BISHOP SCHARFENBERGER ADDRESSES THE CROWD (EMILY BENSON PHOTO)
BISHOP SCHARFENBERGER ADDRESSES THE CROWD (EMILY BENSON PHOTO)

On May 9, pro-life advocates from across New York State came to the State Capitol for the 2018 Lobby for Life Day, sponsored by New York State Right to Life.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger was a guest speaker at the lobby day, along with Jennifer Popik, federal legislation director for National Right to Life.

“We are here to try and promote life in every way,” Bishop Scharfenberger told the crowd at the Legislative Office Building. “Not everyone shares a Christian, Jewish or Islamic faith, but there’s some things that we can agree on: that it’s good to be alive; it’s good to be a human being; and it’s a good thing to be able to share the joy of being alive in the world that God loves.”

The pro-lifers were encouraged to meet with state legislators afterward and express their support for pro-life laws in New York. Handouts from New York State Right to Life reminded them to be prepared, brief, persuasive, polite and accurate in the encounters, and to follow up with letters and further meetings.

Bishop Scharfenberger said that, “in our conversations with our legislators, we need to focus on some of the things that really are on the table.”
New York State is currently weighing several bills of concern to Catholics. For example:

•  The Medical Aid in Dying Act (S.3151A/A.2383A) would authorize physician-assisted suicide in the state.

•  The New York Health Act (S.4840A/A.4738A) promotes itself as “health care for all,” but opponents say it’s more like rationing, with those deemed too old or having too many disabilities denied access to reasonable medical treatment.

•  The Reproductive Health Act (S.2796/A.1748) would allow a woman to obtain an abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

Bishop Scharfenberger — who is both a canon (Church) and civil lawyer — said that a lot of abortion legislation ostensibly stands for women’s rights, but it’s time to “take the mask off” that disguise.

“What abortion expansion legislation does is basically allow for the killing of unborn life in the third trimester,” he said. “Do we want to be one of those countries where the life of the most vulnerable is not regarded as having worth?”

Bishop Scharfenberger also touched upon the assisted suicide bill. (Read a previous story at www.evangelist.org.)

“Assisted suicide says, ‘I want to get this done with, get this over with,’” the Bishop explained. The bill under consideration has “no protection on when the drugs are administered, no testing for mental health statutes and no regard for the people who will be isolated.”

Telling patients it’s acceptable to choose to die can add to thoughts of, “I’m not useful to society or my family,” said Bishop Scharfenberger.

The Bishop hopes people will learn to see these issues not as something political, but as real problems that will impact people’s lives.

As Catholics, “one of the things we try to avoid is political issues, but that doesn’t mean we don’t talk to politicians,” he said. “This isn’t a political issue; it’s a human issue.”

(Learn more about life issues in New York State at www.nyscatho­lic.org.)