SBA List Responds to Pope Francis Latest Exhortation

In response to Pope Francis’s latest apostolic exhortation Gaudete et exsultate, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, offered the following comment:

“It is impossible to equate the moral weight of abortion – the direct killing of innocent unborn children occurring on a daily massive scale, here in America and abroad – with any other social justice issue,” said Dannenfelser. “The right to live predates or precludes every other right. It is simple logic. Without the fundamental right to life, no debate can even begin on the rights that follow. The Catholic Church has long taught that abortion is an intrinsic evil that must always be opposed. Today’s statement by Pope Francis confirms this when he says ‘Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development.’

“We all affirm the absolute dignity of the migrants and those suffering from poverty. How we solve these issues are matters of prudential judgment on which Catholics can disagree. Today’s exhortation blurs lines and causes confusion.”

The primacy of the defense of unborn human life has been affirmed by Saint John Paul II as well as the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

The inviolability of the person, which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” – Apostolic exhortation, The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World (Christifideles Laici) by Pope John Paul II (1988)

The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are more precious, but this one is fundamental – the condition of all the others.” – Declaration on Procured Abortion published by the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1974)


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