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January 15, 1993     The Message
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January 15, 1993

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:! CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF EVANSVILLE VOLUME 23 i E ii NUMBER 19 January 15, 1993 i i i I i i Ziliak n . . ative has brought modern farming management to India ' MARY ANN HUGHES, Message staff writer Father Jerome Ziliak, S.V.D,, native of India. That's because years in central India serving as a Divine Word icul- is tailor- s childhood experi- fifth of nine children in a "good Catholic who was "a saint," died when he was ten. taught at St. 'an and love for y his ). "When p said, 'Hey, we the missions' I said that sourded good to me. like him. He baptised me and he saw me go old, he left the family farm and went to , Ill. Hespent his high school asked where he would like to be assigned. He and Taiwan, and in big capital letters he t think India was rough enoughfor me." he was assigned to Ind!a. "God knewbettor than I just tailor-made for India with my home background on the farm, on the land. ur mission in India is 99-and-a-half per- cent rural. I always thank God that He knew better than I knew myself." When he left for Indiain 1948, asa. Divine Ward Mis, sionary he.was re- quired to say good-  Bye to his family "for life.'! The order has since allowed visits back to the , Todt d Ni 8,r rot ut t abe-, , tlO] co Twenty years after ruling, abortion wars show little signs of waning fly PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service ON (CNS) -- war was gearing as another was wind- 22, 1973, the U.S. COurt opened the unrestricted access to escalating a battle )otters and op- that 20 little sign of krae week in 1973, States signed with Vietnam the military "draft. esident Richard M. second term in would end with zgrtation 19 months Y the Vietnam War cz n's travails seem as eyed as snapshots other lifetime. e, Laational angst over mrzves amid contin- trt challenges, legisla- tive maneuvering and, in Bill "They.adJcally altered.the it.'.Parson8 said. . an aggressive approach, ex- Clinton, the inauguration of a whole judicial picture:" " "I assumed that once the pecting the worst as lower new president who promises to change federal abortion policy. In its twin 1973 rulings Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton -- the Supreme Court de- clared the abortion statutes of Texas and Georgia unconsti- tutional, effectively throwing out similar laws of 44 other states in the process. The Roe and Doe decisions caught both supporters and opponents of legal abortion off guard, reaching far beyond what either side had ex- pected, giving constitutional protection to an act that was discussed only in whispers by much of American society. "Our immediate reaction was that these were world- shaking cases," recalled Bishop James T. McHugh of Camden, N.J., who in 1973 was director of the U.S. Catholic Conference's Family Life Division, as it was called. Twenty years ago the then- Msgr. McHugh called the rul- ings "a terrifying use of judi- cial power." He said the court's opinion "is a violation of the moral and ethical con- victions of millions of Ameri- cans and it cannot be harmo- nized with a dedication to the sanctity of human life." He also predicted accu- rately the effect the rulings would have on opponents of abortion. "I strongly believe the court action will energize the pro-life movement rather than destroy it," he wrote. Supporters of legal abortion also were surprised at the reach of the Roe and Doe rul- ings. The Rev. Spencer Parsons, a retired American Baptist minister, counseled and di- rected Chicago women to places to have abortions from 1966 to 1973. "We didn't expect the deci- sion to become quite as broad as it was," Parsons r'emem- bored. At the time he thought the ruling confirmed what he believed all along, that the right to decide about whether to have an abortion was the woman's alone. Public opinion was far from supportive of the ruling, which marked the first high court decision about the le- gality of abortion. Polls then as now showed Americans, generally opposed abortion under most circumstances, and even many legal scholars thought Roe was a poor judi- cial precedent. The rulings rather quickly heightened public perception about abortion. Until Roe, "nobody much thought about decision came down and was accepted by the medical com- munity, people would gradu- ally come to accept it," Par- sons said. Gall Quinn, head of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activ- ities at the National Confer- ence of Catholic Bishops, re- members that shortly before Roe, "things seemed to be moving our way," with the public generally opposed to abortion and more states im- posing restrictions. In 1973, she was administrative assis- tant in the USCC's Family Life Division, precursor of the office she currently leads. Roe "didn't settle well with most people," she said. In fact, she thought the rulings were a bit of a fluke in the ju- dicial flow. "We knew it was very serious, bt I thought it was an aberration." Initially, the effects of Roe were slow to spread. A year after the decision, abortions were not readily obtainable in many states. For instance, only one doctor in Louisiana performed them and the cities of Milwaukee and Min- neapolis had only one abor- tion clinic each. Women from Idaho still flew to Seattle, where abor- tion had been fairly unre- stricted for several years, be- cause it was cheaper. In Utah, most hospitals were run by churches and refused to allov abortions. Independent clinics where abortions were performed gradually became more common, displacing hospitals as the main source of abortions. But during that first year, the'pro-life movement took ....... courts used Roe and Doe as a basis for overturning other laws. "The bishops immediately responded, saying the two de- cisions signaled a radical de- parture from the past and opened a whole new era," Bishop McHugh said. At their general meeting the following November, the U.S. bishops decided the time was right to begin pushing for a constitu- tional amendment guarantee- ing the right to life even be- fore birth. Althougb the Catholic Church had long been in- volved in legislative work against abortion, Roe and Doe instigated a full- scale effort. "The bishops also saw it as part ,of our religious impera- tive, Bishop McHugh said. "It might be that we would become a religious body that found itself on the periphery. of society, like the Amish, but we had to adhere to our be- liefs." By expecting the worst, the bishops eemed to have posi- : tioned themselves for the long-term actual effects of Roe, which Bishop McHugh believes have been rulings more open to abortion than even its initial interpretation seemed to predict. Meanwhile, in the years since Roe the focus of sup- port for legs[ abortion has shifted from its rote in con- trollinRopulation growth in a supsedly oveipopula| worldly,to its place as a  woman;s right to control her own body and life.. ,.  Parsons believes that while advocates of legal abortion See pose 2