WASHINGTON, Nov 19 (LSN)  On Wednesday the US National Conference of Catholic Bishops voted overwhelmingly to approve a strong “call [to] our fellow citizens back to our country’s founding principles, and most especially to renew our national respect for the rights of those who are unborn, weak, disabled and terminally ill.” The statement drafted by seven of the eight US cardinals was approved in a vote of 217 to 30. The bishops stressed that “abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and   They are committed against those who are weakest and most defenseless, those who are genuinely “the poorest of the poor.”  In a particular appeal directed at the proponents of human rights who exclude the preborn in their rights agendas, the NCCB said “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights – for example,  the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” The Bishops also said that “Catholic public officials who disregard Church teaching on the inviolability of the human person indirectly collude in the taking of innocent life.”  In this most edifying letter, the leaders of the Catholic Church in the US condemned arguments advocating personal opposition to abortion by politicians who are yet unwilling to “force their religious views onto the wider society.” The letter also fought the notion that the defense of life could be avoided on grounds of its unpopularity and risk of societal reprimands. “The Gospel of Life must be proclaimed, and human life defended,  in all places and all times,” they wrote, including in the “voting booth.”  Answering other concerns the NCCB said “direct abortion is never a morally tolerable option. It is always a grave act of violence against a woman and her unborn child.” Of euthanasia and assisted suicide the bishops noted that “they always gravely exploit the suffering and desperate,” and “are never acceptable acts of mercy.”  The Catholic leaders did not shy away from the reality that abortion is “responsible for the grief of millions of women and men, and the killing of millions of unborn children in the past quarter century.” They warned that infanticide was “a predictable next step along the continuum of killing.”  To see the full text of the NCCB statement go to: