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Statement by Bishop Blase Cupich read at masses in the Diocese of Rapid City during the weekend of
November 2-3, 2002

This Thursday, October 31, I learned that Senator Tom Daschle wrote a letter encouraging financial contributions to the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, NARAL, specifically as a means of helping it support the election of candidates with pro-abortion positions. In reading the letter carefully, it is clear that the senator has not only aligned himself with the strident position of NARAL, but he has also made abortion THE issue of this year’s campaign. Those who have known the senator for years consider this very public action a major shift in his moral position on this important issue. The senator regrettably has crossed the line and I cannot let it go unanswered.

My brother bishops and I have encouraged our people and all voters to form their consciences by taking into consideration all the issues that promote the dignity of the human person: bringing human life safely into the world and protecting it until natural death; educating and forming children; ensuring the rights of all to dignified labor, especially the immigrant and the marginalized; caring for the sick and elderly; respecting the prisoner and the stranger; protecting human life in our streets; and, most importantly, in the womb.

However, since Senator Daschle has now decided to frame this year’s election uniquely as a referendum on abortion, he should know that there are citizens of good will in both parties who reject this extreme position and who cannot let it go unchallenged.

Catholic people are not single issue voters. We do care about the sick and the elderly, the homeless, the poor, education, security and world peace. But if the senator, as the leader of his party, wants to make abortion the single issue in this year’s election, then we are ready to let him and those who support him know this week and in the months and years to come where we stand.

I urge all eligible voters to go to the polls this Tuesday, November 5th.

Peace be with you!

Most Rev. Blase J. Cupich

Bishop of Rapid City

************** [the text of the Daschle-NARAL letter follows]

We know you are receiving many e-mails from NARAL during this election season. That’s because pro-choice leadership of the Senate hangs in the balance. We appreciate your patience and support.

Date: October 29, 2002

To:

From: Tom Daschle, U.S. Senate Majority Leader

Rarely has so much been at stake for a woman’s right to choose in a U.S. Senate Election. If you and thousands of other pro-choice Americans like you don’t act today by giving to NARAL’s Save the Senate Campaign, the U.S. Senate could fall into anti-choice hands on November 6th - the first day after the election.

Anti-choice forces are organizing and mobilizing right now to defeat champions of reproductive rights, champions like Missouri Senator Jean Carnahan.

The U.S. Senate’s pro-choice leadership cannot afford to lose an ally like Senator Carnahan. Please help now by making a donation to NARAL.

Maureen, right now, this - and several other key elections for pro-choice candidates - is too close to call, and pollsters say there is a strong chance we won’t know who will retain Senate leadership until late on Election Night.

I’ve seen the difference NARAL can make, and I believe you and countless others can help Senator Carnahan and other pro-choice candidates facing tough races. If you make an urgent donation to NARAL’s Save the Senate Campaign today, it will make an important difference for these candidates. Just click here to make an immediate impact.

The Republican leadership in the U.S. Senate has said they plan to call for the immediate swearing-in of staunchly anti-choice Jim Talent ® if he defeats Senator Carnahan (D) - even if Democrats maintain their majority after the election. So, we must succeed in getting out the pro-choice vote in this and other key states where pro-choice leadership could be lost.

Because Jean Carnahan is serving as an appointed Senator in place of her late husband, Mel Carnahan, Missouri’s current governor could be forced to immediately swear in Jim Talent, a strongly anti-choice conservative. This blatantly political maneuver would end our ability to protect a woman’s right to choose from harmful legislation.

As the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, I’ve stood up for a woman’s right to choose, and the pro-choice leadership of the Senate has made a difference by safeguarding women’s rights from the anti-choice agenda of the Bush administration. Please give to NARAL today, so NARAL can mobilize the resources to get out the pro-choice vote on Election Day.

In 2000, NARAL helped defeat John Ashcroft in his bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate thus putting Jean Carnahan in the Senate, and NARAL is even more committed to maintaining pro-choice leadership of the Senate this year. But none of us can do it without your help. Please click here now to give to NARAL.

And, if you haven’t already, please tell your friends and colleagues how they can help keep pro-choice leadership in the Senate - click here.

Gratefully,

Senator Tom Daschle

Majority Leader

U.S. Senate

Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 5th!

Priests for Life
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Tel. 888-735-3448, 321-500-1000 • Fax 718-980-6515
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