U.S. Bishops Respond to Roe v. Wade: “The work has only just begun”

NEW YORK – In response to the Supreme Court’s reversal Roe v. Wade, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore expressed appreciation but kept an eye on the future and the need to redouble the Church’s efforts to support women and couples facing unexpected pregnancies, as well as opening up the hearts and minds of those with a different perspective.

“My first reaction was to thank the Lord for bringing about this day,” said Lori, president of the pro-life committee of the American Episcopal conference. Node.

“It is a day that many people have worked and prayed very hard for, and it is a day when I believe that we can resume the debate in our country, but I also hope for a day when we will redouble our efforts. to create a just and compassionate society where no mother has to choose between her child and her future,” he said.

The sentiment was shared by prelates across the country. Most of their reactions were along the lines of appreciation for the long-awaited decision, combined with a focus on the long road and the important work ahead in terms of support, advocacy and dialogue with supporters of the ‘abortion.

As Cardinal Designate Robert McElroy of San Diego said, “In many ways, our work has only just begun.

Lori, in a statement with USCCB President Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, proclaimed that this is a “time to heal wounds and mend social divisions; it’s time for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue and coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into the world in love.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston described what must happen next. He said the decision “calls [Catholics] recognize the unique burden women face during pregnancy; and it challenges us as a nation to work together to create more communities of support – and available access to them – for all women experiencing unplanned pregnancies.

O’Malley also noted that “those who opposed and supported deer can and must find common ground for a renewed commitment to social and economic justice in our country,” adding that he hopes “this new chapter will be a time of a different tone and focus in our civic life.

The June 24 Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe vs. Wade and Casey Against Planned Parenthood – the 1992 decision which confirmed deer – puts abortion law in the hands of state legislators and as such means that state abortion laws will range from outright prohibition to abortion available throughout the pregnancy.

Thirteen states – Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington – have already codified abortion rights into state law at various stages. of pregnancy. For them, the Dobbs decision has little impact. Four of those states – New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Colorado plus Washington DC – have codified the right to abortion throughout pregnancy into state law.

Thirteen other states — Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming — have “trigger” laws that, with Roe overturned, come in immediately or nearly immediately into effect and prohibit abortion.

Five other states — Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin — still have pre-Roe abortion bans that will also go into effect. However, Wisconsin lawmakers have signaled there will be a contentious battle over enforcement, and a Michigan claims court has granted a motion that bars the state’s attorney general from enforcing the law.

In a joint statement through the New York State Catholic Conference, the 20 state prelates noted that varying state laws highlight the amount of work that remains to be done to foster a culture of life.

“The culture remains deeply divided on the issue, which will be evidenced by the patchwork of state abortion laws across the country,” the NYSCC statement read. “To change the culture and build a culture of life, we must enact family-friendly policies that welcome children, support mothers, cherish families and empower them to thrive.”

Some prelates in states that have codified the right to abortion have reacted in this spirit, although for the most part the messages to the faithful have remained national in scope.

“While precious lives will undoubtedly be saved by this decision, in states like ours, the abortion industry and many lawmakers are stepping up their efforts to promote Colorado as a ‘destination for the abortion,” Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver said in a statement.

“Therefore, we must continue to lovingly speak the truth about the God-given dignity of each unique human life, from conception to natural death, and we must increase our support for archdiocesan and parish ministries that provide genuinely compassionate care. women, their babies, and their families,” he said.

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago acknowledged that the ruling will “unfortunately” have little impact on abortion in Illinois, and therefore stressed the need to redouble efforts “to build a culture that values ​​the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all”. .” He added that the journey is “not the end of a journey, but rather a new beginning” which highlights the need to understand abortion advocates and engage in dialogue.

Other points the U.S. bishops emphasized in response to the decision were the need to ensure that all of life’s issues are adequately addressed, to show mercy to anyone who received or participated in to an abortion, and to ensure that other life needs – health care, affordable housing, good jobs and decent housing among them – are taken care of for all.

Gloria Purvis, host of “The Gloria Purvis Podcast,” made this last point particularly for black women, saying that “they don’t want abortion as a solution to a pregnancy crisis, they want help with the things that made it a crisis”.

“I know what black women want and need is not abortion,” Purvis said. Node. “They want real support, they want safe housing, they want access to healthy food, they want a good education for their children, they want job training – all of those things that most people want too.”

Purvis also noted that she wants the abortion conversation to also focus on young men and the responsibility they have to the women they impregnate and the resulting children.

Responding to Supreme Court ruling, President Joe Biden, a Catholic, said ‘this is a sad day for our country’; pledging to use his administration’s authority to protect abortion access and urging Americans to elect more pro-choice lawmakers to the House and Senate in midterm elections this fall.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, also a Catholic politician who has had battles with the Church over its pro-abortion stance, also anticipated the midterm elections by saying “[Republicans] cannot be allowed to have a majority in Congress… Women’s right to choose, reproductive freedom, is on the ballot in November.

Lori noted that while abortion law has passed to the states, the bishops’ conference remains an important national voice as Biden, Pelosi and other pro-abortion politicians will continue to explore ways to ensure the right to abortion at the federal level.

“We cannot rule out the possibility of further attempts at federal legislation and executive orders and other such things, which we may face in the short term,” the Archbishop said.

Regarding changing hearts and minds, Lori said it happens in neighbor-to-neighbor conversations, and when “the Church reaches out with love, reaches out with truth, reaches out with practical service. He acknowledged that there are those who might not want to dialogue, but said he was convinced that there are many people who are “troubled by this deep down”, who leave a lot of room for dialogue.

The strong opposition to this Supreme Court ruling has been evident since a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion on May 2 warned that the ruling would be made, sparking protests and dozens of attacks on pregnancy centers in all the countries. These attacks have also triggered an increased police presence in churches.

After the decision was released on June 24, large protests erupted across the country, during the day and continuing into the evening, with police on high alert in many places.

Lori said the potential for violence against Catholic churches and pro-life centers “is of great concern.”

“I think it’s important for us to recognize that the anger, the rhetoric, is very hot right now and we’re going to have a tough time, but I think we have to be steady, consistent, true to ourselves, be faithful to these women and their babies, and continue to hold up the banner of love even when we recognize that love will not be returned, at least in the short term,” Lori said.

Follow John Lavenburg on Twitter: @johnlavenburgUS

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