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Throwback Thursday: Fighting Roe vs. Wade in Year One

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Photo shows 7,000 people gathered in Cincinnati to oppose abortion in May of 1973. (CT File)
Photo shows 7,000 people gathered in Cincinnati to oppose abortion in May of 1973. (CT File)

The first issue of The Catholic Telegraph printed after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade published on Jan. 26, 1973. Four days earlier, a landmark case that would cement the nation’s slide to legalized abortion on demand shook the Catholic community.

Then-Archbishop of Cincinnati and future Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin’s statement dominated the front page of the edition.

A clipping shows the headline from the first edition of The Catholic Telegraph following the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973. (CT File)
A clipping shows the headline from the first edition of The Catholic Telegraph following the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973. (CT File)

“The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday on abortion is a genuine tragedy for this country. The arguments used for the position taken, which severely limits a stat in restricting the evil of abortion, completely overlook a God-given right which cannot be violated by any human authority: the right to life of the unborn fetus,” he wrote.

The archbishop went on to describe more about the ruling of Roe vs. Wade (which came from Texas) and other details from Doe vs. Bolton (Georgia) which was ruled on the same day.

“We are dealing here with a moral value — the right to life — which transcends denominational lines. In permitting unrestricted abortion even for an arbitrary period of time, a grave injustice is being done to the thousands of unborn children who may be destroyed as a result of this ruling.”

The 44th anniversary of the Roe decision is tomorrow (Jan 22.)

In researching today’s Throwback Thursday article, the team found nearly a quarter of a file cabinet filled with news from the Roe vs. Wade decision and the immediate rallying of Catholic organizations and dioceses in fighting back to defend life.

The first image found that shows the size and scope of The Archdiocese of Cincinnati response came in the May 11, 1973 edition. In that image (at top of this post) nearly 7,000 people are seen on Cincinnati’s Fountain Square for a pro-life rally headed by a British Parliamentarian Jill Knight. Knight told Cincinnatians what Great Britain had learned after legalizing abortion six years earlier.

“They said there wouldn’t be any more abortions than previously, just safer ones — and the number climbed from 10,000 reported abortions in 1967 to 157,000 last year (1972).”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 699,202 abortions were performed in the United States in 2012. The real number is much higher as the CDC report does not include California, Maryland or New Hampshire. More recent data is not yet available.

By some counts, more than 57,762,169 children have been aborted since abortion was legalized in the United States.

Looking for a way to support life on Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade? Click HERE.

Welcome to The Catholic Telegraph’s edition of Throwback Thursday. Throwback Thursday is a weekly online feature wherein users of social media share an old photo or anecdote about times gone by. We use Throwback Thursday to highlight the history of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and our publication.

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