To: Members of Parliament Senators
In reply to a number of inquiries about the difficult matter of abortion legislation, I wish to offer the following in the name of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The teaching of the Catholic Church, as well of other churches and groups opposing any attack on human life after conception, is meant to help form the consciences of all people, including law-makers who must strive to find ways to enshrine that teaching as best they can in the actual process of lawmaking. In this process, efforts along the lines of Senator Haidasz’s bill are to be encouraged.
The three options for new abortion legislation which are presented in the Government’s motion on the Order Paper are all objectionable from the standpoint of Catholic teaching. Amendment A, however, is the least objectionable.
In forming their consciences, legislators should take serious account of the concern expressed by many pro-life Members of Parliament that abstention from voting, because the perfect law has not been presented, may indirectly contribute to the passage of the Government’s main motion which allows for the totally unacceptable gestational approach.
We call on all people of goodwill to continue to work and pray for the best possible law. No matter what law is put in place, we will continue to teach the moral obligation to respect and safeguard life from conception to natural death.
These points were approved by the Permanent Council of the CCCB meeting June 15-16, 1988.
JAMES M. HAYES
Archbishop of Halifax
President of the CCCB