STATEMENT ON THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIDEOS

Six months ago, I moved to Vermont. I now live in a state that is ranked 49th by Americans United for Life in terms of protection of the life of children in the womb. My state representative (I live in Chittenden District 6-3) is employed as a VP at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. At the start of this year’s state legislative term, pro-choice advocates forced a roll-call vote of each member as to their support of “Roe v. Wade” even though no pro-life or pro-choice initiatives were on this year’s legislative agenda. Obviously, the pro-choice side was affirmed overwhelmingly. Vermont does not have any of the major types of abortion restrictions—such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortions—often found in other states.

Yet, as is the case all over the United States, the number of pregnancies ending in abortion continues to decline in Vermont. In 1991, 22.8 % of pregnancies in Vermont ended in abortion. Twenty years later in 2011, 11.7% of children were aborted. It is still a terrible number, but the decline gives hope. Even in this most pro-abortion of all states, men and women are coming to see the tragic nature of abortion and choosing to do otherwise. We Catholics and those who share our pro-life beliefs need to continue to be strong witnesses to the truth that all human life is sacred and the greatest gift from God.

Presently, much outrage is being generated by the release of undercover videos of conversations between representatives of Planned Parenthood and men and women posing as “buyers” looking to procure body parts and tissue samples from aborted children. The callousness with which the Planned Parenthood staff speaks of the harvesting of organs from what was once a living human being is horrifying and stunning. But, sadly, I am not surprised. In numerous instances, the more radical proponents of abortion rights, of which the people at Planned Parenthood are the most outspoken, always speak of the child in the womb as simply “an embryo” or “tissue.” For them, it is not a human life, a person, a child. It is tissue. So, why are we surprised when they treat the remains of the “tissue,” as just that, something one can simply dispose of as one will?

It is my hope that the content of these videos which reveal how Planned Parenthood and its staff truly view human life in the womb will serve as a “wake up call,” even a slap in the face to all of us and spur more and more men and women to come to know that the pre-born child is not tissue, but a beautiful creation of God.

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Fr. Gerald Ragis
August 8, 2015 11:56 am

Dear Bishop:
I’ve just read your clear, concise statement about abortions in Vermont with comments about a few of Planned Parenthood’s policy, vocabulary, etc. on this matter.
We all need wake-up calls about these matters because often these are issues we might dismiss as “Well, that doesn’t apply to me.. .” You clearly remind us and underline our duties as followers of Jesus who came “that we may have life. ”
Thank you, Bishop, for your reminders and leadership in our witness to society as Catholics

What a tragedy…the public was more upset about the killing of “Cecil” the lion in Zimbabwe than the sale of aborted baby organs. Where was the protest group in defense of the human life ???????

What a wonderful,thoughtfull and correct comment on the latest Planned Parenthood murder expose. Thank you for your guidance and commentary(s).

Amen! May it be so…

Harold M. Frost, III, Ph.D.
August 18, 2015 9:54 am

Your Excellency: Mention in the last paragraph of your blog of a ” “wake up call,” even a slap in the face to all of us,” encompasses more than a response simply to the Planned Parenthood videos, it is a reminder of the eschatological call of Jesus of each one of us to total personal conversion to the point that one can say with honesty “Totus tuus sum” in our service to Him Himself. This in turn means a giving of all of oneself to Him, whether one is a layperson married or not, consecrated religious person, or ordained minister such as a priest. Then one is able to accept that all which He wishes to give each one of us, and with that all of his work out in our service to Him and to those He thus brings into our lives, our salvation by Him.