Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Local student helps organize pro-life conference

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Since 1974, the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. has served as both a platform and a rallying point for pro-life supporters worldwide. Each year, near the anniversary of the decision of Roe v. Wade, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have flooded our nation’s capital to stand in solidarity and peacefully voice their pro-life platform.

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Public Health Committee to Holding Public Hearing on Physician-Assisted Suicide

CONNECTICUT- The Public Health Committee will be holding a public hearing on H.B. 5898 “An Act Concerning Aid In Dying for Terminally Ill Patients”, which supports the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Connecticut. The hearing is scheduled for Monday. March 18th, at 10:30 a.m.. in Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. This is the sixth year that such legislation has been proposed by the General Assembly. The Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference will keep our Network membership informed as this proposal progresses through the legislature.

The Catholic Bishops of Connecticut, along with members of the health care and disability communities strongly oppose this legislation for various reasons. These groups believe that the right of individual choice is far overshadowed by the potential negative impact of this legislation upon our society. The advocates of physician-assisted suicide call it “aid-in-dying” in an effort to remove the negative connotations of the word “suicide”, but the passage of physician-assisted suicide would be bad public policy and would create a terrible precedent in Connecticut.

The Catholic Conference does not support keeping a patient alive by extraordinary means against that patient’s will. We support true aid-in-dying, which is hospice and palliative care. What we oppose is licensing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs for the purpose of taking a human life, prescribing suicide as a treatment.

Please take note that under physician-assisted suicide laws existing in several other states, the doctor prescribes the deadly medication, but is usually not present when the patient administers it to themselves. In fact, in a large number of cases, no medical professional is present. Additionally, the highest ranking reason patients have committed physician-assisted suicide is not due to pain, but to no longer be a burden to the family or a decline in their quality of life. The presentation by the proponents of this legislation that most people take advantage of this type of law to escape unbearable pain is not supported by the facts. Quality hospice and palliative care are the
keys to truly compassionate end-of-life care.

Read important questions and answers on this issue by clicking here.

We are seeking your assistance in defeating this legislation in the Public Health Committee. Listed below are several ways to have your voice heard on this issue.

1) Use our Grassroots Action Center to send an e-mail directly to your state senator and state representative by clicking on the link at the bottom of this message.  We have provided a basic statement, but please either put the message in your own words or add a brief introduction and conclusion! Personalized messages have a much greater impact. Let our legislators know that you want them to vote NO on H.B. 5898.

2) In addition to your own legislators, contact the members of the Public Health Committee now and ask them to vote NO on H.B. 5898. Their contact information can be found here.

3) Attend the public hearing on Monday, March 18th, and testify against the physician-assisted suicide bill. If you cannot attend, you may send testimony by email tophtestimony@cga.ct.gov  Here is additional information on the hearing:

The Public Health Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday, March 18, 2019 at 10:30 A.M. in Room 1Dof the LOB. The Committee is accepting electronic testimony via email at phtestimony@cga.ct.gov. Please submit electronic testimony in Word or PDF format no later than 12:00 P.M. on Saturday, March 16, 2019. If you are unable to submit electronic testimony, please submit one copy of written testimony no later than 8:30 A.M. on Monday, March 18, 2019 in Room 3000 of the LOB. Please submit separate testimony for each bill. All testimony submitted must be related to bills on the agenda. Testimony submitted after the deadline may not be available to Legislators until after the hearing. Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 8:00 A.M. in the First Floor Atrium of the LOB. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Legislators, Constitutional Officers, State Agency Heads and Chief Elected Municipal Officials. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony.

Click the link below to log in and send your message: https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/__tJEYutDbN7tF25M_-sXA 

The New Abortion Battle

STAMFORD—I was deeply saddened this past month to watch the Reproductive Health Act go into effect in New York—an act that is extremely troubling for the future of our most innocent and vulnerable. While NYC celebrated with a pink-lit bridge and building, I was presenting on the future of the abortion industry to a local Legatus chapter. Abortion up until the moment of birth is horrendous but the irony of the act and the future of the abortion industry is this: medical abortion (the abortion pill) is surpassing surgical abortions and the future of abortion will largely take place in the first ten weeks – not up until the point of birth.

According to The State of Abortion in CT – 11th Annual Report medical abortion continues to rise in the state of Conn. In 2007, medical abortion only accounted for 19.8 percent of all abortions performed. Fast forward to 2016 and the percentage has increased to 44.4 percent. This is the trend nationwide according to the National Catholic Register in 2017. Europe is already almost exclusively performing abortion by pill.

If you have been paying attention the battle you will find this to be an even more terrifying shift—and one that has crept frighteningly close to you and me. A few weeks ago, I happened to notice the Plan-B pill behind the counter at my local CVS in Stamford. It’s behind the counter at yours too.

I also experienced the cultural shift from popularity of surgical abortion to medical abortion, through our local sidewalk ministry—a ministry created to help abortion-minded women choose life.

While sidewalk counseling this past October, one woman in particular caught me off guard as she walked past me into the clinic. I had missed the opportunity to engage her because there were no visible signs that led me to believe she was a “woman in crisis.” She was well dressed with perfectly styled hair, emotionally composed and had almost a lightness to her step— which caused me to believe she was a pedestrian on her way to work.

As with the hundreds of women I’ve seen enter that clinic over the years, there was certainly nothing about this particular woman that exhibited qualities often associated with abortion-minded women. An abortion-minded woman can usually be identified by:

  • Baggy/loose/comfortable clothes
  • Emotional, sometimes crying
  • Emotionally drained—appearing as if she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders

This beautiful woman entering the clinic displayed NONE of these signs and so I assumed her to be just another of the many clients entering Planned Parenthood for a well-woman exam.

About 20 minutes later I spotted her leaving the clinic. A surgical abortion will keep a woman in the clinic for several hours – so I knew it couldn’t be an abortion that brought her there that day. As she was passing me, I struck up a conversation—asking her if everything was okay and ultimately attempting to guide her elsewhere for her future medical needs.

She looked confused, so I tried again, “What brought you to Planned Parenthood today?”

She responded, “I was pregnant.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. Did she just say she was pregnant? I quickly adapted my conversation to clarify because if she was pregnant and leaving after only 20 minutes, that could only mean one thing.

I gently asked, “Did you take the abortion pill today?”

She nodded yes.

I knew timing was of the essence and if I could convince her to choose life, there was a possibility we could save the baby using the abortion pill reversal procedure—but I would need her to choose life first. I told her that her baby was still alive and if she had doubts about the abortion, we could reverse it with a good chance the baby would be born completely healthy. We exchanged names and phone numbers and I listened while she shared the reason for the abortion. The father had lost his job. They already had a 12-year-old child and a second baby was not in the plans. I gave her the phone number for the abortion pill reversal hotline and pleaded with her to call.

“How far along are you?” I asked.

“Two months,” she responded.

I implored her to act quickly because the baby could still be saved despite what they might have told her inside the clinic. The woman told me she would speak with the father of the baby, but she gave no indication as to whether or not she would call the reversal hotline.

In the end, I had to entrust the fate of the child to the Lord.

The scary reality illustrated by this story is this: We are not dealing with the same abortion battle of 50 years ago or even five years ago! 

The woman who I encountered exhibited no emotional distress – as if she had no idea what she had done. It used to be that a woman exiting the clinic after a surgical abortion, was highly emotional, tearful, deeply saddened by what she had just undergone physically, emotionally and even spiritually…

But this woman presented herself completely opposite, illustrating that the abortion pill has made the abortion process of today seemingly effortless, simple and unseen for women—and their lack of deep emotional distress before and after the “procedure” is visual evidence as such.

I was deeply disturbed by my encounter that day. I couldn’t help but wonder:

How many other women had I passed, in my day to day, who were in the process of aborting their baby—who had taken the 1st dose and were on their way home to take the 2nd dose, completing the abortion, the next day? Due to the simplicity and ease of access, it’s quite apparent that any woman you encounter could be undergoing an abortion right in front of you. Think about it:

The woman ahead of you in the grocery store checkout line, the woman next to you on the train, a colleague, the teenager behind you at church, your daughter or granddaughter. It is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to tell who may be in the process of having a medical abortion.

The only emotional distress these women will experience will be in the isolation of their bathrooms or bedrooms once the baby passes.

This is the future of abortion.

The abortion pill is the new point of encounter to engage women in a crisis pregnancy and if it’s anything like my experience, we will be operating in the dark.

We must keep our eyes open because the new abortion battle has shifted and not in our favor. We must focus on embracing our young women from the moment of their first well-woman exam and build a relationship with them so that abortion is never the option and doesn’t trickle down to future generations.

Noelle Gross is the Founder of  Project Beloved Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization that exists to establish the first-of-its-kind, life-affirming women’s health center in Connecticut in order to meet the very basic yet unaddressed need for dignified, natural, evidence-based, comprehensive health care.

Cardinal responds to NY abortion expansion law

NEW YORK—It’s been a rough time for faithful Catholics recently in our state government’s frantic rush for “progressive” ideas.

I’m thinking first of the ghoulish radical abortion-expansion law, which allows for an abortion right up to the moment of birth; drops all charges against an abortionist who allows an aborted baby, who somehow survives the scissors, scalpel, saline and dismemberment, to die before his eyes; mandates that, to make an abortion more convenient and easy, a physician need not perform it; and might even be used to suppress the conscience rights of health care professionals not to assist in the grisly procedures. All this in a state that already had the most permissive abortion laws in the country.

As if that’s not enough, instead of admitting that abortion is always a tragic choice, and that life-giving alternatives should be more vigorously promoted, the governor and his “progressive” supporters celebrated signing the bill. At the governor’s command, even the lights of the Freedom Tower sparkled with delight.

Those who once told us that abortion had to remain safe, legal and rare now have made it dangerous, imposed and frequent.

Then our governor insults and caricatures the church in what’s supposed to be an uplifting and unifying occasion, his “State of the State” address.

The bishops of this state have long supported a reform of the inadequate laws around the sexual abuse of minors. Yes, we and many others expressed reservations about one element, the retroactive elimination of the civil statute of limitations, but urged dramatic reform that, in many ways, was tougher than what was being proposed by legislators. A month ago we renewed that stance, and even dropped our objections to the “look-back” section if all victims would benefit. The governor was aware of all this.

Why, then, would he use his address to blame the church, and only the church, for blocking this bill? Why would he publicly brag in a political address about his dissent from timeless and substantive church belief? Why would he quote Pope Francis out of context as an applause line to misrepresent us bishops here as being opposed to our Holy Father? Why did he reduce the sexual abuse of minors, a broad societal and cultural curse that afflicts every family, public school, religion and government program, to a “Catholic problem?”

I’m a pastor, not a politician, but I feel obliged to ask these questions, as daily do I hear them from my people, as well as colleagues from other creeds. I’ve been attacked in the past when I asked — sadly and reluctantly — if the party that my folks proudly claimed as their own, the Democrats, had chosen to alienate faithful Catholic voters. Now you know why I asked.

As an American historian, I am very aware of our state’s past record of scorn and sneers at Catholics. It used to be called “know-nothings.” Now it’s touted as “progressivism.”

Genuine progressives work to pass a “DREAM act,” a “voters rights act,” a “prison reform act,” and we pastors of the church pitch in to support them. That’s government at its best. I pray that spirit returns.

By Timothy Cardinal Dolan  |  New York Post