Fr. Malloy’s Midweek Message – The Right to Life

“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

(Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, 1948)


The Catholic Church teaches that all human life is sacred and must be protected. The Keystone of Catholic Social Teaching is the Dignity of the Human Person. All persons have the right to be respected by all, especially by the laws of the state. This teaching about the dignity of the human person enlightens moral choices concerning issues such as the death penalty, euthanasia, abortion, a living wage, war, and a whole number of matters pertaining to biochemical manipulation of human life from stem cell research to cloning. The Catholic Bishops state: “We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.”

Following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, much is being debated about the issues concerning abortion. As a Catholic and Jesuit school, it is good to know the Catholic church’s teaching on the dignity of human life. Everyone has a right to their body. That includes unborn children. One has a right to one’s body while in the womb of their mother.

The Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, teach that we must defend the most vulnerable among us. “As we Jesuits survey our culture, we cannot help but see abortion as part of the massive injustices in our society. A spirit of callous disregard for life shows itself in direct assaults on human life such as abortion and capital punishment. There are less direct but equally senseless ways we undermine life, through violence, racism, xenophobia, and the growing inequality of wealth and education. We also seek justice in ensuring that pregnant women and mothers have the resources they need to care for their children and live full lives. These realities compel us to speak out in defense of life and human flourishing.”

On April 26, 2023, a panel of five women testified before congress on the issues  surrounding abortion. Both pro-choice and pro-life views where shared. Dr. Monique  Chireau Wubbenhorst. (pictured in the upper left photo) an OB GYN doctor, eloquently  and forcefully spoke in defense of unborn children. Her testimony begins at minute 35. . She notes the racial disparities among “abortion rates, abortion mortality, and non-abortion  related maternal mortality, between black and white women.” Sadly, here too, systemic racism  threatens lives.

Dr. Wubbenhorst testified (her remarks are edited here)

“Abortion not only poses risks to the mother; it is also by definition always lethal to  an embryo or fetus, an unborn child, a human being, a member of the human family, not  a clump of cells or potential child, but a child assuming the human form. Abortion’s  goal is to kill that human being. It neither treats nor prevents any disease and is  therefore not health care. This is reinforced by the fact that the majority of OB GYN ‘s  do not perform abortions. Studies show that the percentage that do is declining and has  been for decades, from a high of 40% in 1985 to between 7% and 24% at present. … 

Since Roe v Wade an estimated 17 million unborn African Americans have been  aborted in the United States, which is more than the populations of the countries of  Senegal and Cambodia respectfully, and slightly less than the entire population of the  Netherlands. This means the deaths of not only the 17 million black people who were  aborted, but all their descendants, their families hopes and dreams. Annually,  approximately 300,000 black women undergo abortion every year, while in 2021 there  were approximately 518,000 births to black women. A number that continues to decline.  

There are substantial racial disparities in abortion rates, abortion mortality, and non abortion related maternal mortality, between black and white women. 38% of abortions  occur in black women. A rate which is 2 to 3 times higher than that of white women,  even though we compromise only 12% to 14% of the total US population. An estimated  684 black children are aborted every day. African American women also have a two to  three times higher mortality rate from abortion compared with white women.  Therefore, black women have the highest rates of abortion and the highest rates of  maternal mortality. Both of these facts cannot be true if abortion reduces maternal  mortality.” 

Choices surrounding these matters are often difficult. As Pope Francis says, we must do much  more to accompany and help women and men who, in distress, see abortion as their only  alternative. We must remember that the one who teaches “Thou shall not kill” (Matthew 19:18) also counsels “Thou shall not judge (Matthew 7:1). As we continue to investigate and learn  about the issues of life, may God guide us to all truth and loving choices. May we always  protect the vulnerable among us. 

Fr. Rick Malloy, S.J.