Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Like so many others, I have been shocked and offended by the recent series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the harvesting and sale of tissue and organs from aborted children.
These practices reflect what Pope Francis calls the “throwaway culture” — one that treats human life as a commodity to be used and discarded when it’s no longer considered useful. It’s a dangerous mentality that preys on the weakest, poorest and most vulnerable members of society, including unborn children, whose parts sadly become more valuable than their personhood.
Planned Parenthood would like the public to believe that such claims are a fabrication, that it provides a valuable service to women and to scientific research. But there is nothing valuable or redeeming about intentionally ending an innocent human life for the purported benefit of others.
Pope Francis reminds us: “Every unborn child … has the face of the Lord.” Each child is a gift from God and needs to be loved, respected and protected, even in challenging circumstances. There are better, life-affirming alternatives available for scientific research and for those needing help with crisis pregnancies. Our diocesan Office of Marriage and Family, for example, maintains a list of pro-life pregnancy care options on its website (omf.stcdio.org) along with information about Project Rachel, an outreach that provides hope, mercy and healing to those who have been involved in an abortion.
My hope is that some good can come from these videos. They shine a light on the dark reality of the abortion business. They have prompted conversations about the need to change public policies, including prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars in support of organizations that promote abortion.
An effort supported by the U.S. bishops to defund Planned Parenthood (S. 1881) recently failed in the Senate. But a similar measure is likely to come up for a vote in the House when it returns from its recess. I encourage you to contact your congressional representatives and tell them to support efforts to fund women’s health care providers that don’t provide abortions.
Please join me in praying for people involved with abortion, and those who support the abortion industry, that they will have their hearts and minds changed in favor of a culture of life that respects the human dignity of every person from conception to natural death.
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of St. Cloud