Pro-Life Advocacy

Every individual, precisely by reason of the mystery of the Word of God who was made flesh (cf. Jn 1:14), is entrusted to the maternal care of the Church. Therefore every threat to human dignity and life must necessarily be felt in the Church's very heart; it cannot but affect her at the core of her faith in the Redemptive Incarnation of the Son of God,  and engage her in her mission of proclaiming the Gospel of life in all the world and to every creature (cf. Mk 16:15).
- St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae

As Catholics we are called to be Pro-Life and take a 'seamless garment' approach to human dignity, respecting the life and dignity of every human being from conception to natural death. Because there are many aspects of human life that need defending, there are many areas of Pro-Life advocacy that need our attention. Below are multiple Pro-Life issues and organizations we can help support financially, prayerfully, and by donating our time. Take some time to learn more about the different issues, find one that you feel God is calling you to support, and learn how you can protect the human dignity of others.

No one political group or social class has a monopoly on concern for Pro-Life issues. Some issues are favored and promoted by those who are politically and socially conservative, while others are favored and promoted by those who are politically and socially liberal. As Catholics, we are called to be attentive to the whole range of issues, rather than directing the bulk of our energy and direction only to those issues and causes that align with our natural political and social inclinations. In fact, it can be spiritually fruitful to strive to put some time and energy into an issue that does not lineup well with my natural inclinations. For example, if I am profoundly conservative I might consider spending some time working against the death penalty and if I am politically liberal I might need to spend more time and energy resisting the evil of abortion. 

As Catholics in Washington State, we have a wonderful Pro-Life advocacy resource in our own backyard. The Washington State Catholic Conference represents the Catholic Bishops in Washington state in their efforts to support Pro-Life public policy and promote the common good. Because they are local to our state, they directly work with public policy and advocacy groups that affect us or those we know personally. For all of the below issues and more, continually check the Washington State Catholic Conference for updates and information.

Beginning of Life Issues

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

 Stem Cell Research is a promising field of work that has the potential to cure many illnesses and diseases. Many stem cells are obtained harmlessly through adult donors, but stem cells can also be obtained from human embryos. Because harvesting these embryonic stem cells involves the killing of a human fetus, the Church considers the use of embryonic stem cells as immoral. 

You can learn more about Embryonic Stem Cell Research on the USCCB website.

Organizations to Support:

John Paul II Medical Research Institute 

Abortion

Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by removing the fetus from the uterus. Because life begins at conception, as our Church has always taught and believed, abortion ends the life of the child and is therefore the unjust taking of a human life.

You can learn more about our Catholic response to abortion on the USCCB website.

Organizations to Support:

Gabriel Project Birthright
PREPARES Project Rachel

Quality of Life Issues

Racism

We are all created as children of God. But there are many people who are not treated as such due to the color of their skin or their ethnicity or national origin. The sin of racism can be seen not only in obvious outward degradation of certain people, but also in societies that favor certain racial groups over others.

You can learn more about our Catholic response to Racism on the USCCB Website.

Organizations to Support

Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center

Human Trafficking

While each person is made in the Image of God, some look to take advantage of others for their own selfish gain. Human Trafficking is the illegal movement of people for the purposes of forced labor, commercial sexual exploitation, or other forms of abuse. This violates the dignity of the person being trafficked and takes away their God-given rights, as well as degrading all who participate in this practice.

You can learn more about our Catholic response to Human Trafficking on the USCCB website.

Organizations to support:

USCCB Anti-Trafficking Program Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center

Mental Illness

Many people in the world struggle with mental illness which diminishes their ability to cope with the demands of life. There is often a large stigma that goes with mental illness that makes people hide it from their loved ones. In order to protect the dignity of those that suffer from mental illness, we must work to normalize the struggles that people go through so they can get the help that they need.

You can learn more about our Catholic response to Mental Illness on the NCPD website.

Organizations to support:

National Catholic Partnership on Disability

Sexism

Many people are treated differently in the world due to their gender. While there is obvious and overt sexism, there is also systemic sexism, where society disregards the human dignity of one sex to favor another.

You can learn more about our Catholic Response to Sexism on the USCCB Website.

Organizations to support:

Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center

Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice is a Pro-Life issue because exploiting God’s Creation, pollution, the depletion of natural resources, destruction of habitat, and climate change destroy the lives of people around the world. This destruction can be felt most by the poor and most vulnerable in our global community. When we fight for Environmental Justice, we also fight for human rights.

You can learn more about our Catholic response to Environmental Justice on the USCCB website.

Organizations to support:

Global Catholic Climate Movement 

Immigration and Refugees

Refugees are individuals that are forced to leave their country due to unlivable situations, war, persecution, or natural disasters. As Catholics, we are called to help our neighbors in need, including those who are not from our country. Our bounty leaves us in an excellent position to share. 

Similarly, we are called to welcome those that immigrate to the United States for other reasons that fall outside the definition of refugees. Central to our faith is the idea that we are called to welcome the stranger among us.

You can learn more about our Catholic responses to Immigration and Refugees on the USCCB website. More specifically, you can read about the Catholic teachings on a person's right to migration here.

Organizations to Support:

USCCB Migration Committee

Economic Inequality and Poverty

The Catholic Church believes that every country's economic structure should provide the opportunity for all people to live a fruitful life. This means that everyone in a society should have a realistic chance at job security, food, affordable housing, etc. It even goes so far as to say that you can measure an economic system morally by looking at how the poorest and most vulnerable in its midst fare. While some people may still make more than others, all should have access to their basic needs and not have to go without.

You can learn more about Economic Inequality on the USCCB website

Organizations to Support:

St. Vincent de Paul

Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Government Violence Issues

Just War

While peace is always the goal, the Church recognizes that war can be necessary for the pursuit of justice for all. In order to be deemed a just war, the war must be the last resort declared by a lawful authority. It also must be for a just cause, using just means, and with a reasonable likelihood of success. If any of these conditions cannot be met, one cannot enter into a war with right conscience.

You can learn more about our Catholic understanding Just War on the USCCB website. To learn more about Just War Theory, click here. 

Organizations to Support:

Catholic War Veterans & Auxiliary Archdiocese for the Military Services

Capital Punishment 

As Catholics, we believe that everyone has a right to life. Capital punishment, the government putting someone to death, takes that right away from someone. While there are many punishments for crimes that protect society from perpetrators, no action deserves death as a consequence.

You can learn more about Capital Punishment on the USCCB website.

Organizations to Support:

Catholic Mobilizing Network

End of Life Issues

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Physician-Assisted Suicide allows people with a terminal illness to ask for a lethal dose of medicine from a doctor, which is then voluntarily self-administered by the patient.  While it may be the wish of some patients, it is considered immoral by the Catholic Church. This is because it “promotes a narrow and extorted notion of freedom, by creating an expectation that certain people, unlike others, will be served by being helped to choose death” (To Live Each Day With Dignity 3).

You can learn more about Assisted Suicide on the USCCB website

Organizations to Support:

Catholic Health Association 

Euthanasia

Similar to Physician-Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia is a patient or family asking to end their life early due to suffering or terminal disease. Instead of the lethal dose being self-administered by the patient, Euthanasia refers to another person, often a physician or other healthcare provider, intentionally playing a direct role in the death of the patient. The Church is against every kind of Euthanasia, whether voluntary or not. Not only does it call into question a person's right to life, but it allows someone to have an active hand in killing a person.

You can learn more about our Catholic response to Euthanasia on the USCCB website

Organizations to Support:

Catholic Health Association