Since 1972, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has declared the first Sunday of October as the start of Respect Life Month, and today marked the kickoff of this year’s celebration, and is themed around Pope Francis’ 2013 statement that “Each of us is a masterpiece of God’s creation.”
Cardinal Sean O’Malley, O.F.M., chair of the USCCB, released a statement explaining why it is important to respect all life, and also why this year’s theme was chosen:
We want to be part of a society that makes affirmation and protection of human rights its primary objective and its boast. Yet to women faced with an unexpected pregnancy, abortion is often presented as their only “choice.” A large percentage of children pre-diagnosed as having Down syndrome are never given the chance to live outside their mothers’ wombs. Elderly members of our families fear they will become burdensome and seek physician assisted suicide. We see these and many more of our brothers and sisters pushed to the periphery.