Update: Some folks may be coming here from a comment at Balloon Juice that notes that “ The law is so nutty that a Catholic bishop opposes it.” While this post is about the law being so nutty a Episcopal bishop opposes it, a Catholic bishop here also opposes it.
I have been collecting material for a post on this subject, but then saw this and thought it worth a post of its own. It is from Bishop Gray of the Episcopal Church in Mississippi (the text of the letter is at the link on the Episcopal Church’s site right now, but obviously that’s not a permalink):
My dear friends,
My deep reservations about abortion and the death penalty grow out of my abiding belief in the sanctity of human life and the arbitrary nature of these actions. I am not, however, a pacifist in regards to war. I do believe that some very serious moral decisions are not simply choices between good and evil, but rather in the case of two evils, choices between the lesser of two evils. Such is the complexity of human moral decision-making in a fallen world.
I appreciate the intentions of those who have supported Proposition 26, what has been called the Personhood Amendment. I share their passion for the sanctity of human life. However, I am gravely concerned about the unintended consequences of this legislation. The moral nightmares of doctors no longer able to give preference to saving the life of the mother in such cases as an ectopic pregnancy and the uncertain impact on in-vitro fertilization are real. Thus, the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Medical Association has announced that it cannot support this legislation.
The legal nightmares arising from this legislation are also very real. The word “person” is used over 9,400 times in the Mississippi Annotated Code and the implications for mass confusion and decades of legal challenges over every use of the term are staggering.
For their own reasons, Roman Catholic bishops in several states, including Mississippi, have said they could not support this particular legislation.
While I recognize the complexities of such moral decisions and the need for each of us to make our own informed and prayerful choices, you need to know that I share the aforementioned concerns about the unintended consequences of this legislation. Thus, I cannot support Proposition 26 on the November 8th ballot in Mississippi.
Please feel free to share this letter with whomever you wish.
The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray, III