The United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference (USCCB) has launched a 9-day prayer campaign for the protection of unborn human life in the lead-up to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
“Life begins at conception and deserves to be protected,” declares the USCCB Office of Pro-Life Activities in announcing its “9 Days for Life” novena, to run from January 19-27.
The 9-day prayer crusade is timed to encompass January 23, the commemoration of the fateful 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that together with Planned Parenthood v. Casey made unfettered abortion-on-demand the law of the land.
The bishops note that 9 Days for Life “is an annual novena for the protection of human life” with each day’s intention “accompanied by a short reflection and suggested actions to help build a culture of life.”
The text of the novena includes prayers for an end to “the tragic practice of abortion,” which “rejects the truth that every life is a good and perfect gift, deserving protection.”
“This violent practice ends the life of a human being at its very beginning and horribly wounds all those involved,” the document states.
“Countless children’s lives have been ended by abortion, and countless parents and family members suffer guilt, grief, and regret—often in silence,” the text declares, while reiterating belief in God’s abundant mercy even for the greatest of sins.
The document also asserts that from the time of creation, “disregard for human life has continued to spread.”
“When we, like Cain, allow sin to find a place in our hearts, we become blinded to the truth,” it reads. “Sometimes this blindness might be so deep that we fail to recognize the undeniable humanity of unborn children. We may even tragically believe the lie that abortion is an act of compassion.”
In the prayer campaign, the bishops also make specific reference to U.S. law and the founding principles of the nation.
“The Declaration of Independence boldly affirms that first among our inalienable rights is the right to life, given to us by the Creator,” it states. “Yet despite being so solemnly proclaimed, the right to life is today threatened and often denied, particularly at the moments when life is most fragile.”
“Our laws should — first and foremost — protect life,” it continues. “But our highest Court does not recognize children in their mothers’ wombs as persons and claims that abortion is a constitutional right.”
“Those who work as public officials and civic leaders have a duty to serve the common good, and therefore have a profound obligation to safeguard this most fundamental right to life,” it adds, noting that “there can be no true democracy without a recognition of every person’s dignity and without respect for his or her rights.”
The novena materials also include resources for further reading and research as well as suggestions of specific prayers to end abortion.