March 11March 11 Editorial: After ‘a great victory,’ work still needs to be done (July 1, 2022)

July 1, 2022


After ‘a great victory,’ work still needs to be done

On Friday, June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision on the question of whether individual states have the authority to limit abortion or ban the practice altogether. In its decision, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the Court concluded:

“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

This ruling came in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which centered on a Mississippi law that banned abortion after 15 weeks. The decision explicitly overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, stating that the rulings in these earlier cases erroneously recognized a right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution.

This is a great victory for those of us who believe that abortion is the unjustified taking of a human life. We are right to rejoice and be grateful for the Court’s reversal of decisions which resulted in the death of tens of millions of unborn children.

But what do we do now? Clearly, we still have work to do. The fight to defend human life continues—now more than ever. We must pray for women with unplanned pregnancies. We must advocate for laws at both the state and federal levels that will do everything possible to protect women and their unborn children. And we must engage in, and support financially, programs and activities that assist women in need.

As Archbishop Charles C. Thompson wrote in “We Are One in Christ: A Pastoral Letter on Christian Anthropology”:

“All life is sacred—especially those who feel unwanted or who have been rejected by unjust, unloving and inhuman laws, policies and social practices in this and every other age. Every person sincerely open to truth and goodness can come to recognize the sacred value of human life from the very beginning until its natural end, and can affirm the right of every human being to have this primary good respected to the highest degree.”

It is our serious responsibility, as citizens and as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, to work together to ensure that human life is protected at all stages. This means that we can never be indifferent to acts of violence—whether performed in a surgical room or carried out in the streets—that take away the God-given right to life. And it’s why we must take personal responsibility for what happens now that the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution places the regulating of abortion in the hands of “the people and their elected representatives.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called the ruling a “historic day in the life of our country.”

“We pray that our elected officials will now enact laws and policies that promote and protect the most vulnerable among us,” said the June 24 statement by Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, USCCB president, and Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Unquestionably, emotions will be extremely strong in the wake of this historic decision. While we applaud the Court’s decision, we dare not forget that many Americans—including, perhaps, family members, neighbors and local fellow citizens—will disagree with us and will work tirelessly to see laws enacted on the state and federal levels that ensure that “abortion rights” are restored.

With this in mind, all of us need to redouble our efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing difficult questions about pregnancy. Only if we are present to them and can accompany them in adverse circumstances will we truly succeed in defending the human life and dignity of all.

Whatever the reactions are to this Supreme Court decision, prayer, advocacy and assistance for those who need our support will continue to be critical to the success of the pro-life movement now and in the future.

Thanks be to God, our faith assures us that the Church will never cease to do what it has always done—to pray, to work, and to serve—until the day when every human life is protected in law and welcomed in love.

—Daniel Conway

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