The Bishops Conference of Venezuela strongly objected this week to a change in the country’s Penal Code that would legalize abortion and called on Congress to vote against the measure.
The bill before Congress invokes the “right of a woman to the free unfolding of her personality and to not have children when she doesn’t desire to do so,” and it states that abortion should be legal and establishes a time frame for the implementation of the law.
“The Catholic Church deplores and absolutely rejects the proposal to decriminalize abortion through the reform of the Venezuelan Penal Code,” a move sanctioned by the Supreme Court on September 22, the bishops said.
In their message, the bishops issued “a call to conscience to Catholic and non-Catholic lawmakers to vote against (the proposal),” as Congress will make the decision on the proposed reforms.
The bishops underscored that abortion is “a violation of the constitutional right to life and a crime against an innocent and defenseless human being.”
“To voluntarily interrupt the development of a human life through abortion, in whatever form, is to deny a person or citizen his first human right: the right to exist, to live.”
The bishops reminded lawmakers that “the laws of a nation are called to manifest, promote and defend the values upon which social life is based,” and that “the decriminalization or legalization of abortion would mean the abandoning of a fundamental ethical value of all judicial order and of all social life.”
In their statement, the bishops also recalled that “from the moment of conception in the mother’s womb, human life should be recognized and protected.”
Lastly, the bishops exhorted all citizens, no matter what their beliefs or political positions, and especially organizations that defend human rights, to “actively express their rejection of the proposal to decriminalize abortion.”