BALTIMORE – The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on December 1 to determine whether all pre-viability bans on abortion are unconstitutional in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a case that some say could dramatically change US abortion law and even lead to the Roe vs. Wade decision being entirely annulled. Gathered in Baltimore for their fall meeting, several bishops spoke with the Register about what the Church’s pro-life action would look like if Roe deer have been canceled.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, the outgoing chair of the USCCB pro-life committee, told the Registry last week that Roe deer to be rejected “would be an answer to a lot of prayers and a lot of hard work over the decades.”
However, he also added a caveat about the work that remains to be done. “We have to be aware that this does not mean that abortion will be prevented or protected by law in the United States,” he said. “This would mean that states would have a greater opportunity if they choose to protect the unborn child.”
Surround mothers with love
The president of the US Bishop’s Pro-Life Committee highlighted his Walking With Moms in Need initiative and said the effort to empower parishes to connect pregnant women with resources at the local level is “ what the Church should do to surround women with the love and support that every woman deserves.
Archbishop Nauman noted that a repeal of Roe deer would leave a mix of state-level abortion laws. In states where abortion is restricted, initiatives such as Walking With Moms in Need, the Archbishop stressed, “will become more important if we are able to protect with the law, there will hopefully be more. of women who will come to us for help. “
“That’s why we were really hoping to step up what we’re doing there, and for those states where the legislature won’t act on it, we must lovingly save those we can’t protect with the law,” he said. he declared. .
In his November 17 presentation on the initiative to the fall assembly of bishops, Bishop Nauman encouraged his brother bishops to prepare for Dobbs decision in June and to “expect an increase in appeals for help and assistance.”
“Yes Roe deer is overturned, the question, if I understand correctly, returns to the States and the answer will be uneven, ”Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori, who succeeds Archbishop Naumann as president of the Pro-Life Activities Committee. November 17 regarding the issue of abortion. “Whatever the case, the Church must be there and she must continue to teach with serenity, firmness, consistency and love. ”
No matter what happens in Dobbs, he said, “the duty to cherish and nurture human life will always be part of who we are.”
Katherine Talalas, deputy director of pro-life communications at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the Registry that “although we are so encouraged by how many states have increased pro-life protection and although we are excited about the opportunity with Dobbs to see more states doing it effectively, there will also be a corresponding increase in needs. ”
Talalas called Archbishop Naumann’s initiative “an important way” for the Church to meet this need. She said the initiative promotes “a parish-based response where a parish seeks to truly step into the shoes of pregnant and parenting women in their communities and to reach out in support and friendship to help better. serve women in their communities “. This is an “intensive inventory process where the parish takes a look around and says what’s going on,” assessing whether there are pregnancy care centers and programs. available in their region.
“We know there are all kinds of different services, but the inventory process helps parishes distill what is available for pregnant and parenting women in their area,” she said, adding that the parish can then examine the gaps in resources and how to fill them so that “no woman comes to our church in need without getting a full answer from us on what she can do to safely welcome her. child in the world ”.
Bishop Naumann’s initiative was greeted by the apostolic nuncio Bishop Christophe Pierre in his address to the bishops on November 16. with small gestures of kindness. Concrete gestures, not just ideas, show the motherly and tender face of the Church which is truly pro-life.
A shift towards state advocacy
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco told the Registry that “our goal is not to make abortion illegal, our goal is to make abortion unthinkable. Making it illegal will only be of great help to that end if we are truly pro-life and give women real options.
He said women need “love and support to make the choice of life, to bring this baby into the world and raise this baby into the world and that’s why I’m so proud of our Catholics and others.” people of faith leading these pro-life crisis pregnancy clinics. They give the woman this possibility. If all we did was make the abortion illegal and do nothing else it could make the situation worse because there would be a lot of illegal abortions and it is very unregulated as it is now. . ”
Archbishop Cordileone added that while he was happy with the possibility that Roe deer could be canceled, “it would be up to states, political struggle and advocacy would be at state level, but that doesn’t change our mission to be pro-life and provide women with love and support so they can make a choice for life and be happy.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., Agreed the problem would be far from over if abortion returned to the state level. He told the registry, “Unfortunately, you get a state like mine, Illinois, which a few years ago voted that if Roe vs. Wade were canceled, that abortion would still be legal in Illinois, so all that would do would be to distract our attention from Roe vs. Wade back in our state and how do we protect the lives of unborn children in the state of Illinois? ”
“Every state should face it,” he said. “Some states have banned abortion at certain stages of pregnancy, then there are others that I’m sure would follow that, but there would be others like Illinois where it would be a problem. very difficult battle to change this law. ”
Fighting the “throwaway culture”
Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, Washington, told the Register that although Roe deer was rejected, there would still be a pro-life battle for the Church given the “throwaway culture” that despises human dignity.
“Dignity, from conception to natural death and everything in between, will always be part of the mission of the Church,” he said, “because we live in a time when, as Pope Francis says, this throwaway culture, so the laws can change, the reality is that we are living with original sin and I think we will never have people who will accept or fully understand why the Church teaches the dignity of life.
“Look at how many of these areas where they change with regards to euthanasia,” he added. of life, the focus will probably shift to a push for euthanasia, anything that demeans the dignity of life, and therefore in other words: our work will always be there because it is only one disposable culture and we are called to proclaim the truth and the dignity of the human person.
“There will always be work for us,” Bishop Daly concluded, “if, God willing, the laws will be more pro-life regarding the issue of abortion, then we will deal with the dignity of the human person, sick people, dying, unborn children, trafficking, all these problems of life.