Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June of this year regarding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which reversed the precedent set in the 1973 ruling in Roe V. Wade, the decision on abortion rights and laws fell to the states. Upon the announcement, trigger laws in 13 states, including Tennessee, took effect banning abortions.
But that hasn’t stopped legislative bodies throughout the state from trying to find ways around the new law.
The latest resolution, which is scheduled to be considered by the Metro Council in Nashville on Tuesday, Oct. 4, seeks to move $500,000 from three government accounts to create a “Family Planning Services” account, which will fund a grant to Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi. Among the services this grant would help fund are those “related to abortion navigation for individuals seeking abortion care in states outside of Tennessee,” according to official resolution documents.
Since 1976, because of the U.S. Congress’ Hyde Amendment, the use of tax dollars to fund abortions has been strictly prohibited, making this upcoming effort in our state ironic as it will cause the exact opposite.
The largest share of the grant, $300,000, would come from a fund that helps keep traffic on Nashville streets safe and instead would be used to facilitate abortions.
From its beginning, the Catholic Church has stood by the human dignity of all, respecting their right to life from conception to natural death.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes the stance on abortion clear. “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.”
In recent decades, there has only been growing scientific evidence that has shown that life truly does begin at the moment of conception, and advances in science and medicine have allowed babies the ability to survive earlier and earlier outside the womb. There has been no clear, unchangeable expression of viability, meaning there is no rational point to make in the distinction on a unique, individual life beyond the point of conception, except for the purpose of nourishment and development time, ensuring the child’s ability to thrive at the time of its birth.
On Sept. 15, 2021, during a press conference mid-flight as he returned from a visit to Slovakia, Pope Francis boldly condemned the act of abortion as “murder.”
“Whoever commits an abortion, murders,” he said. “Take any book on embryology, those books on medicine. At the third week of conception, many times before a mother even realizes it, all the organs are there. All of them, even their DNA.
“It is a human life. Period,” the pope added. “And this human life must be respected. This principle is very clear.”
As Catholics, it is our responsibility to continually stand up for the right to life from conception to natural death, no matter what the circumstance. That means not just advocating for the life of the child, who is made in the image and likeness of the creator from conception, but actively working to support mothers in crisis or unplanned pregnancies.
In 2014, several of our Catholic leaders in the state, including the late Bishop David Choby and Knoxville Bishop Richard Stika, were instrumental in passing Amendment One in the state constitution which gave no state constitutional right to abortion. But if this resolution is passed, our tax dollars will be used to fund them. And that’s something that we as Catholics, who stand with the Church in the support of the dignity of life, should not be forced to do.