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Where Do We Go From Here?

In its Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision released last week (June 24, 2022), the United States Supreme Court did what prolife advocates were hoping for. They overturned Roe vs. Wade.

I found my heart heavy with the news. I am certainly prolife but I worry about how much negative response there will be politically but even more so in terms of protests that would become violent and/or more vandalism and violence against prolife organizations. While there has been continuing vandalism, I am grateful it does not seem to have escalated.

I have never understood where in the constitution there was every a right to abortion but I am not a legal expert and this is not what I would like to write about today.

My topic for today is where do we go from here? For states with laws against abortion or with the support to pass such laws, this is an important step. I say “step” because the legal battle is not over. With states with trigger laws already in place to eliminate or restrict abortion, new legal challenges have already been filed in at least eight states.

I live in New York State where, unfortunately, there are laws that are meant to guarantee a women’s right to abortion. So, abortions will continue here. In fact, the NYS government is working to help women who come from other states where abortion is illegal to be able to come to New York to get an abortion. I am sad that this is how my tax dollars are being used.

What can we do?

We need to work to change people’s hearts to see abortion for what it is, the ending of an innocent life. The task is difficult. It might even seem impossible, but “nothing is impossible for God

I believe we can find the answer to “what can we do” about abortions in the statement issues on May 12, 2002 by the New York State Catholic Conference, “Toward a Pro-Life Future in the Empire State.” (In particular see the bulleted list near the end.)

What we need to do is support those who might feel pressured to have an abortion. Who is pressuring them? There are those who think abortion is a good choice for the mother. A woman/family might also feel pressured to have an abortion because they do not have the means to raise the child. To be prolife, we must not only support the woman/family during the pregnancy but after the child is born. Please note that I am saying “woman/family” rather than just “woman” because we are talking about a decision that affects both the mother and the father as well as others in the household.

We need to support those who are considering having an abortion in their material needs. (One way to do this is to support local pregnancy resource centers that are prolife with prayer, volunteering, and financial support.) We must also offer our support to change people’s hearts so they will not even consider an abortion. The task is difficult. We may feel like “lambs among wolves” (see Luke 10:3) trying to offer a prolife message to those who support abortion. It is difficult to dialogue.

How are we to work to change people’s hearts? It begins with understanding our Catholic prolife teaching. Only then can we share it with others.

As I mentioned in my homily this past Sunday, we are not simply against abortion. What we are is prolife. We support all life from conception till natural death. This includes life in the womb. We can find the prolife teaching of the Catholic Church in paragraphs 2270-2275 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Last year I did a series of presentations called Treating Life with Dignity and Love offering Catholic prolife teaching. Of course, this is all from a Catholic perspective. In my blog article, “Biology Makes Me Pro-Life”, I offered the following secular reasoning (slide from Part I in my series Treating Life with Dignity and Love)

Life is precious, including in the womb. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!” God is involved in our life even in our mother’s womb. In Jeremiah 1:5 we read, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary at the time of Jesus’ conception.

Life in the womb is a gift from God. Pope Francis writes (slide from Part I in my series Treating Life with Dignity and Love)

We do not determine what is good. God does. We are created in the image of God (slide from Part I in my series Treating Life with Dignity and Love)

What I offer in this article is only the tip of the iceberg of Catholic prolife teaching. There are four presentations in my series, Treating Life with Dignity and Love), each lasting about one hour. If you have not seen them before, I encourage you to watch them. Part I covers the dignity of life in general. Part II covers abortion and the death penalty. Part III covers euthanasia. Part IV concludes with an overview of other aspects of Catholic prolife teaching.

May God give each of us the grace we need to support life in all stages.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

2 Comments

  1. Linda says:

    Father Jeff

    I appreciate your blog today as I agree with your question of “Where do we go from here?”

    It seems that the issue of abortion is only the tip of the iceberg. The underlying issue as you pointed out is the dignity of all life! I think of a comment from a colleague who describes societal thinking as “Here’s my dollar give me my hamburger!” His thinking reflects the pace, the demanding aspect and the entitlement which seems to pervade thinking and expectations in todays world.

    Options do exist but often these options require time, reflection and prayer. Somehow we have to convince those in many situations that relate to the dignity of life to “take time.”

    As many of us have learned God has his own timetable. I truly believe God answers prayers and helps all of us.

  2. Fr. Jeff says:

    Linda,

    Thank you for your comment. Something about what you wrote made me think of how we need to respect one another if we have to have true dialogue on these important issues.

    Peace,

    Fr. Jeff

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