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September 9, 1990     Arkansas Catholic
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September 9, 1990

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!PAGE 11 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC SE BER 9, 1990 hazardous jobs-- Law allows companies t0,bar preunant women fly Liz Schevtchuk Washington (CNS) - Law does not !r0hibit companies from protecting tUre, unborn life, the U.S. Catholic nference said in regard to a firm Women with child-bearing p ntial from certain "obs _"Employers are prJoperly obhged to r0.tect broadly workers and the public, lClUding future generations, from ""osta ti , al and foreseeable harm, the T C said. ,, he USCC, public policy agency of U.S. bishops, commented in a end.o " . 0 f'the-court brief filed at the U.S. i!Prerae Court in United Auto Work- vs'Jhnson Controls The case stems a a retusal by Johnson, a car battery nUfacturer, to allow women who ,lllight SOmeday bear children from i d' gJobs involving exposure to lead, 'uttul to fetuses. . , Lead can remain in the boay for more than five years, and the ban prevented not only pregnant women, but any women capable of someday bearing children, from the lead-related work. Johnson was sued by the United Auto Workers union, which claimed that firm's action was discriminatory and was in fact causing women to get sterilized. Workers also said the lead-related work was better-paying or helped provide experience needed to obtain higher- paying positions. The union also argued that the effect of lead on male workers, who might someday father children, was not con- sidered and that the company could have done more to remove hazards and ensure safety. In its brief, the USCC said it refused to take an "absolutist" position on either side of the case. "Some would simply side with the employee and void con- sideration to women's equal employ- ment interests to protect those who might be conceived," it said. "Rather than engageAn a discussion about whether and to what extent rights are in conflict, this court should seek ways that oblige employers to take into account the lives and safety of workers and their unborn children," the USCC said. However, it added that "we insist that equal employment opportunity for all individuals cannot come at the expense of threats to their children." One issue in the case is how so-called fetal protection policies relate to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The USCC took issue with the con- tention that Title VII forbids a company to adopt such a fetal protection policy. Such a claim "ignores a consistent and wise public policy that generally accords great value to protection of the un- born," the USCC stated. "For most members of society, worklife constitutes the greater part of the day," the brief said. "Potentially, therefore, one's working conditions have a greater impact upon that individual's health and safety - in- cluding the health and safety of his or her offspring - than any other envi- ronmental factor," the USCC added. "From this perspective, it is not only good public policy but necessary that employers be obliged to exercise re- sponsibility for the effect of working conditions upon health and safety," it said. Helen M. Alvare, a USCC attorney, said the USCC's focus in the case is narrow and that the bishops' organi- zation did not judge Johnson Controls' employment policy directly. "We didn't take a position on that policy - on whether it was a good policy or not," she said in an interview. "What we did say is that the Civil Rights Act permits you to consider the safety of unborn life when devising employment policies." "You don't want to encourage" the practice of sterilization for women as the answer to a workplace problem, she said. "Basically, we'd like to reduce the hazards" for all employees, she added. The attorney said the case is likely to stimulate public awareness "so people will be thinking about demanding workplace safety for both male and female employments. Irish bishop: in Central America Oa ~h6~. the first in a four-part series of essays I feel an urgent need to share these fully to defend innocent human life in l~ei"~ton by Bishop Edward T. Hughes of reflections because the forces that speak public and in private. To put it simply, the LitO~en, NJ. Bishob Andrew L McDonald of against life and against the teachings of our policies and positions we support or advo- li f.. ck has said;"I make my own the Catholic Church are growing bolder and cate publicly must be consistent with the tfi;h~e~essed by my fellow bishop, Edward more strident. Sadly, even some of our own moral Convictions that guide our private ' lMetuchen, NJ." Catholic people seem confused or uncer- lives. We cannot have one morality in pri- t's gifts are precious and deserve reflection and deep gratitude. those gifts, to all he gift yHis Very life--a to to who gift, live by ~t "ious re. to re- the gift, on the sacredness and of human life. need for serious reflection that me to prepare for all the of the Diocese of Metuchen a offering some thoughts-- SOme warnings--about how splendid gift of life is and in our society. These_ will be distributed through and our diocesan newspaper, or anger some of our people. responsibility as your bishop com- to Speak out. With our Holy Fa- every bishop and with every au- teacher, I must condemn disregard for the sane- aaan life, so evident in the whole- of unborn children. continues, every indeed every person of right called to accept personal to protect and defend human tain. Two developments are particularly disturbing in our area. The first is the number of reports in the press alleging that a majority of people in New Jersey favor abortion with few or no restrictions. While I believe these surveys are often slanted to produce a desired result, it is sad that so many of our Catholic people have not re- sponded with a more vigorous pro-life stance. Obviously, there is a need for more education about our responsibilities as Catholics to testify publicly to our convic- tion that life is sacred. As the chief teacher of the diocese, I must make clear the Church's teaching. The second development has to do with the growing tendency of some Catholic public officials---most notably, Gov. [Mario] Cuomo---to justify a proabortion stance in the discharge of their public duties while claiming to be loyal in their private lives to Catholic teaching. I speak out on this issue . because these justifications are broadcast to the Catholic people of this diocese and appear in misleading. I make no judgments about such officials' intentions or motives, but their publicly stated justifications of their position are opposed to the teaching of the Catholic Church. In some cases, their justifications seem almost to cast them in the role of official Catholic teachers, and they are not. It is the Magisterium--and only the Magisterium--that expresses the official teaching of the Church. -This Magisterium namely, the Holy Father and the bishops united to him--has clearly and consistently taught over the centuries that the inten- tional destruction of the life of the unborn child is morally wrong. This Magisterium today calls all Catholics ever more force- vate and another in public. We cannot claim to protect the lives of unborn chil- dren in private, while we advocate and support pro-abortion policies in public. Nor can we hide, or allow public officials to hide, behind the "pro-choice" rhetoric. While a number of public officials and pro- abortionists are attempting to present a so- called "pro-choice" position as an accept- able compromise, the truth is that a "pro- choice" position, as understood in today's society, is simply a euphemism for a pro- abortion policy. What is the choice? The "choice" at issue is the right to kill an inno- cent, unborn child. We cannot be deceived by such hypocrisy. We cannot play word games with God's gift of life. The Church's teaching is based on God's law. It speaks to our conscience and binds us all. In future articles, I will offer--as clearly and compassionately as I can-- further reflections on the tragedy of abortion, on our urgent obligation to respond to this tragedy, on God's continuing call to con- version and repentance, and on His abid- ing and never-failing mercy. For now, in the face of possible confusion caused by conflicting claims, press reports and public statements, I state definitively and plainly the teaching of the Church that abortion is morally wrong. Therefore, we as Catho- lics cannot support or advocate--in public or private---pro-abortion, "pro-choice" po- sitions or policies. Life is the Lord's great gift to us. At times that life is burdensome. At times we grow weary of the struggle to sustain it. But always our lives are a sharing in God's life. Always life is sacred. We must reverence it. By Laurie Hansen Washington (CNS) - Bishop Eamonn Casey. of, Galway, Ireland, said he be- lieves U.S. poli- ............................ cies have "major factor" in the oppression of the poor in Cen: tral America. "That is how it is perceived in Central Amer- ica...and it is per- ceived correctly," Bishop Casey saidBishop Casey in an interview in Washington. The bishop had arrived the previous day after a two-week journey through E1 Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. One reason for the trip was to meet with Jesuits in E1 Salvador to find out the "whole impact of the murders" of six Jesuit colleagues, their housekeeper and her daughter last November. The Jesuits in El Salvador feel the investigation into the murders "is being deliberately frustrated" and they cited "a lack of cooperation by the army," said Casey. "It's quite clear they believe the U.S. should withdraw aid from a government that allowed an atrocity like this to take place," he said. The Irish, who have a longstanding concern for Cen al Americans, "find it very difficult to understand why the American government supports regimes that commit such atrocities," said Casey.