The Vatican hailed the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, but said it is imperative that people who identify as “pro-life” also fight for other critical life-protecting issues like gun control.
“Being for life always means defending it against the threat of firearms, which unfortunately have become a leading cause of death of children and adolescents in the U.S.,” the Vatican’s editorial director Andrea Tornielli chided Saturday in an essay.
“Pro-life” is not just about opposing abortion, he pointed out. Anti-abortion activists must be concerned with all issues that threaten life, such as easy access to guns, poverty and rising maternity mortality rates, which are alarmingly high in the U.S., Tornielli emphasized.
The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. has climbed from 20.1 deaths of women per 100,000 live births in 2019 to 23.8 per 100,000 in 2020, he noted, citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And “strikingly,” maternal mortality rates are three times higher for Black women in the U.S., Tornielli added.
“Being for life, always, means asking how to help women welcome new life,” he added, noting that that 75% of women in America who have abortions live in poverty or are low-wage earners. And only 16% of workers in private industry have paid parental leave, he added.
“We can hope … that the debate on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling will not be reduced to an ideological confrontation, but will prompt all of us … to reflect on what it means to welcome life, to defend it, and to promote it with appropriate legislation,” Tornielli emphasized.
The U.S. Conference of Bishops and the Vatican’s Academy for Life praised the Supreme Court ruling on Friday. But the Academy for Life also called for social changes to help women keep their children.
Pope Francis celebrated families on Saturday, but didn’t mention the ruling. And he warned families not to be “poisoned by the toxins of selfishness, individualism [and] today’s culture of indifference and waste.”