On Sunday I was privileged to be in Yonkers for the proclamation of the 4th Annual Respect Life Week.
Here are my remarks:
Your Honor, Mayor Amicone
County Executive Astorino
Bishop Walsh, Rabbi Vinas, my brother priests and Pastor Hassell
Mother Genevieve, Dr. Copolla, Mr. Felicissimo and Advocates for Life.
friends in this noble cause one and all . . .
I am felicissimo — very happy — and honored and inspired to be with you for this proclamation of Respect Life Week in Yonkers.
I am here with esteem for Yonkers, “the City that knows Every Life is Worth Living,” the only municipality in the state that officially commemorates this “Respect Life Week” led by a bold pro-life Mayor, Philip Amicone.
I am here with gratitude to all of you for your loyalty to the most noble cause of all, the protection of the innocent baby in the womb.
I am here as one especially grateful to you because our state and local communities, which I love and now am proud to call home, are less than receptive to our pro-life message, making our efforts all the more urgent and your work all the more heroic.
I come to this Polish center hoping to find some pierogi and kielbasa;
I come this afternoon because the Jets played last night!
Your presence is downright inspirational, everybody.
A couple of weeks ago I went for my physical, and was in the X-ray room. There, as clear as day, was the dramatic warning: “X-rays can be dangerous to your unborn baby. Let the technician know if you are pregnant.”
We all know it, don’t we? We’re not talking about a “fetus,” “a mass of cells,” but a baby. The X-ray technicians know it; the obstetricians who show the sonogram to a mom know it; even the teenage mom on a recent MTV program sympathetic to abortion knew it when she pointed to a little baby and whispered, “Don’t tell me that little baby is just an ‘it.’”
We all know it, yet, right down the hall from the X-ray room with that sign an abortion taking the life of that innocent baby might have been occurring.
Logic, biology, medicine, common sense, reason, American values, and ethics are dramatically on our side; money, marketing, the media, most political leaders, and the chic molders of today’s style are not.
While I hold my head high to be in the company of such distinguished religious leaders, and am grateful for the prophetic role our own Catholic people have held in the pro-life endeavor, the cause to defend the life of the baby in the womb is not primarily a religious issue, is it, even though our shrewd opponents want to reduce it to a narrow minded movement of religious reactionaries to impose their will on a tolerant, enlightened society.
This is not a church issue; this is a civil rights issue, the premier civil rights issue of our day!
All we are asking is that the equal protection of the law promised by our beloved constitution be applied to the pre-born baby.
All we’re promoting is the noble right to life assured in our nation’s foundational documents, which list the right to life first among those inalienable rights no one has the power to take away.
You bet our high moral and biblical convictions inspire us, as they did the brave civil rights leader whose birthday is this week, a minister, Reverend Martin Luther King. He saw the tragic consequences of a wrongheaded Supreme Court Decision — the Dred Scott Decision — which had sadly reduced the black slave to a piece of property whose life was at the mercy of a master’s choice.
And we see the chilling consequences of an equally somber judicial decision — Roe v. Wade — that has reduced the life of the baby in the womb to a piece of chattel whose God-given and constitutionally protected right to life is now contingent upon the baby’s “owner.”
This cannot stand!
we unite as Americans this afternoon eager to restore this premier civil right;
we come together as friends and neighbors sincere in our love and respect for struggling moms and their unborn babies, so eager to assist them;
we gather as no one’s enemy, with no threats, simply believing the truth will set us free, that this great nation will recover its birthright as a guardian, not a taker, of innocent life;
we assemble in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, that towering woman promising a welcome, a new life, to those threatened, conscious that those who are most threatened today are babies in the womb;
and we unite recalling the words of Mother Teresa, at the White House, before a president and guests who blushed at her remark that, “the greatest poverty of all is for a nation to take the life of an innocent unborn baby so we could live as we want.”
Thanks, everybody. Coraggio! Do not be afraid!