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Opinion | Catholic Conference: Michigan should oppose death by guns and abortion

We live in a society overrun by violence.

Each day in our country, innocent lives are being gunned down, whether in mass shootings or in the many gun deaths that do not make the news.

Jacob Kanclerz
Jacob Kanclerz is a communications associate with the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state. (Courtesy photo)

And each day in our country, innocent lives are intentionally ended before they are born.

Whether it's death by gun or abortion, both are violence that attack the dignity of human life, which is the “foundation of a moral vision for society.”

Holding human life as sacred means regarding any loss of life as a tragedy. In Michigan, the four children shot dead in their high school in Oxford last year are of equal worth as each of the more than 1.5 million children whose lives ended in abortion in Michigan since Roe v. Wade was decided.

And yet too many people don't see this connection between guns and abortion. Finding common ground on both issues starts with recognizing their common threat to human life, which we should hold in the highest regard.

Now that Roe is overturned and abortion regulation returns to the states, there has been a renewed push to either preserve or increase abortion access, including in Michigan. But allowing more intentional killing of unborn human babies in the womb should never be seen as a solution.

Public officials should put the same effort they put into preserving abortion into supporting pregnant women so they don't feel abortion is the answer to concerns they have about how to support themselves and their children.

"We are all called to walk with moms in need, and we encourage all Michiganders to join us in this effort," the Catholic bishops in Michigan said in their joint statement in response to the overturning of Roe.

That would mean putting state funding into pregnancy centers, which provide free help to pregnant women before and after birth. It would mean helping pregnant women know adoption is a valid option. It also means promoting the state's safe delivery law, which allows new mothers to safely turn over their children for adoption to uniformed employees of hospitals, fire departments, police stations, or to an emergency medical technician or paramedic.

As for gun violence, Michigan Catholic Conference and the U.S. Catholic bishops have long supported common sense regulations on firearms. We also recognize more gun regulations are not the only way to curb gun violence, and we recognize that addressing mental health, school safety and a host of other factors play a role in the conversation.

But that conversation must include the guns themselves. That is why it is encouraging that lawmakers recently came together on a bipartisan deal to address gun reform cleared both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Joe Biden.

The legislation, backed by the U.S. bishops, strengthens background checks, provides funding to help schools prevent violence, and enhances state crisis intervention programs, including extreme risk protection orders, otherwise known as red flag laws.

Just as Congress has come together to recognize gun safety as an issue that we all must work to address, the same should happen for lawmakers in Michigan.

In Michigan, there is no legal requirement for gun owners to lock their guns away from children. However, bills to fix that, and proscribe penalties to parents whose children access the gun and are caught with it or use it to hurt others, have gone nowhere. State lawmakers should come together to pass needed reforms to address gun violence by regulating access to guns.

We believe bipartisan cooperation should occur on any issue that affects human life, whether it's gun safety or preventing abortions. Guns and abortion have become political issues, but they don't have to be if we recognize them as forms of violence to be opposed by all people of goodwill.

Let us come together to protect and value all human life from conception to natural death, and thus reject all forms of violence against human persons. We look forward to the day when our society and elected officials hold the sanctity of every human life in greater esteem than partisanship or politics.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan. Bridge does not endorse any individual guest commentary submission. If you are interested in submitting a guest commentary, please contact Ron French. Click here for details and submission guidelines.

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