Jan 21, 2010
Jan. 22 is the 37th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decisions Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton. To mark that infamous day, Jan. 22 is observed as a day of prayer and penance for violations against the dignity of the human person committed through abortion and for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass for Peace and Justice from “Masses for Various Needs” found in the Sacramentary is to be celebrated with violet vestments. This year, of course, Jan. 22 falls on Friday.
Beyond the Mass, no specific prayers are prescribed. The acts of penance urged can take a variety of forms, but fast and abstinence from meat are the time-honored forms of penance in the Catholic Church.
As a result of these two Supreme Court decisions, no significant barriers to abortion exist today in the United States during any stage of pregnancy. Roe vs. Wade appeared to create some limitations, but Doe vs. Bolton removed those limitations by providing a “health” exception so broad that abortion is allowed for any reason.
Over the years, an increasing number of people have become convinced that Roe vs. Wade (Doe vs. Bolton is part of the picture) is bad law, bad medicine and bad social policy, in addition to being profoundly immoral.