The Bishops' Conference of Uruguay is calling on locals to use every means possible to repeal a new law legalizing abortion.
They called the measure, which passed on Oct. 23, “a clear step backwards for our country, which founded its existence upon respect for freedom, defense of the life of every human being and solidarity with those who are weakest.”
In a statement issued at the conclusion of their Plenary Assembly, the bishops said the new law signed by President Jose Mujica “harms the national tradition in the deepest way and does not offer any solutions,” because it does not protect the mother and “it diminishes the rights and responsibilities of the father.”
“Human life is an inalienable right enshrined in our Constitution and in the San Jose Pact, which our country ratified,” they said. Moreover, “It dishonors the medical vocation and creates the possibility for discrimination in health care workers and health care institutions.”
“In the face of this situation that has been created,” they added, “It continues to be the duty of the Catholic laity and men and women of good will to work to achieve that our legislation respects the right of human life from the moment of conception.”
The bishops also noted that consciences of doctors and other health care workers should be respected and those who conscientiously object should not be discriminated against
“As long as the law is not repealed, we believe it should be implemented with extreme caution so as not increase the harm it has already caused.”
They also said that article 10 of the new law merits careful consideration, as those institutions that have an ideological objection to abortion because of their own identity must be respected.
“We are warning of the injustice and inequality in this article that denies future health care institutions the right to ideologically object.”
“A child is always a blessing from God and a generous investment in an aging country like Uruguay,” the bishops emphasized.
“For this reason the Church in Uruguay has protected the life of the child and the mother in difficulties, both through her constant teaching as well as the work of diverse institutions.”