Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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January 23, 2013

Church: Even legal abortion has deep impact

JACKSONVILLE — Forty years ago on Jan. 22, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade in favor of establishing abortion as a legal right of women, resulting in an estimated 55 million abortions during that period.

While it may provide a woman in a crisis pregnancy a viable option, it also has a deeper impact on patient and community, said Father Mark Kus-mirek, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Jacksonville.

“I'm not a professional of demographics, but how many of those children would have grown and had children of their own?” he asked. “How would have affected of our culture? So many abortions occur among low-income families and minorities, how would demographics from what we see today?”

President Barack Obama issued a statement reaffirming the decision's commitment to "reproductive freedom" and the principle that "government should not intrude on our most private family matters, and women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care,” according to an Associated News report.

However, reproductive-rights think tank Gutt-macher Institute of New York reports that in 2011 and 2012, some 30 states created laws designed in nature to restrict access to abortion, and in Texas, Republican Gov. Rick Perry informed lawmakers of his desire to move toward his goal of making abortion "at any stage a thing of the past” in 2013, AP reported.

In Texas, 208 abortions are performed daily, and like their counterparts throughout the state, the local Knights of Columbus council has set up an corresponding number of white crosses on church property as part of a Cemetery of Innocents recognizing those lost lives.

The Catholic Church also offers a ministry called Rachel Project “for women who have had abortions who have great remorse for their actions,” Father Mark said.

“A number of times women have come to me and spoke with incredible sadness when they realized it was their child whose life they chose to end. It's a tremendous thing,” he said, explaining that Rachel Project helps these women “find healing, because abortion has a long lasting effect.

“It may be quick, painless and harmless at the moment, but there's consequences for each and every one of our actions,” he said.

In Jacksonville, women in crisis pregnancy can find assistance through Living Alternatives, whose website describes it as a Christian-based center founded in 1982 by Bev-erly Kline. Living Altern-atives is comprised of “six distinct areas of ministry which facilitates forming loving families and rebuilding broken families through compassion, care, and counsel,” according to the website.

Living Alternatives also helps women by offering them the option of placing their child up for adoption through its “Loving Alternatives” ministry.

The Gabriel Project also ministers to women in crisis pregnancy, and is a ministry of the Catholic church.

“I have no idea of what the cost of raising a child is nowadays, but I'm sure it's immense (and) in our current economic climate, there's struggling, but how do you take it out on a child's life? We have to trust God. It's not just fetal matter or a zygote. (Roe V. Wade) just goes on separating sexuality from responsibility (and creates a mentality that there is an) ability to dispose of a child easily,” the priest said.

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