Letter from archbishop to San Antonio City Council
June 28, 2022
I was dismayed to learn of the July 27 press conference on the steps of City Hall and the upcoming August 2 special City Council meeting to consider a resolution in support of “reproductive health care rights.”
According to media reports, the proposed resolution reads, “People have a basic human right to medical services and treatment, including abortion.” (My emphasis on the last two words.)
As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated recently following Congressional passage of the deceptively named Women’s Health Protection Act, “Simply repeating the mantra that abortion is healthcare doesn’t make it so. Deliberately ending the lives of defenseless and voiceless human beings is the antithesis of healthcare.”
In late June, following the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, I stated, “At this crucial time, we must now commit as a nation to devoting additional resources and implementing policies that support mothers and fathers, children, and families. This includes everyone — the Church, elected leaders, and all people. No woman should ever feel alone; that she is trapped and that abortion is her only option. There has to be a vision put forth that is positive and life-affirming.”
My statement continued, “The Catholic Church has a long and proud history of providing this assistance through programs such as pregnancy shelters, food pantries, financial support, parenting classes, and myriad other services. Our parishes, Catholic Charities, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and many other organizations and ministries stand ready to help to ensure better futures for these mothers and fathers and their babies. We know that this good work must grow and increase.”
Precisely at a moment when the Church should be collaborating more closely with city officials on ways to prioritize the well-being of all people with both material resources and personal accompaniment, the time and energy put forth by our elected officials and civic staffers on resolutions such as the one proposed fail to increase or provide the vital resources women need to care for themselves and their children.
As the U.S. bishops highlighted prior to the Dobbs decision, the Catholic Church has a long history of service to those who are most vulnerable and remains the largest private provider of social services in the country. The Church consistently bears witness in word and deed to the beauty and dignity of every human life. We have witnessed this first-hand with the Church’s caring and compassionate response to the horrific tragedy in Uvalde and the deaths of 53 migrants callously abandoned in a sweltering tractor trailer in south San Antonio.
I urge the City Council to reject the proposed resolution and join with people of good will and our faith communities to work to build a true culture of life in this wonderful city named for St. Anthony, a community which has had faith at its forefront since its establishment in 1718.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS
Archbishop of San Antonio