Missouri Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. joined Catholic leaders all across America this fall in urging voters to support candidates who will “protect the right to life” for all human beings.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Johnston, who leads the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, wrote a letter Sept. 14 with advice for Catholics about voting in November.

“A Catholic voter would do well to weigh a candidate’s position on each of these essential God-given rights that government has a duty to protect, beginning with the right to life,” the bishop wrote.

“All persons of every race and nation are created in the image and likeness of God and therefore possess both dignity and a right to life from the first moment of conception,” Johnston continued.

He said Pope Francis and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops both have stressed that protecting unborn babies from abortion is “the preeminent issue because it is fundamental; without this first right, the right to life, there can be no other rights.”

The bishop continued:

Likewise, “human cloning, destructive research on human embryos, and other acts that directly violate the sanctity of human life are also intrinsically evil. These must always be opposed” (FC, 23). While protecting the right to life begins with the protection of the child in the womb, it must be extended over the entire course of a lifespan, e.g., by defending the elderly and terminally ill from euthanasia and assisted suicide, and defending other vulnerable people from attacks on life and human dignity.

A growing chorus of Catholic leaders has been urging voters to make the right to life for unborn babies a top priority when they vote in November. In a similar message this month, Cleveland Catholic Bishop Edward Malesic urged Christians to vote to oppose the “intrinsic evil of abortion” because it destroys the most fundamental of all human rights.

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On Oct. 1, Nebraska Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt also wrote a strong message urging Christians to “get on our knees and pray for God’s mercy to save our souls, guilty of the tragic disregard for his sovereignty and the sanctity of human life, made in his image and likeness!”

Since 1973, about 62 million unborn babies have been killed in abortions. Though abortion rates have been dropping steadily because of pro-life efforts, Democrat leaders now are calling openly to “expand access” to abortions. They claim the killing of unborn babies in abortions is “essential health care” and Americans taxpayers should be forced to pay for them.

The two major presidential candidates have opposite views about abortion.

Joe Biden and the Democratic Party support abortions without restriction and want to force taxpayers to pay for them. Biden said he plans to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law and appoint Supreme Court justices who will support abortion on demand. Biden also said he would fight to end the Hyde Amendment and force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions – which could lead to 60,000 more unborn babies’ deaths each year.

In contrast, President Donald Trump and the Republican Party support protections for unborn babies. They want to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups of taxpayer dollars, and restore basic human rights to every human being.

During his four years in office, Trump has taken numerous actions to protect unborn babies, both on a national and global scale. He defunded Planned Parenthood through his Mexico City and Title X policies and introduced new restrictions to stop taxpayer dollars from funding research using aborted baby body parts. Trump stopped giving American tax dollars to United Nations Population Fund because it pushes abortions on other countries and has worked with China for decades to implement its forced abortion population control policies.

Additionally, the Trump administration has been fighting to protect pro-life medical workers from employment discrimination. Last year, it became involved in a Vermont nurse’s case after she said her employer, the University of Vermont Medical Center, tricked her into participating in an abortion against her will. It also created a new rule to better enforce conscience protections and punish medical groups that discriminate against pro-life medical workers.

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