DAILY CATHOLIC     MONDAY     December 14, 1998     vol. 9, no. 241

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

ARGENTINA DECLARES DAY OF UNBORN CHILD AS COLUMBIAN ARCHBISHOP SLAMS BID TO LEGALIZE ABORTION IN COLOMBIA

          BUENOS AIRES (CWNews.com) - Argentine President Carlos Menem signed a decree this week proclaiming March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, the Day of the Unborn Child.

          The presidential decree cites the authority of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Declaration on the Rights of the Child. The document -- which was signed by Menem on December 8 -- also points out that "under our constitution and our civil legislation, life begins at the moment of conception." The decree charges two government officials -- the minister of culture and the ambassador to the Holy See -- with the responsibility for planning appropriate events to mark the annual observance.

          President Menem said that the idea of proclaiming a national day of recognition for unborn children had been warmly received by Pope John Paul II, with whom he met in Rome in November. The Holy Father, Menem said, praised the idea as "another valiant element in the fight to defend the family and human life."

          Meanwhile, in Columbia Archbishop Alberto Giraldo of Bogota, the president of the Colombian bishops' conference, has denounced a bid to promote the decriminalization of abortion, which has been introduced into the nation's legislature.

          Senator Margarita Londono has introduced proposals to drop criminal penalties for abortion in certain cases, as part of an overall reform of the nation's criminal code. Archbishop Giraldo complained that the proposals were actually another example of a systematic effort to legalize abortion, saying that such proposals have been introduced every year in one form or another. Urging legislators to see through efforts to cloak the issue in euphemism, the archbishop said that the object of the campaign is simply "to legalize abortion in our country."

          Senator Londono's proposals would end criminal penalties for abortions performed in cases of rape, forcible impregnation, severe malformation of the baby, or a threat to the life of the mother; her proposal would also open the way for legal abortion in pregnancies that pose psychological or economic hardship for the mother.

          "The Church cannot accept such legislation in any way," Archbishop Giraldo said. If legislators are truly interested in the welfare of women, he added, they should "pass legislation that really helps them, not allow acts which approve the destruction of human life. That is not a real solution to their problems."


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December 14, 1998       volume 9, no. 241
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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