Catholic bishop, Notre Dame prof support new national pro-life organization
A new national pro-life organization seeking to establish a no-compromise pro-life voice has gotten a boost from two prominent Catholic figures.
Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck, North Dakota and Notre Dame Professor Charles Rice have endorsed the National Personhood Alliance (NPA), the formation of which was announced in June. The new organization will formally launch at a conference in Atlanta set for October 10-11.
Dan Becker, co-founder of NPA and president of Georgia Right to Life, said that since the pro-life movement began in the late 1960s it has focused on ending abortion, but "our concern must be expanded to encompass the dignity and value of each human being at any developmental stage through natural death."
Personhood advocates believe human rights begin at the moment of conception. Personhood Education New York, Inc. (PENY), a newly-created state affiliate of the NPA, joins Georgia Right to Life and Cleveland Right to Life as early NPA supporters. PENY is hosting its own conference in October, the same month as the NPA conference.
The new organization’s goals dovetail with those of Personhood USA, which has long pushed no-exception legislation and personhood amendments across the nation.
Bishop Kagan, who is a well-known supporter of life, wrote in a statement of support for NPA’s conference, provided to LifeSiteNews, that "it is a distinct honor for me to be able to offer a brief word of affirmation and encouragement to all in attendance" at the conference. "Your presence and, more importantly, your daily lives of living the objective truth of who you are as beloved children of God, gives invaluable witness to the inherent dignity of every person in every stage and moment of one’s earthly life," he wrote.
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"Each person ... possesses one, absolute and inviolable human right – the right to life," he continued. "No person or group has any individual or inherent right to destroy or to mutilate innocent human life but has the binding duty to protect and defend innocent human life in all of its stages of development."
The bishop also criticized government policies that redefine who is a human being. "No individual person, no group of persons or any political and social agency or government may change or re-define the person, the person’s human dignity, and the person’s singular status within creation."
Bishop Kagan's statement recommended "a fresh reading, discussion and application" of Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae, which he said "are, in my opinion, necessary in order to combat the 'culture of death.'"
Rice, a former Notre Dame law professor and an advocate for the personhood approach, praised NPA in a statement of support the October conference provided to LifeSiteNews.
"The entitlement to personhood involves the fundamental constitutional and moral issue presented by the legalization of murder of the unborn," he wrote. "The basic premise of Roe v. Wade is that innocent human beings can be defined as nonpersons and deprived of the constitutional protection of the right to life of every 'person.'"
Rice's statement also compared abortion to some of history's great atrocities, noting that the atrocities act as though "innocent human beings can be defined as nonpersons and subjected to death at the discretion of others."