The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2012 Respect Life Month statement, in part: "The nationwide death toll from abortions since 1973 is staggering — equal to the entire combined populations of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. Put another way, it is as if every man, woman and child now living in the Gulf Coast states from Texas to Florida, or every person living in the Atlantic Coast states from Maine through Virginia, had perished from the earth.

"And yet the number of deaths alone cannot begin to convey the full impact of the loss to families and to our nation of each unique, unrepeatable human being, who was created with the capacity to love, to learn, to share and contribute to their families and to our country. Nor can numbers convey the depth of grief and pain experienced by the parents and grandparents of aborted children, many of whom contact the Catholic Church’s post-abortion ministry (Project Rachel ministry) for relief from their suffering, for healing, forgiveness and hope.

"Can anyone claim that our country is better off now because of Roe v. Wade than it was 40 years ago? The close bonds, commitments and sacrifices for others, once modeled in families and carried into neighborhoods, civic organizations and communities, have gradually eroded.

"Thankfully, positive signs are emerging that give reason for hope. Polls show that Americans increasingly identify themselves as pro-life. At the state level, the shift has resulted in the passage of scores of pro-life laws in recent years, no doubt contributing to the steady decline in the number of abortions. The youth who have come of age since Blessed Pope John Paul II inaugurated World Youth Day not only embrace the cause of life, they are actively involved in promoting life through social media and services to those in need. …

"By our unflinching defense of human life and religious freedom, by our witness to the transcendent nature of the human person, and by our compassionate service to our brothers and sisters in need, may we spark a renewal of love and commitment to the true good of others. Only a love that seeks to serve those most in need, whatever the personal cost to us, is strong enough to overcome a culture of death and build a civilization worthy of human beings made in God’s image."