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Speaking to about 10,000 Catholics ahead of the March for Life, Archbishop Joseph Naumann said protecting unborn babies’ right to life is the “preeminent” social issue of modern times.

Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, more than 61 million unborn babies have been aborted in the U.S. Now, abortion activists and Democrat politicians are openly pushing for laws to expand abortions through all nine months of pregnancy and force taxpayers to pay for them.

Naumann encouraged pro-lifers to remain hopeful Thursday at the National Prayer Vigil for Life, an annual Mass held before the March for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., according to the Catholic News Service.

The news outlet estimated about 10,000 Catholics attended from all across the world, including a bishop from Australia and many students.

Naumann, of Kansas City, Kansas, and the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pro-life committee, said the number of young people in the crowd encouraged him. He praised them as a shining witness for life in a culture of death, according to the report.

Here’s more from the report:

The archbishop also spoke of his ad limina visit with Pope Francis. During his recent trip to Rome, said Naumann, he mentioned the controversy that erupted at the USCCB Fall General Assembly over whether or not abortion was the “preeminent” social issue of our time. Naumann said that the pope appeared confused at why this would be controversial, and re-affirmed that abortion is the most important social issue.

“The Pope is with you. He is praying for you. He supports you,” said Naumann. “My friends, the successor of Peter has our backs.”

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On Friday, hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates of many different faiths, cultures and walks of live will gather in Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life. The peaceful human rights rally calls on the nation to restore the right to life for babies in the womb and overturn Roe v. Wade. President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at the march – the first president in U.S. history to do so.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis condemned abortion as a violation of the “most fundamental right” during a recent meeting with American bishops.

The Catholic News Service reports the pope told the bishops that protecting human life, especially unborn babies, is a “preeminent priority.”

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, of Kansas City, Kansas, and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, related their conversation about abortion with Pope Francis to CNS on Thursday.

“His response to that was, ‘Of course, it is. It’s the most fundamental right,’” Naumann said. “He said, ‘This is not first a religious issue; it’s a human rights issue,’ which is so true.”

Naumann said Pope Francis was shocked when they told him that more than 61 million unborn babies have been aborted in America since Roe v. Wade.

“I think the pope was truly kind of stunned by that number,” Naumann said. “Sadly, our abortion policies are one of the most liberal in the world. The fact is that it really is literally for all nine months of pregnancy. Most other nations don’t permit (abortions) at least at a certain point in the pregnancy.”

Because of Roe v. Wade, the United States is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Some states allow unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason up to birth.

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Author: Micaiah Bilger

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