Bishop Pfeifer asks Supreme Court to recognize ‘personhood’ of the unborn

Bishop Pfeifer asks Supreme Court to recognize ‘personhood’ of the unborn



U.S. Supreme Court building / Steven Frame/Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 26, 2022 / 12:45 pm (CNA).

An emeritus Texas bishop is asking the Supreme Court to explicitly affirm the personhood of the unborn child in the womb.

“While the Supreme Court should be praised for overturning Roe v. Wade, it did not go far enough,” Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI, bishop emeritus of San Angelo, said of the court’s decision that leaves abortion up to the states. “Now as a follow-up to this pro-life decision, the Supreme Court must recognize explicitly fetal personhood.”

In a September statement, Pfeifer called on the court to recognize the personhood of the unborn under the 14th Amendment to ensure that no state will “deprive any person of life, liberty, [or] property without due process of the law.”

“Affirming the fetal personhood is totally in accord with medical science, which over and over in recent years recognizes that there is a new human being in the act of conception — which has always been our biblical belief,” he wrote. “Hence as we move into the future after Roe v. Wade, governments and courts at a national and state level must respect and protect the tiny unborn person made in God’s very image and must never be deprived of life and liberty.”

Pfeifer, who served as Bishop of San Angelo from 1985 to 2013, criticized the “negative forces at a presidential and congressional level” proposing bills and policies “to approve the terrible killing of the unborn through abortion.”

Earlier this year, Pfeifer called on his fellow bishops to hold President Joe Biden accountable and take action against pro-abortion policy in favor of pro-life measures that support women and the unborn. More specifically, in April he encouraged the bishops to respond after Biden’s proposed 2023 budget removed pro-life protections.

Pfeifer’s latest statement came ahead of Respect Life Month, which the U.S. bishops celebrate in October. Pfeifer told CNA that Catholics and pro-life Americans with their children, family members, and friends “have countless opportunities, especially in the pro-life month of October, to show respect for the sacred personhood of each one, especially for the unborn, whose moms might be considering an abortion.”

“They do this by the kindness they show one another, especially for a pregnant mom,” he said. “They can do this by praying together, taking time to share with one another about needs, and by reaching out with loving hearts and caring helpful hands, especially for those who struggle and feel left out.”

In his statement, he likewise encouraged the pro-life movement to take action — and promote personhood.

“Now is the time for all pro-lifers, led by the bishops and leaders in government and civil positions, to strongly and clearly preach and protect this fundamental life issue of the sacredness of the personhood beginning with the unborn,” he said.

If the personhood of the unborn is recognized, he added, that could make way for a nationwide abortion ban.

At the same time, Pfeifer called on the faithful to pray to the Holy Spirit and encourage all pro-lifers — beginning with the bishops — to show more concern for women struggling with pregnancy problems.

“Pope Francis stresses the closeness, compassion, and tenderness we must have for all pregnant women and those considering an abortion decision and offer them spiritual, human, health, and financial means to assist them with their many needs and to encourage them to save their babies,” he said. “And we must work with our elected officials to provide the proper aid to cover the cost of the birth, and the early and ongoing care and education of their children.”

“God created the human person in the divine image and likeness as the pinnacle of all creation,” he concluded. “Each of us, including the unborn, share in the image of God’s glory. Human life as a gift from God is sacred and inviolable.”

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