July 15, 2022

Reflection / Mike Krokos

Despite Supreme Court’s decision, our prayers and work must continue

Mike KrokosI was in a hotel room on vacation when I learned the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month. 

I immediately offered a prayer of thanksgiving that the majority of justices had decided to take an important step in our decades-long fight to end abortion. A second prayer asked for cooler heads to prevail as I saw on television both pro-life and pro-abortion supporters coming together outside the court building in Washington to share their joy or displeasure at the announcement.

I was dismayed as I witnessed a confrontation where words and body language suggested people on opposite sides of the issue could not have a civil conversation. It again confirmed how divisive this life-and-death issue had become for many.

I thought of the nearly 63 million unborn children in the U.S. who died from abortion, and how their existence was seen by some as a problem. Our faith instructs us nothing could be further from the truth. We are taught to value and protect all human life, from conception to natural death. 

I later reflected on words shared in May of 2021 by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., then-chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities—words, in my view, that define who we are as a society.

“No member of our great nation is weaker, more vulnerable or less protected than the child in the womb,” he said. That sentiment applied in 1973, just as it does today, I thought.

The recent Supreme Court news reminded me of a National March for Life rally I attended in 1996, my first trip to our nation’s capital to take part with thousands of others in letting society know we felt abortion was a grave injustice that was unworthy of our great nation. 

Twenty-six years later, I marched again in D.C. on a frigid January day—this time with my teenage daughter Elizabeth and thousands more—as we listened to Father Mike Schmitz, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, Minn., who hosts the “Bible in a Year” podcast, actor Kirk Cameron of “Growing Pains” fame and several others remind us we needed to continue our prayers and efforts to build a culture of life. Their message that afternoon energized the sea of humanity that later marched toward the Supreme Court.

Despite the justices’ recent decision, our work is not done—far from it. 

The question of abortion access is returning to states, and here in Indiana, our legislators will begin a special session on July 25 to discuss the future of abortion in the Hoosier state. They need our prayers.

“We pray,” Indianapolis Archbishop Charles C. Thompson said in a statement after the June 24 ruling, “that Indiana’s General Assembly will move quickly to pass legislation to protect the

God-given dignity and humanity of all unborn babies and their mothers in our state, and we support all efforts to legally protect human life from the moment of conception until natural death.”

Not surprisingly, a wall of opposition is forming to convince politicians on both the state and federal levels that protecting acess to abortion and even codifying Roe v. Wade is what many Americans want. Suffice to say: we must let them know they are not speaking for us, and we do not support their efforts.

President Joe Biden on July 8 signed an executive order to safeguard access to medication abortion and emergency contraception; protect patient privacy; launch public education efforts; and strengthen “the security of and the legal options available to those seeking and providing abortion services.”

The president is “seeking every possible avenue to deny unborn children their most basic human and civil right, the right to life,” said Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“Rather than using the power of the executive branch to increase support and care to mothers and babies, the president’s executive order seeks only to facilitate the destruction of defenseless, voiceless human beings,” he said in a July 9 statement.

A few weeks before the justices’ decision, an archdiocesan priest in a homily touched on the ongoing abortion debate and reminded his listeners “charity” needed to be at the heart of their discussions. He also said our mission should not be to “conquer our opponents,” but to “pray for their conversion.”

As we move forward in our mission of building and strengthening a culture of life, those prayers are needed more than ever.

(Mike Krokos is editor of The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.)

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