National Council of U.S. Catholic Bishops Passes Judgment on Abortion

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The National Council of U.S. Catholic Bishops announces that anyone undergoing or performing an abortion would "place themselves in a state of excommunication" from the Roman Catholic Church. This is a response to the recent Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion. This is not at all a new position for the Catholic Church, but it is an unusually direct and explicit statement.

According to the Catholic bishops:

"We find that this majority opinion of the court is wrong and is entirely contrary to the fundamental principles of morality."

This assertion is noteworthy in that the bishops fail to offer any legal argument for why the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade is legally incorrect. Whether a decision is consistent with Catholic conceptions of morality or not is simply beside the point.

The National Council of U.S. Catholic Bishops goes on to say:

Those who obtain an abortion, those who persuade others to have an abortion, and those who perform the abortion procedure are guilty of breaking God's law. ...In order to emphasize the speical evil of abortion, under Church law, those who undergo or perform an abortion place themselves in a state of excommunication."

Cardinal John Cody, archbishop of Chicago, announces this message to American Catholics, telling them that they "have a moral obligation to protest it [abortion]" and, moreover, that the Supreme Court had "overstepped itself" by "making law instead of interpreting it." He doesn't explain how or why this is the case, but he is confident that the bishops will be able to get Roe v. Wade overturned:

"We have great hope and ... very great determination. ... We have legal experts trying to come up with a proposition."
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