There are many arguments we can make in favor of life, for human rights for the child in the womb, concern for the most innocent and neglected people in our society, the toll abortion takes on the mother — but the most convincing argument for me is when I meet a young person who says to me “My mother was going to have an abortion, and then changed her mind at the last minute. Otherwise I would not be here.” Thank God you are here! I say.

Children in the womb are real people. Human beings are created by God “with inalienable rights” — because they are God-given rights. So are slaves, Jews, immigrants, people of color, the elderly, the handicapped — all groups who were told—or are currently being told—by one government or another, that they are not full human beings. And the most basic human right is the right to be allowed to live.

I believe in the “Seamless Garment” of Catholic Social Teaching which links the Right to Life with health care, access to education, affordable housing, opposition to the death penalty, justice for immigrants, shelter for victims of human trafficking, the right to a living wage.

Yes, all of these are elements of Catholic Social Teaching, and they are all interconnected. However, you can’t enjoy an affordable house or earn a living wage if you are not alive to begin with. We as Catholics must defend innocent life, life from the first moment of conception to a natural death, or we cannot be credible proponents of all the other social justice issues that occur between life and death.

If you want to do something and not stand by and watch, please join me at the Vigil Mass for Life at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at St. Dominic’s Church, San Francisco; at the Walk for Life Mass with Archbishop Cordileone on Saturday, at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 27 at St. Mary’s Cathedral San Francisco. The major event is the West Coast Walk for Life beginning at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at San Francisco Civic Center Plaza.

My friend Pastor Walter Hoye will be leading a Standing Up 4 Life walk at noon Jan. 26 at the Oakland City Hall Plaza. There are other local events planned in the East Bay you can discover by looking on Page 5.

Full story at Catholic Voice Oakland.