New Jersey Catholic bishops are calling for a day of prayer and fasting on Jan. 22 for the unborn babies whose lives are threatened by abortion.

The date marks the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Since 1973, more than 62 million unborn babies have been aborted, and the U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“As we mark this tragic event in our nation’s history, we remember the millions of lives lost to abortion and pray for the mothers and fathers left to suffer the tragic effects,” the bishops said in a statement. “We, the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey, ask Catholics and people of good will to join us … in a Day of Prayer and Fasting to end abortion.”

All of the Catholic bishops in New Jersey signed the statement: Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, Bishop David O’Connell of Trenton, Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden, Bishop Kevin Sweeney of Paterson, Bishop James Checchio of Metuchen, Bishop Kurt Burnette of Passaic and Bishop Yousif Habash of Our Lady of Deliverance of Syriac Catholic Diocese.

Right now, New Jersey is facing a new threat to human life in the form of a radical pro-abortion bill in the state legislature.

A pet project of pro-abortion Gov. Phil Murphy, the bill (S3030/A4848) would legalize the killing of unborn babies for basically any reason up to birth. It would invalidate all current and future laws that restrict abortions, and it would allow non-doctors to abort unborn babies, according to New Jersey Right to Life. It also would get rid of the 1974 state conscience clause that protects medical workers who object to aborting unborn babies.

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The bishops and New Jersey pro-life leaders have been advocating against the anti-life bill for months.

“The Catholic Church believes and teaches that all human life is sacred from conception to natural death,” the bishops said in a statement in October. “For that reason, we, the Bishops of each of the dioceses in New Jersey, join in voicing the strongest possible opposition to the ‘Reproductive Freedom Act.’”

In their plea for prayer this month, they promised to “work vigorously” to support state and federal laws that protect life. They urged Christians to join them in prayer that all lives would be protected from conception to natural death.

“We humbly implore our Blessed Mother under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and Protectress of the Unborn, to intercede on our behalf that these efforts to end abortion are guided by mercy, compassion, and above all charity,” the bishops said.

Abortion is the number one killer of human life in the world. More than 1.2 million unborn babies have been killed in abortions already this year across the globe, according to data from the World Health Organization.

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