Our nation continues to be divided over abortion. The Catholic Church’s position in opposition to the liberal abortion regime initiated in our country since Roe v. Wade has been clear and unwavering. Despite the public dissent of some “cultural” Catholics, no Catholic can assert that support for legalized abortion is coherent with Church teachings.
Nevertheless, both those who identify themselves either as pro-life or pro-choice should be able to agree that a parent’s first responsibility is to nurture and protect his or her child. As a society we have long honored the unique role that parents play in the lives of their children.
Parents have a natural right that’s recognized in law to direct their child’s education, health decisions, and general welfare. So much so that those laws both protect parental rights, but also hold parents accountable should that responsibility be neglected. It’s a unique partnership that has, at its heart, the defense and protection of children.
Florida law honors the rights of parents by requiring a parent’s consent if a minor child should need medication as simple as an aspirin at school, or some other medical treatment. Parental consent is also required for even mildly invasive physical procedures like tattoos or body piercing. Yet a full surgical procedure like an abortion, which can result in permanent health or psychological damage — or even death — to their minor child, is exempted from this requirement. Furthermore, any medical care that might be required as the result of complications from an abortion would be the financial responsibility of the parents.
Amendment 6 will allow the Florida Legislature to restore rights to parents which will have the ultimate effect of enabling a family to decide together such a personal decision as healthcare for their minor child without the interference of government.
It is unfair to parents to both hold them responsible by law for their child’s health, while on the other hand removing their ability to consent to treatment that puts the life and health of their child at risk.
Amendment 6 would also prohibit the use of state tax funds for abortion.
Any number of national surveys confirms that a majority of Americans feel exactly the same way — including a significant number of those who, while identifying themselves as pro-choice, agree that taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay for someone else’s abortion.
Amendment 6, which bolsters the rights of parents to be involved in medical decisions affecting their minor children, should be supported by all Floridians whether or not they describe themselves as pro-life or pro-choice.
Most Rev. Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami