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Bishop Burbidge Explains Support for Woman’s Right to Know Act

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Governor Beverly Perdue’s veto of the Woman’s Right to Know Act has drawn strong reaction from the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, and the Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of Charlotte. In a joint letter to the Governor, the Bishops labeled the veto a “grave disappointment” and pledged to work with lawmakers to garner sufficient support to override the veto.

On June 29, 2011, Bishop Burbidge submitted a letter to the News & Observer requesting that it be printed in The People’s Forum section of the newspaper. Below is Bishop Burbidge’s letter, which was printed on June 30. The Bishops are requesting the faithful in their Dioceses to contact lawmakers asking them to vote to override the Governor’s veto when they return to the legislature in mid July. Information on contacting the legislators is available at Catholic Voice North Carolina.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge
Letter to The People’s Forum
Printed in June 30, 2011 edition
Raleigh News & Observer

The North Carolina General Assembly recently passed the Woman’s Right to Know Act, but sadly, it was vetoed this week by Governor Perdue.

This important legislation proposes a waiting period of 24 hours in order to give a woman considering abortion the time to consider the risks, view an ultrasound image and know of the support options that may be available, thereby greatly assisting women and families during this very difficult time.

It is essential that the dignity of women including the young, the poor and the most vulnerable, be affirmed through the provisions this legislation provides, especially those who are in need of time and adequate information when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. This step is critical as so many women, who have become wounded by the experience of abortion, describe this event as “life altering,” with many harboring pain and unresolved grief for decades.

The opponents of this Bill claim that women have completely prepared themselves and have thought through this difficult decision when they arrive at the abortion clinic. But, rarely, if at all, is that the case. More often than not, the first contact a pregnant woman has with a physician may be a few minutes prior to the procedure, when little, if any substance regarding the procedure itself, its effect or other important information can be conveyed. Thus, having the needed information and the appropriate time to reflect upon it would greatly assist women.

The Catholic Church stands as a witness to welcome, defend and respect all human life, from the moment of conception to natural death. As a Church, we reach out to support couples and single parents, who are pregnant and in need of assistance, through ministries such as Catholic Charities and Gabriel Project. And when a post abortive woman seeks assistance in her time of need, she is encouraged to participate in Project Rachel, a post-abortion ministry which supports women through the emotional and grief healing process.

An abortion is a decision which cannot be reversed. Thus, I strongly urge those in the General Assembly to truly support the women of our state by overriding the Governor’s veto and passing the Women’s Right to Know Act. This legislation, approved by 26 other states in our nation, provides an opportunity to help women make an informed decision and, please God, one that may also assist all parents in embracing their unborn children as precious gifts to all humankind.