The Church has an obligation to uphold basic human rights

Joseph F. Naumann is Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

by Bishop Joseph F. Naumann

Next Tuesday’s (August 2) election on the “Value Them Both” amendment is of supreme importance, not only to our state, but to the nation as a whole. I am grateful to everyone in the Catholic community who has been involved in the broad coalition of Kansans working to pass the “Value Them Both” amendment.

Unfortunately, opponents of “Value Them Both” have engaged in a disinformation campaign aimed at spreading confusion about the amendment. Their advertisements labeled the “Value Them Both” amendment as an abortion ban. Personally, I wish I could protect every child and every mother from the tragedy of abortion, but this amendment does not do that.

It simply corrects the Kansas Supreme Court’s 2019 decision that claimed to have found an abortion right in the Kansas Constitution. The court, giving reasons for its decision, declared that all existing laws regarding abortion are presumed unconstitutional.

The law behind the lawsuit was a ban on live mutilation abortions. These are abortions where the abortionist literally dismembers the body of the unborn baby while it is still alive in the womb, pulling the little limbs one by one out of the mother. The doctor then crushes the baby’s head so that he can also remove it from the mother’s womb.

The first law the abortion industry successfully asked the court to strike down was a clinic regulation law that resulted from revelations of unsanitary conditions at an abortion clinic in Kansas City, Kansas. One of the provisions of the law required the abortionist to have medical privileges at a nearby hospital in case of medical complications resulting from the abortion.

Interestingly, the ads opposing “Value Them Both” claim that abortion is already highly regulated in Kansas. It is true that Kansas, through our elected representatives, has passed laws requiring parental consent for minors seeking abortions, informed consent requirements for women undergoing abortions, and prohibitions on taxpayer-funded abortion.

All of these laws have been vigorously opposed by the abortion lobby, the same groups that fund today’s ads. All are subject to overthrow if the “Value Them Both” amendment is not passed.

Opponents of ‘Value Them Both’ claimed that its passage would prevent women from receiving proper treatment for ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages. It is completely false. In fact, in an official legal opinion issued on July 22, 2022, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt stated that the medical treatment of ectopic pregnancies or fetal death is not “abortion” under Kansas law and therefore would not be affected by the passage of the “Value Them” proposal. Both” constitutional amendment. (See: ag.ks.gov/opinions.)

I received a few letters and emails objecting to the church’s support of “Value Them Both,” asking if I was diverting money from other important pastoral ministries. All of the money that has been used to support “Value Them Both” comes from an appeal I made to every member of the Archdiocese several months ago.

Those who donated to the Respect Life Special Fund were informed that their donations would be used to support the educational efforts of “Value Them Both” as well as increase financial support for Pregnancy Resource Centers (aka Pregnancy Clinics in crisis cases), Project Gabriel, Walking with Moms in Need, post-abortion reconciliation and healing programs (Project Rachel and Project Joseph), and our efforts to better serve foster children.

Donors have given over $6 million to this special Respect Life appeal, allowing us to be generous in our support of “Value Them Both,” but also allowing us to dramatically increase support for the many pastoral programs that also help those who have a premature pregnancy. such as those who suffer emotional and/or spiritual trauma after an abortion.

If you haven’t donated to our special Respect Life fund yet, please consider doing so. Any additional donations will support these crucial pastoral programs that not only help during pregnancy, but continue to support mothers and their children after the child is born.

Some people objected to the church advocating so strongly to “value them both”. They interpret the involvement of the archdiocese as a violation of the so-called separation of church and state. Supporting a constitutional amendment is not partisan politics. It does not endorse political candidates or political parties.

Nor is it the imposition of Catholic theology on our fellow Kansas. Protecting women and children from abortion is a human rights issue. I will never apologize for the church’s advocacy of basic human rights. The churches were rightly leaders of the civil rights movement in the second half of the 20th century and the anti-slavery movement in the 19th century. In a democratic society, the Church has not only the right, but the obligation, to defend fundamental human rights.

“Value Them Both” will allow Kansans, through their elected representatives, to determine public policy regarding the protection of women and children from the abortion industry.

It’s hard to understand why opponents of “Value Them Both” fear that the Kansans will determine abortion policy through their elected representatives. Abortion advocates insult not only Kansas legislators, but also the people who elected them by questioning their abilities to create public policy that reflects the views of their constituents.

When it comes to abortion, Pope Francis has often said that it is never right to kill a child to solve a problem. The Holy Father also said it is never right to hire someone else to kill a child to solve a problem. Pope Francis has also been clear that the protection of the unborn child is above all a matter of human rights accessible to all through reason.

I urge you to pray and fast for the passage of “Value Them Both.” I also encourage you to vote “yes” to “Value Them Both” on August 2.

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