Church’s Pro-Life Work Needs to Evolve Post-Roe

Many people never believed they would see the Supreme Court overthrow the 1973 ruling which made “abortion on demand” the law of the land.

Roe v. Wade and the 1992 judgment of Casey v. Planned Parenthood were deemed unconstitutional, thereby making the decision to permit abortion revert back to individual states.

To see this tremendous victory for the unborn occur on the day on which Catholics celebrated the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Christ and the herald of the Gospel, made it all the more glorious. Also, this year, June 24 on the liturgical calendar was the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the burning furnace of love and mercy.

As Bishop Robert Brennan reminds the faithful in his pastoral letter (see page 8), “We are challenged now to do more to foster a Culture of Life that respects the dignity of every human person.”

The New York State Bishops Conference stated: “The culture remains deeply divided on the issue, which will be evidenced by the patchwork of state statutes pertaining to abortion across the country … (T)o change the culture and build a culture of life, we need to enact family-friendly policies that welcome children, support mothers, cherish families and empower them to thrive.”

To value human life from conception to natural death, we need to truly witness the sanctity of life. The discussion needs to go beyond just being “anti-abortion” to being “pro-life.”

Catholics must concretely offer support options to mothers, parents, and their children.

With the decision to enshrine “abortion rights” on the state level, no doubt New York will become a destination for many seeking a legal abortion. So how can Catholic New Yorkers begin to change the hearts and minds of our neighbors in the Empire State?

The first phase should be for prominent Catholic voices to stand with Church teaching.

After the Supreme Court opinion was leaked in May, 86 Catholic politicians weighed in on the news. Their ranks included governors, congressmen, and senators. There were 84 Democrats and two Republicans, all of whom expressed their pro-abortion dissatisfaction with the anticipated overruling of Roe v. Wade.

What is the laity of the Church to think when President Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and New York Governor Kathy Hochel — all Catholics — demonize the decision and swear to do everything in their power to see the ruling changed?

As Bishop Brennan has noted, the work is merely beginning. It is a question of transforming the culture of death into a flourishing culture of life.

This remains the task — to be credible witnesses to the Lord who is the Creator and the Giver of Life.