Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, continues to demonstrate that he is a Pro-Life leader in the Lone Star State. As Pro-Lifers, we believe the sanctity of human Life must be protected from conception to natural death if we are to have a just society. Strickland has used his platform as a bishop with a national and international following to advocate for the protection of preborn babies, the elderly, and vulnerable hospital patients. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when anti-Life forces are capitalizing on the crisis to push for expanded abortion, the destruction of human Life in the creation of unethical vaccines, and the disregard for human Life through unnecessary healthcare rationing, Bishop Strickland’s moral compass has never been more needed.
Recently, Bishop Strickland was the only non-retired bishop in Texas to withhold his signature from an anti-Life statement by the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops (TCCB), urging Governor Abbott to go against his proven Pro-Life values and issue an executive order granting total immunity to the medical industry in Texas to ration care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The TCCB holds no canonical authority and is a lobbying entity. The TCCB’s position would further exacerbate the deprivation of patients’ rights in Texas hospitals, and the call for rationing is wholly officious.
Strickland explained his decision, saying the TCCB’s letter “fails to show a due regard for the importance of law and amounts to asking Governor Abbot to abandon the excellent laws he has helped put in place to protect the vulnerable.”
TCCB suggested that hospital administrators should be given undue power to use arbitrary quality-of-life assessments to determine who lives and dies. As we continue to fight to repeal the anti-Life Texas 10-Day Rule, further erosion of patients’ rights jeopardizes the lives of countless Texans.
Bishop Strickland has also been an outspoken defender of preborn Life during the pandemic. When news broke that several of the vaccines being developed were created using cells from babies killed in abortion, an unnecessary and relatively unsuccessful scientific process, Strickland immediately voiced his unequivocal opposition.
On Twitter, he penned, “So sad…even with Covid-19 we are still debating the use of aborted fetal tissue for medical research.” He continued that he wanted to “go on record” in opposition to the destruction of innocent human Life for medical research. Strickland wrote that “if a vaccine for this virus is only attainable if we use body parts of aborted children then I will refuse the vaccine. He concluded powerfully with the declaration, “I will not kill children to live.”
Commentators note, “For now, Bishop Strickland appears to be on his own among the bishops in speaking out regarding the unethical use of aborted fetal tissue in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.” As on the unethical rationing of medical care and the dehumanization of the elderly, Bishop Strickland stands apart from his fellow bishops in fearlessly defending the Right to Life and condemning abuses that threaten innocent and vulnerable people—born and preborn.
Strickland stressed that certain moral principles are always applicable, even in times of uncertainty and crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic: “For example, the family should always be consulted and considered in making vital moral decisions such as these.” This principle is one for which Texans continue to fight. Strickland added that the elderly and the disabled, “should always be protected and shown a love of preference,” as they are “the poor in our midst, during this pandemic.”
As the world struggles to find a way forward in unprecedented crisis, Texas has a clear voice for the Pro-Life movement in our state. Join Texas Right to Life in praying for Bishop Strickland, who has distinguished himself for his Christian and Pro-Life leadership. For such excellence, he likely faces many attacks and needs our support. Our great Pro-Life state needs more leaders like Bishop Strickland in order to advance the fight for Life.