Affirming the right to life
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bishop Basil Essey
It has been brought to my attention that Planned Parenthood, a group under investigation by the U.S. Congress, is contemplating opening five new facilities in central Nebraska over the next few years, with Kearney — the city where the oldest parish in my diocese is located — is on the list of possible sites.
For 2,000 years, Orthodox Christians have been consistent in their pro-life stance and so stand in opposition to these plans by Planned Parenthood. Here follows a portion of a joint statement issued by the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Bilateral Consultation in the United States, which succinctly sets forth the pro-life position of both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches:
“We feel constrained at this point in history to affirm that the ‘right to life’ implies a right to a decent life and to full human development, not merely to a marginal existence.
“We affirm that the furthering of this goal for the unborn, the mentally retarded, the aging and the underprivileged is our duty on a global as well as a domestic scale.
“We deplore in particular the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision failing to recognize the rights of the unborn — a decision which has led to widespread indiscriminate early abortion.
“We affirm our common Christian tradition with regard to the right of the unborn to life.
“We acknowledge our responsibility to mediate the love of Christ, especially to the troubled expectant mother, and thus make possible the transmission and nurturing of new life and its fully human development.
“We urge our churches and all believers to take a concrete stand on this matter at this time and to exemplify this evangelical imperative in their personal lives and professional decisions.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The author is the bishop of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Founded in 1903, St. George Orthodox Church in Kearney is a part of Essey’s diocese.