ROME — A top Vatican official on life issues called the demonstrations sweeping across the U.S. this week against abortion a historic witness to the sanctity of human life.
“These marches for life that are taking place across the United States are very important, not only for the country, but for the whole world,” Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told Catholic News Agency Jan. 23.
“These events which favor human life without limits, from conception until the end, have become a very important historical reference for all other Catholic countries worldwide,” he added.
“And if we talk about the Vatican as another face of the Church, then we can say the Church supports these marches in the whole world, because the participants are the Church themselves.”
From coast to coast, pro-life marches and rallies in America continue to mark the week of Jan. 22 as the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade — the Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized abortion throughout the nation.
According to the 75-year-old Spanish bishop, the Vatican aims to help those who are on the front lines of the cultural battle to defend life. The Holy See “is well aware that these actions have become very visible in the world, especially in the United States,” he said.
The Pontifical Academy for Life will be holding its annual assembly next month, where all its members from abroad will meet in Rome. The annual meeting features guest speakers, and this year’s theme will be on “faith and human life.”
“Our talk will relate to this because it’ll cover not only the defense of human life, but love for human life,” said Bishop de Paula, who has served the academy since 1994 and was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as its president in 2010.
“Life is worth living, and there are a lot of people who need to be told that.”
Despite the devastation of 40 years of legalized abortion in the U.S., he noted, it has also helped raise awareness of the value of human life.
“Many women have reacted by rebelling ... saying they don’t accept this, and they want to do what is possible to change with, of course, specific means,” he added. “I really believe that, like slavery, we will be able to eradicate abortion eventually.”
At the same time, he qualified, abortion legalization has had a profoundly negative impact on the social value of maternity.
“Abortion doesn’t help women when they are in need of most support, and then it becomes a fountain of interior suffering,” he added. “We’ve been created by God to be happy, and what abortion does is simply the opposite.”
The Academy for Life has studied in depth the trauma that abortion can cause in women, often many years after the procedure.
“The consequences include a very large umbrella, with a minority of women who hardly notice they’ve had an abortion and others who develop serious disorders,” said the former director of the Bioethics Institute of the University of the Sacred Heart in Rome.
“Women can have anxiety neurosis, depression and even more serious disorders, especially with personalities, with a predisposition to a psychotic disorder,” he added.
Women who undergo abortions are themselves victims, especially when doctors advise them to undergo an abortion, he said. “Sometimes women are just not able to defend themselves from certain situations.”