/3/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Rapid City Diocese
South Dakota State Government

Pell promises Church 'won't bully on abortion' (CathNews 22/2/06)

South Dakota Abortion Ban Signed Into Law (Zenit 6/3/06)
Abortion and African-Americans (Zenit 3/3/06)

8 Mar 2006