Don’t Pass Amendment Number 759
To the Editor,
The Catholic Church teaches that life itself starts at conception and ends with natural death.
The Massachusetts state legislature is currently debating the annual budget to fund state government for the balance of the fiscal year. As part of that process many amendments are filed for consideration. House amendment number 759 will be considered by the full House in the coming days. This amendment would expand abortion access in the Commonwealth well beyond what is enshrined in state law.
While we acknowledge the amendment addresses some concerns that were raised about the deeply troubling provisions of the ROE legislation, the fact remains that abortion would remain an option under certain circumstances for the full term of the pregnancy. That fact alone is in direct conflict with Catholic teaching and must be opposed.
In addition, current law requires a young woman under the age of 18 years old to gain the consent of a parent, guardian or the court to have an abortion. The amendment under consideration would decrease the age of consent to 16 years old. In its simplest terms, a 16 or 17 year old girl would be deprived of the guidance and support of an adult at the time of making this life changing decision.
Finally, although life-supporting equipment would be required to be in the room for abortions performed after 24 weeks, the specific language in the amendment is nuanced enough that the physician would not be required to use the equipment. Specifically, it would “enable” the physician performing the abortion to take appropriate steps, in keeping with good medical practice….to preserve the life and health of a live birth and the patient.
For these reasons we urge the full House of Representatives not to pass amendment number 759.
Seán P. O’Malley,
Archbishop of Boston
Robert J. McManus
Bishop of Worcester
Edgar M. da Cunha,
of Fall River
History is watching
To the Editor:
The Chelsea Ward 2 Democrats recently sent this letter to leaders of the Massachusetts state and local Republican Committees. We call on them to immediately accept the results of the election.
We are sure you agree that by all measures the election was a rousing success: record turnout, no substantiated claims of fraud or irregularities, and surprisingly few hiccups in light of all the changes made necessary by the pandemic. Although President-Elect Biden and Vice President- Elect Harris ultimately won the popular vote and electoral college, it is clear Republicans have much to be proud of: picking up seats in the House, losing relatively few in the Senate, and earning the second highest number of votes in history. As proud as we are of our victories, we congratulate you for yours.
However, the most important win of all—the victory of our democratic system during these difficult times—is now at risk. Since before the election, Donald Trump has made it clear he does not consider the peaceful transfer of power to be his responsibility. Indeed, he went so far as to claim the only outcome of a free and fair election would be for him to be declared a winner. As party leaders, we trust you do not need to be told that elected leaders do not appoint themselves. We voters decide. Though our electoral system is unique among democracies, it has served our country without major incident—until now.
Not only does Donald Trump refuse to concede the election, he has doubled-down with a series of baseless allegations and conspiracy theories notably absent of specifics or evidence.
Normally, one would expect the president’s party to roundly condemn such behavior. But instead, the Republican Party has supported it, holding slapdash press conferences and calling on election officials in its own party to resign. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has gone so far as to offer up to $1 million out of his own campaign to those who provide evidence of election fraud. One has to wonder, if reports of fraud are so numerous and egregious, why buy them?
And while claims from the Trump campaign and administration of irregularities and fraud have come at a dizzying speed, they have been dismissed and debunked just as quickly in the courts.
The Trump campaign’s claim that that Republican poll observers were denied the ability to observe the ballot counting in Pennsylvania was shown to be baseless when attorneys for the Trump campaign had to admit—under threat of sanction by the court—that Republican observers were, in fact, present. In Arizona, the Republican’s lawsuit was so feeble they requested evidence be placed under seal, lest the public realize what a sham it has been all along. Your party’s concerns were concocted wholesale to begin with, but they were addressed all the same. Drop them.
Particularly galling is the insult to hard-working Americans implied by the Republican Party. The Party has styled itself as the voice of the working class. Yet, this year, when we have discovered the quiet heroism of the truck driver, grocery store clerk, nurse, and nursing home worker who have bravely worked through the pandemic, Republicans dare to claim these very people have been the perpetrators of fraud and negligence at polling places across the country. It is difficult to imagine how you could hold these Americans—the hard-working, civically-minded volunteers who served as poll workers and ballot counters—in such contempt. Never mind the voter.
We all know this is no way to run a democracy. The people have spoken. It was a hard-fought election, and in some states, the count was close. But the voters’ will is clear: the American people have had it with the erosion of democratic norms, the chaos, and deadly incompetence this administration has brought upon it. Throughout our history when a candidate loses, the candidate concedes, and the candidate leaves.
However, your party continues to call our democratic form of government into doubt. Not with evidence, and rarely even with specific claims. Rather, they are couched in the language of innuendo and conspiracy. The “just sayin’” type of smear that is easily backed away from when confronted with reason and decency.
This is the coward’s gambit, and we call on it to stop.
These antics threaten our democratic system and risk a delayed transition. In a time of a poorlymanaged pandemic, economic collapse, and international rivals eager to capitalize on the chaos the current administration has wrought, our country cannot afford to indulge in partisan fever dreams.
We applaud Governor Baker’s principled denunciation of these White House stall tactics. We call on all Republicans to immediately do the same.
We call on Republicans to hold their leaders accountable. To remind them that no political party matters absent democracy, and a leader who undermines it and his oath to protect the constitution is not one worth the lying and subterfuge he demands of you—even if he does happen to share your party affiliation.
To individual registered Republicans and independents: All of us have had friends and loved ones who have registered and voted Republican. We have known them to be community-minded, hard-working, and loving individuals. Although we may have had policy disagreements, we have known them to be fair and decent people. We know that is likely true of you, as well.
Like so many, you may be considering leaving the Republican party due to its cruel, xenophobic, incompetent turn. Our hope is that the Republican party will again rise to the call to govern, rather than blindly pursue its own power. If it does not, we call on you to consider if this is the party for you. As we all know, you are the company you keep. And when a party behaves the way this party has, harms the country the way it has, and now threatens our democracy the way that it is, it reflects poorly on all who associate with it.
If you find our platform appealing, we invite you. We also recognize your beliefs might differ, and our party might not be right for you. We do not believe a one-party system to be best for the country, and we urge you to consider joining or forming third party alternatives if ours does not suit you. We believe America is at its best when those with differing views come together to collaborate, cooperate, and legislate. We need a party willing to engage in these differences honestly and in good faith. We are losing confidence that the current Republican Party will be able to. Perhaps it will come around once the Biden-Harris administration is inaugurated. If so, we would be relieved. If not, we invite you to consider your options, and the role you wish to play in history.
We close by reminding Republican leaders that the world is watching. History is watching. On January 20, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be inaugurated. Whether you spend these few short weeks cooking up new fantasies and conspiracies or attending to the needs of Americans is entirely up to you. The health of our democracy, however, is not. Decent Americans will protect it. We will protect it. We call on you to put an end to the chaos, stop your campaign of deceit and delusion, and return to the democratic norms that have served our country so well for centuries. Democracy and decency demand you do so immediately.
It is time for Donald Trump to step aside and allow for the peaceful transition of power. Our public health, economic well-being, and national security depend on it, as does the health of our democracy.
Chelsea Ward 2
Chelsea Ward 2
Chelsea Ward 2