Abortion opponents marking the huge annual March for Life in Washington on Thursday and anticipating legislative gains by a Republican-dominated Congress were thrown into disarray after GOP leaders unexpectedly withdrew an anti-abortion bill that had been seen as a done deal.
Opposition to the legalization of abortion
Attorneys for pro-lifers have decided not to do anything yet about the new buffer zone law around abortion facilities that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed July 30.
But they took issue with the law on various fronts.
"We believe the new buffer zone law is a backdoor attempt to interfere with the constitutional right of free speech in the service of women seeking abortion, whose minds are not made up, women who are looking for the hope, help and love which is Eleanor McCullen's mantra," and that of other sidewalk counselors, said attorney Philip D. Moran.
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that 35-foot buffer zones around abortion clinics meant to keep demonstrators away violates First Amendment rights.
Making a Difference: Catholic social teaching calls us to especially act and speak out on behalf of the vulnerable and poor. "Only in this direction will you find justice."
Pope Francis reiterated his strong opposition to abortion on April 25, saying it "compounds the grief of many women" already succumbing to what he called the "pressures of secular culture."
The pope's remarks, to a group of bishops from South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland, represented a departure of sorts for Francis, who has kept a relative silence on the issue as he tries to redirect the church's energies toward combating poverty and income inequality.
Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston said he was surprised at West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's veto of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have prohibited nonmedical crisis abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization.
Tomblin vetoed the bill late Friday.
"I am very surprised by Gov. Tomblin's veto of the Pain-Capable Act," the bishop said. "For most West Virginians, this is bitter news, especially on the heels of the governor's use of his ability to veto budgeted items to cut benefits to poor children and families in West Virginia."
A Spanish bishop urged medical personnel to stop performing abortions, as new church-backed legal restrictions passed their first parliamentary hurdle.
"Those who assist with abortions are seen as automatically excommunicated because the church wants to defend the weak," said Madrid Auxiliary Bishop Juan Martinez Camino.
Braving near-record low temperatures, thousands of young people from across the United States gathered in Washington for the 41st annual March for Life.