US bishops react to Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade
News: Roe v. Wade
On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Casey, returning the power to legislate limits on abortion to the states.
Numerous U.S. bishops have responded to the ruling. The Pillar will compile those responses here, and update as statements become available.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturns the court’s tragic 1973 decision that removed legal protection for unborn children. We welcome this important ruling and the opportunity it creates for a national conversation on protecting human life in the womb and promoting human dignity at all stages of life. This moment should serve as a turning point in our dialogue about the place an unborn child holds in our nation, about our responsibility to listen to women and support them through pregnancies and after the birth of their children, and about the need to refocus our national priorities to support families, particularly those in need.
The Catholic Church brings to such a conversation the conviction that every human life is sacred, that every person is made in the image and likeness of God and therefore deserving of reverence and protection. That belief is the reason the Catholic Church is the country’s largest provider of social services, many aimed at eliminating the systemic poverty and health care insecurity that trap families in a cycle of hopelessness and limit authentic choice.
We also come to this dialogue as Americans, knowing that the principle that all human beings are endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, and that first among these is the right to life.
Make no mistake, because this ruling regrettably will have little impact on abortion in Illinois, as there are virtually no restrictions here, we will continue to advocate strongly for legal protections for unborn children. And we will redouble our efforts to work with all to build a culture that values the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.
This ruling is not the end of a journey, but rather a fresh start. It underscores the need to understand those who disagree with us, and to inculcate an ethic of dialogue and cooperation. Let us begin by examining our national conscience, taking stock of those dark places in our society and in our hearts that turn to violence and deny the humanity of our brothers and sisters, and get to work building up the common good by choosing life.
Today’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health is a welcome and positive step toward creating a life-affirming society. It is a necessary step. Abortion is too often viewed as a positive good and a practice necessary to ensure women’s liberty. Although this perspective is deeply flawed, it is a widespread belief which will take time and patience to overcome.
Tensions are high. Violence and property destruction have already occurred in many places, and threats of further violence have been made by groups opposed to the decision of the Court.
As we know, the Court’s decision will not end abortion in our country. In Texas, where laws protecting the unborn are relatively robust, much work will remain, as we increase our assistance to mothers and families and continue working for just laws to strengthen support for parents and children.
I urge Catholics to act prudently and to avoid situations that may lead to public confrontation. We are called to speak the truth wisely, avoiding conduct that could unnecessarily inflame tensions. I ask for your prayers; for peace, for our nation, for mothers and their children, and for ourselves, that we will not cease working for the dignity of all, especially the unborn and the vulnerable.
We give thanks to God for today’s decision of the United States Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This just decision will save countless innocent children simply waiting to be born.
On this historic day, our gratitude extends to the millions of heroic Americans who have worked tirelessly toward this outcome for nearly a half-century. Women and men, children and adults, believers and non-believers, people of every culture and background have advocated for life. They have been a charitable and compelling voice for the voiceless, and today, their voice has been heard.
As Catholics, we have prayed and fasted, held vigils, offered Masses, and peacefully witnessed in these last five decades. We have joined others in educating schoolchildren, opening pregnancy care centers, walking with mothers, offering post-abortion counseling, and marching, year after year, to the United States Supreme Court to witness for life. Today, our voice has been heard.
With the entire pro-life community, we are overjoyed with this outcome of the Court. However, we acknowledge the wide range of emotions associated with this decision. We call on all Catholics and everyone who supports the right to life for unborn children to be charitable, even as we celebrate an important historical moment and an answer to a prayer.
We must remember that this is a judicial victory, not a cultural one. The culture remains deeply divided on the issue, which will be evidenced by the patchwork of state statutes pertaining to abortion across the country. To 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. We outlined our vision for a pro-life New York in our recent statement, available here, and we rededicate ourselves to helping every expectant mother to carry her baby to term.
Building a culture of life is not solely the responsibility of the government or those heroic individuals working on the front lines, in crisis pregnancy centers and other ministries. All of us need to respect the dignity and sanctity of human life in everything we do: in how we treat our children, spouses and parents; in the way we behave in our place of work; in sum, how we live Jesus’ two great commandments to love God and love our neighbor.
Love, charity and reverence for human life from the moment of conception through natural death – these will build and sustain a culture of life.
Millions of Americans have worked tirelessly for almost 50 years towards this outcome. We thank them with every fiber of our being. Their vital work continues, and we commit ourselves to it.
Nearly 50 years ago when Roe v. Wade was handed down, our nation became a house divided against itself by pitting freedom of choice before even the inalienable right of life itself. Since then, we have tirelessly prayed and worked for a restoration of the values stated in the Declaration of Independence that have made ours a truly great nation.
Human life is precious and sacred. With the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, now we can begin to heal those divisions that have so diminished us as a people and as a society.
We rejoice in this latest step in our journey, but our work is not done. Locally and nationally, we still have more to do to advance the dignity of human life and to make sure that the full range of life issues are adequately addressed. This includes supporting pregnant women in making life-affirming choices, providing better availability of prenatal and postnatal care for children and their mothers, advocating for affordable child care and safe schools, and advancing policies that support mothers in school and in the workforce.
We must also recognize that a life-affirming ethic should also draw attention to a host of other areas that should be of great concern to humanity. This includes revoking the death penalty and caring for the imprisoned; addressing all forms of injustice, including racism; caring for the poor, the sick, elderly, and vulnerable; and advancing a greater recognition of our calling in the entire spectrum of human relationships to be brothers and sisters to one another.
For all of us who have spoken, written, worked, marched, and prayed to reverse Roe v. Wade, today’s Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson is deeply significant and encouraging. This decision will create the possibility of protecting human life from conception; it calls us to recognize the unique burden faced by women in pregnancy; and it challenges us as a nation to work together to build up more communities of support — and available access to them — for all women experiencing unplanned pregnancies.
During the past half-century, as the abortion debate continued, the Catholic Church has often been accused of imposing a religious belief on our pluralistic society. It is indeed the case that, when addressing the Catholic community, the Church has used both religious and moral arguments to oppose abortion. But when engaging the wider American civil society, elected officials, and our legal system, the Church has defended human life from its inception as a matter of human rights. Our continued efforts in advocating our position on the protection of unborn children is consistent with our advocacy for issues affecting the dignity of all persons at all stages and in all circumstances of life. The Church employs this principle of consistency in addressing issues of race, poverty, and human rights generally. It is a position that presents a moral argument as a foundation for law and policy to protect human life.
I welcome the Court’s decision, but I do not underestimate how profoundly divisive the issue of abortion has been and will continue to be in our public life. Even more tragic has been the personal suffering of women facing unplanned pregnancies in difficult situations. The Church has consistently opposed the moral and legal dimensions of Roe v. Wade; we also adamantly reject stigmatizing, criminalizing, judging or shaming women who have had abortions or are considering them. Too often isolated and desperate, women have felt they had no other choice. They need and deserve spiritual, emotional, and material support from the Church and from society.
In the Archdiocese of Boston, we have sought, through Project Rachel and Pregnancy Help, to support women facing a crisis pregnancy and women whose lives have been impacted by an abortion. In addition, the Church offers the Lord’s boundless mercy and healing to those suffering from the spiritual harms of abortion. In the face of recent statistics indicating an increase in abortions, our pastoral and social support for women will continue, will be welcoming, and will be available to all who need them.
Today’s Supreme Court decision begins a new chapter in our legislative and legal forums as the public debates about abortion will not end. Since 1973, there has been continuing opposition to Roe v. Wade’s reasoning and its consequences. Those consequences have permeated the political, legal, and social fabric of American life. The radical character of the Roe decision catalyzed some of the deepest reactions and responses to any issue in our nation’s history. The public arguments will now shift to the states, the Congress, and the courts. It is my hope that this new chapter may be a time of a different tone and focus in our civic life.
First, we must adopt a wider vision of the multiple threats to human life in our society today. The recognition that human life begins with conception and continues through natural death. All human life deserves moral and legal protection at all times. Protection of life should be comprehensive, not selective. The Church, in its own positions, should reflect this wider vision, and we are called to engage our civil society around this more holistic view of the value and dignity of human life. It is commonly recognized by those on both sides of the abortion debate that conditions of poverty and injustice have been and are today a major factor contributing to abortions. Those who have opposed and supported Roe can and should find common ground for a renewed commitment to social and economic justice in our country.
Second, protecting human life at all times can only succeed if we rediscover the value of civility in discourse, in protest, and in policy advocacy. Respect for life calls for mutual recognition of and respect for our common dignity as persons and citizens. In recent years, the idea of civility and respectful discourse has suffered from neglect, as has the respect for human life. The renewal of both is possible and urgently necessary.
As a bishop and a citizen, I hope and pray we can create a culture that protects the most vulnerable at the beginning of life and at any time life is threatened in any way.
The United States Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide recognizes that even the most helpless and dependent human beings have a right to life and possess inherent dignity and worth.
The Catholic Church teaches that all human life is sacred, from conception to natural death. We must oppose the many threats to human life and dignity evident in contemporary society, including abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and capital punishment.
Abortion represents a failure to recognize the sanctity of human life and promotes a culture in which human life in its most vulnerable moment is perceived as disposable. It is telling that in the public debate, the unborn child frequently disappears from the moral calculus.
Furthermore, abortion is not healthcare. It is a disastrous attempt to create a false equivalency between the taking of innocent human life and the “reproductive health” of women in our society. It results in inhuman and lethal consequences.
We join with Pope Francis in noting that “it is troubling to see how simple and convenient it has become for some to deny the existence of a human life as a solution to problems that can and must be solved for both the mother and her unborn child” (Pope Francis, address to the United Nations, Sept. 25, 2020). Our Holy Father has repeatedly said that abortion is not a religious issue; it’s a human rights issue.
We recognize that a woman’s decision to have an abortion is often tragic and painful. A woman who takes this desperate action is often under great duress and is encouraged by social structures that are patently sinful. As people who care deeply for all women struggling with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies, we must ensure that life-giving options are available and our support does not end simply with the birth of a child.
We recognize that a significant number of our fellow citizens are angered by this decision of our nation’s highest Court. We hope that all Americans can discuss respectfully how best to support women who face crucial decisions while recognizing the dignity of the most vulnerable among us.
We agree with the analysis of Pope Francis, who has made it clear that if we fail to protect life, no other rights matter.
Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles (USCCB president) and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, (USCCB pro-life activities committee chairman):
This is a historic day in the life of our country, one that stirs our thoughts, emotions and prayers. For nearly fifty years, America has enforced an unjust law that has permitted some to decide whether others can live or die; this policy has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of preborn children, generations that were denied the right to even be born.
America was founded on the truth that all men and women are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This truth was grievously denied by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized and normalized the taking of innocent human life. We thank God today that the Court has now overturned this decision. We pray that our elected officials will now enact laws and policies that promote and protect the most vulnerable among us.
Our first thoughts are with the little ones whose lives have been taken since 1973. We mourn their loss, and we entrust their souls to God, who loved them from before all ages and who will love them for all eternity. Our hearts are also with every woman and man who has suffered grievously from abortion; we pray for their healing, and we pledge our continued compassion and support. As a Church, we need to serve those who face difficult pregnancies and surround them with love.
Today’s decision is also the fruit of the prayers, sacrifices, and advocacy of countless ordinary Americans from every walk of life. Over these long years, millions of our fellow citizens have worked together peacefully to educate and persuade their neighbors about the injustice of abortion, to offer care and counseling to women, and to work for alternatives to abortion, including adoption, foster care, and public policies that truly support families. We share their joy today and we are grateful to them. Their work for the cause of life reflects all that is good in our democracy, and the pro-life movement deserves to be numbered among the great movements for social change and civil rights in our nation’s history.
Now is the time to begin the work of building a post-Roe America. It is a time for healing wounds and repairing social divisions; it is a time for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue, and for coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into this world in love.
As religious leaders, we pledge ourselves to continue our service to God’s great plan of love for the human person, and to work with our fellow citizens to fulfill America’s promise to guarantee the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all people.
Glory be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
For nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade has been a dark cloud over our country and has played a role in tens of millions of pre-born babies dying. In this life, we will never know the unrepeatable gifts they would have brought to our families, communities, and world.
But for those same 50 years, millions of Catholics have prayed unceasingly and worked tirelessly to promote a culture of life and for an end to the evil that is abortion. God only knows the number of rosaries and other prayers that have been offered up that the dignity of life might be recognized for every child, every mother, and every family. And we know we were certainly not alone in this effort, but joined by many other faith communities and even atheists.
So today we celebrate and praise God for this monumental decision to finally overturn Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood! This is a remarkable moment, and I want to personally thank everyone who has fervently prayed and worked that we might see this day. Our prayers have truly been answered!
With that said, we acknowledge that the work continues, especially here in Colorado.
While precious lives will no doubt be saved because of this decision, in states like ours, the abortion industry and many lawmakers are increasing their efforts to promote Colorado as an “abortion destination.”
Therefore, we must continue to lovingly speak the truth about the God-given dignity of every unique human life from conception until natural death, and we must increase our support of our archdiocesan and parish ministries that offer authentically compassionate care for women, their babies, and their families.
We must ensure our Catholic parishes are places of welcome for women facing challenging pregnancies or who find it difficult to care for their children after birth, so that any mother needing assistance will receive life-affirming support and be connected to appropriate programs and resources where she can get help.
And we must always show Christ’s mercy to anyone who has received or participated in an abortion, and continue to pray that those who support and promote abortion have a profound encounter with Christ’s love and a total conversion, so that abortion is truly unthinkable.
The work ahead of us here in Colorado will continue to be challenging, but we are reminded today that “nothing will be impossible for God.” (Luke 1:37)
Today, the United States Supreme Court reversed course on the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that made abortion on demand the law of the land by returning this issue to the individual states to govern restrictions and access to abortion. We give thanks to God that the injustice of abortion on demand has come to an end, and that we as a society will have the opportunity to save more innocent unborn lives.
The people of God in the Archdiocese of New Orleans must stand ready to support mothers in need and their babies. We must do what we can to advocate for medical care and resources for mothers and their families. We must support businesses that put women and families first in their practices. We must provide real resources for vulnerable women in unplanned pregnancies and encourage families to support their daughters and sons when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
Perhaps more importantly, we must do more to change the hearts and minds of people when it comes to the dignity of all human life. We must form our young people in the truth of Christ and natural law about the right to life. We must teach our young women and men respect for themselves and their full and authentic femininity and masculinity. We must be consistent in our ethics regarding life from the womb to the sick and elderly to the prisoner. As Catholics we must unequivocally stand for the dignity and respect for all human life from conception to natural death.
This is an historic day in the pro-life movement. The overturning of Roe v. Wade is a defining moment in our lifetime that fixes a legal and moral mistake, which led to decades of emotional distress, tremendous guilt, physical harm and infertility for women, and the unnecessary and cruel deaths of more than 63 million unborn babies who were denied their God-given potential because of poverty, fear or convenience. Women and children deserve better. Mothers who face unexpected or crisis pregnancies need support – financial, spiritual and emotional. May they see the face of God in their children and embrace the joy, beauty and difficulties of motherhood. We must come together to pray for the grace to deepen our appreciation for the sanctity and value of all human life from conception until natural death.
“The Arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.” Never have the words the Rev. Martin Luther King, the great prophet of human rights in the 20th century, rung more true. This historic Supreme Court decision would not have happened without fifty years of patient, loving, hard work by people of all faiths and none in diverse fields including social service, religion, law, medicine, culture, education, policy and politics. But our work has just begun. The artificial barriers the Supreme Court created by erecting a so-called Constitutional right out of thin air have been removed. The struggle to demonstrate we can build a culture that respects every human life, including mothers in crisis pregnancies and the babies they carry, continues. We must redouble our efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, as well as to offer mercy to those suffering the after-effects of the abortion experience. Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn, pray for us.
Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle, Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima, and Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane (via the Washington Catholic Conference):
Respecting the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death is a core tenet of our Catholic faith. This conviction compels us to seek justice and advocate for the vulnerable, the voiceless, and the afflicted. Upholding the dignity of every human person drives us to care for the poor, to welcome immigrants, to seek racial and social justice, and to oppose abortion. We commend the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and give individual states the opportunity to enact laws that respect life. We welcome this opportunity to reduce the number of abortions in the United States and build a culture of life.
Due to laws passed prior to Roe, abortion remains legal in Washington state. Regardless of the legal status of abortion, the Church’s call to respect life remains unchanged. We must continue not only to speak out against abortion, but also to care for mothers who face unplanned or challenging pregnancies. As mothers and families choose life under difficult circumstances, we are called to accompany them on their journey and to do all we can to support them and their children. Advocating for life does not end with the birth of a child. Respecting the dignity of every human person means ensuring that families’ basic needs are met and that they are given the opportunity to thrive.
At this time, we invite all Catholic parishes, institutions, organizations, and individuals to redouble efforts to accompany women and couples confronted with unexpected or difficult pregnancies. Many Catholic programs throughout the state provide assistance, accompaniment, and mentorship to vulnerable families as they nurture their children from pregnancy through early childhood. Now is the time for the faithful to offer a viable alternative to abortion by increasing efforts to serve families in need. Contact the Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) to learn more.
Much work remains to build a culture of life in our state. Through the Washington State Catholic Conference, we will continue to advocate for public policies that support life and help struggling families thrive. Please join us in advocating for the common good. Finally, we invite you to pray with us that all will one day recognize that every human life is sacred and deserving of reverence, protection, and assistance in times of need.
I am truly heartened and overjoyed by today’s historic ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturns the Roe v. Wade decision after nearly five decades. In the United States, that tragic ruling has resulted in the deaths of more than 60 million babies in the womb since the early 1970s.
At this crucial time, we must now commit as a nation to devoting additional resources and implementing policies that support mothers and fathers, children, and families. This includes everyone -- the Church, elected leaders, and all people. No woman should ever feel alone; that she is trapped and that abortion is her only option. There has to be a vision put forth that is positive and life-affirming.
The Catholic Church has a long and proud history of providing this assistance through programs such as pregnancy shelters, food pantries, financial support, parenting classes, and myriad other services. Our parishes, Catholic Charities, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and many other organizations and ministries stand ready to help to ensure better futures for these mothers and fathers and their babies. We know that this good work must grow and increase.
We thank God for this decision for life. We offer prayers of gratitude to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a heart where everyone can find a home filled with love, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we look to a future full of hope, with families flourishing and succeeding.
The US Supreme Court ruled today that "the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey are overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives." It's unclear what that means in practice, but it’s a huge step in the right direction. There’s clearly still work to be done to assure the most basic of human rights, the right to life, which is also the foundation of a just society. Not everyone will receive this news as positive. So, while we may disagree with them about a right to abortion, we can be sensitive to their anger, and assure them that we most certainly uphold the rights and dignity of women. And we can do that by offering women and children help during pregnancy and after childbirth, as well as by working for a just society where they can live in dignity, and by protecting the earth, so they have a place to live. This is an answer to untold numbers of prayers and sacrifices offered for the protection of children in the womb, as well as the fruit of years of advocacy by a multitude of people; these pray-ers and workers are to be commended. Finally, we entrust to God’s loving care all the innocent children killed by abortion, as well as the people who suffer the wounds from having had or performed an abortion. O God, send your Archangel Raphael to bring us Your healing.
As a Church that advances the Culture of Life and as members of a civil society, we welcome the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dobbs case.
While no doubt we all feel a renewed hope for the future, let us also remember that our struggle to preserve the sanctity of human life is only just beginning. Abortion laws now return to the individual states. Our challenge is to continue to promote that human life begins at conception and needs to be protected at all times.
The Church will continue to support all women — especially those experiencing unplanned pregnancies where abortion seems like the only or easy solution — by providing the spiritual, emotional and financial support necessary through our parishes, support networks and pregnancy centers.
I appeal to all in our society to work together to make the thought of abortion not only unthinkable, but also unnecessary.
More than 63 million children lost their lives to the scourge of abortion. May their souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.
The Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case is a major victory for unborn
children, for their mothers and for the cause of justice in our country. Citizens and their elected representatives in each state will now have the opportunity to guarantee the right to life for the child in the womb.
Many in our country will not agree with the reasoning and the decision of the
Supreme Court. And some women will still wonder how they can meet the challenge of an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. This is a moment for each of us to commit to not let any woman face her challenge alone. In the Catholic community, we possess many resources that are well suited to support moms and their children. Mothers and children contribute gifts to our communities that we want to cherish.
For years we have witnessed the help given to women by pregnancy resource
centers, homes for pregnant and new moms and various mentoring programs. Catholics sponsor childcare and pre-school programs, St. Vincent de Paul chapters provide food and rent assistance, we operate excellent K-12 schools, along with colleges and universities willing to provide education support. Catholic Charities hosts a domestic violence shelter, supportive counseling, food pantries and other services.
We can quickly respond to mothers and children who need us, and we can come up
with the material resources to make something good happen for them, all while respecting their dignity and being enriched by their hopes.
Our parishes will be connecting to a national effort called “Walking with Moms in
Need.” We envision that each parish community will be seen as a place of warmth and acceptance where woman can turn in their need. This will require caring parishioners who are acquainted with available services and who are willing to accompany women with respect on their journey to a peaceful and secure life with their children.
As we work to shape just laws in Nebraska to protect the unborn, we must each
take up the responsibility to create communities where these children and their parents can flourish.
I am grateful to the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States for their willingness to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and for their opinion, which affirms the deep value inherent to every human life.
As Catholics, we believe that life is God’s most precious gift and that we share a responsibility to uphold its beauty and sanctity from conception to natural death. In addition to being strong advocates for the unborn, this responsibility extends to caring for the hungry, the poor, the sick, the immigrant, the elderly, the oppressed, and any of our brothers and sisters who are marginalized. In short, to be truly pro-life means to recognize the presence of God in everyone and to care for them accordingly.
The Church’s strong commitment to protecting and preserving human life is a holistic one. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is one of the largest private providers of social services in the region. Our ministries and programs provide a continuum of care to those in need regardless of their faith tradition.
Our charitable programs provide formula, diapers, education, and comprehensive support services to pregnant women, fathers, new parents, and single parents. We have distributed more than a million meals in the greater Philadelphia region to those struggling with food insecurity. We shelter the homeless, support veterans, those in recovery, and help students with special needs receive the Catholic education they deserve. We have helped desperate families get back on their feet and bring joy to the lives of the aged and lonely.
I have often said that we are a people of hope. It is my personal hope that we can all live and work peacefully, side-by-side, to create a true culture of life in our Nation.
Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland:
Today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which reverses the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, is a welcome and potential watershed moment in the history of the United States. This decision means that states, including Ohio, now have the option to legally protect the most vulnerable of all human beings: babies in the womb.
The constant teaching of the Catholic Church is that human life begins at conception. God alone is the Author and Lord of life. Therefore, the intentional taking of innocent human life is intrinsically evil and must always be opposed. Modern science only strengthens the Church’s opposition to abortion, as advancements in genetics and prenatal imaging increasingly demonstrate that a unique human life begins at conception.
For the past 50 years, Catholics and other people of good will have peacefully prayed in front of abortion clinics, marched in Washington, D.C. and petitioned their lawmakers, hoping that the blessed day would come when communities would no longer be required by law to sanction the killing of innocent human beings in the womb. Equally important, we have assisted women in unexpected or crisis pregnancies with material resources and personal accompaniment, both during pregnancy and after their child is born. Expectant mothers can face many challenges, including lack of support from the father, financial strains, concerns about her own health and that of her child, and pressures from family and friends. Thank you to the pregnancy centers, Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul conferences, Catholic healthcare systems and other wonderful pro-life ministries that have steadfastly walked with women in need, helping them navigate these difficult circumstances.
For a listing of the many resources available for women in unexpected or crisis pregnancies in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, please go to https://catholicaoc.org/forlife.
Despite these efforts, more than 65 million innocent children have lost their lives to abortion in the United States since Roe v. Wade. This sad fact demonstrates the desperate need for conversion of hearts and minds to a culture of life in our country, one that respects the inherent dignity and sacredness of every human being from conception to natural death.
The reversal of Roe v. Wade will not by itself bring about this conversion, but prayer and a joyful outpouring of love and support for pregnant women, especially those most in need, will bring us closer. No woman should feel so alone, coerced or hopeless that she chooses to end her child’s life through abortion. I urge everyone in our archdiocese to both pray for and actively assist all expectant mothers. Together, let us redouble our commitment to caring for women, children and families so that abortion is not only illegal, but unthinkable.
While the decision announced today by the U.S. Supreme Court is a cause for praise and thanks to God, it does not mean our work is over. I join my brother bishops in Michigan in affirming that the Church must redouble her efforts to ensure every woman, child, and family has the support necessary to thrive in pregnancy, early childhood, and beyond.
In the Archdiocese of Detroit, we have partnered with Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan to launch Walking With Moms in Need, which equips Catholic parishes and parishioners to assist pregnant and parenting mothers. We seek to address and resolve the struggles women and families face, rather than contributing to the “throwaway culture” that proposes eliminating people as an acceptable solution.
As we renew and redouble our efforts, let us continue to pray unceasingly for all pregnant women and their children, that they know the love of Christ as shared through the witness borne by you, me, and all Catholics.
Today's decision of the US Supreme Court overturning the fateful Roe v. Wade is certainly welcomed by all those who recognize that human life begins at conception and that this is a scientific and biological fact and not merely a religious belief or ideological theory. As such the unborn child should be welcomed in life and protected by law.
However, today's decision does not outlaw abortion in the United States. But it would return decision-making about abortion policy to the people and their elected representatives. Even pro-choice Justice Ruth Ginsburg was no fan of the legal reasoning behind Roe v. Wade which many criticized as "the justices legislating from the bench."
We hope that dismantling Roe will allow legislation protecting the unborn to move forward in our state legislatures and to survive constitutional challenges in the future.
Abortion too often is seen as the solution to an unforeseen problem, a fall back position if contraception failed or was not used. But abortion is no solution — and it is no right. It is a wrong, a grievous wrong that has prematurely ended the lives of more than 60 million souls in this country alone since 1973.
The Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization affirms our belief that life is precious, valuable, and should be protected at all stages and that states have a compelling interest to protect the unborn and limit abortion, is welcome news. This has been the Church’s prayer for the last 50 years.
This decision is the culmination of prayer and decades of legislative advocacy, life-affirming events, and walking with families facing an unplanned pregnancy. In New Mexico, we have worked hard to expand prenatal services through home visiting, secure access to universal pre-K, an increase in SNAP benefits (food stamps), and to advocate for the family tax credit. These policies help to support women and families in life-affirming ways. Yet, there are many more ways we as Catholics must support and walk with women and families in need.
While the Dobbs ruling is hopeful in our work to protect life and provide for mothers and children, our work has just begun. New Mexico has very few limits on abortion, even allowing minors to seek an abortion without parental knowledge. It is well known that many from other states come to New Mexico seeking an abortion because it is so accessible. In those ways, New Mexico makes ending a life easy but keeping one more difficult. I hope we can reverse this to support women and families to make life-affirming choices.
The Supreme Court has changed a law. We must change hearts.
In turn, we must redouble our efforts to reverse the prioritization of abortion in favor of helping women raise their children despite daunting circumstances. From decades of holding the hands of those who are struggling with the decision to have an abortion, we know that for many women, abortion is not a choice they want to make but rather a choice they feel they have to make. We know from our work with mothers and families that they don’t need expanded abortion services. They need support and care. They need housing assistance, prenatal and postpartum care, medical care for their families, home visiting, protection from domestic violence, paid family leave, childcare, and maternity accommodations from employers. Rising inflation and soaring housing and healthcare costs make it more difficult to raise a child. I hope we expand access to life-affirming services that empower women in our state with the confidence that they won’t walk through pregnancy or parenting alone or fearful.
I hope women know they are cared for and supported and that there are lifeaffirming options when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. I hope lawmakers provide equitable assistance and commit new funding and resources for maternity and childcare. I ask that all Catholics throughout the state meet this moment and actively engage through the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, in their parishes, and in their communities. Learn more about the Church’s nationwide, parish-based effort called Walking with Moms in Need to prayerfully support pregnant and parenting mothers in need. We have compiled a local resource list for pregnant moms. It is not enough to claim you are for life; you must be the hands and feet of Christ working to make it a reality. Be a strong voice, a faithful companion on the journey, and a beacon of hope to those struggling with difficult decisions.
I want to emphasize that as pastor and shepherd of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, the church is here for everyone, even those who might disagree and are not rejoicing today. To those of you who are considering abortion, we are here to journey with you and to support you and your children in difficult situations. And while I am grateful today for the Supreme Court’s decision and the countless lives that will be saved because of it, I look to increase our work to protect the sanctity of every life and support New Mexico’s women, children, and families and to journey with women in need.
The dignity of the human person is the foundation of Catholic Social Teaching and as Catholics we are called to consistently protect and defend life. Today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization is an opportunity to further a culture of life in our country.
In this historic moment, I call upon Catholics and all people of good will to respond with care and I join my brother Ohio bishops in embracing a broad vision where all people can flourish and contribute to the common good. In public policy, including here in Ohio, we expect to have the opportunity to now advocate for laws that legally protect the lives of those not yet born. At the same time, as people committed to life, we must also advocate for policies that can more effectively respond to the many realities that threaten life and human dignity: systemic poverty that affects women, children, and families in a profound way, the wide availability of assault weapons and the deeply rooted causes of violence in our culture, the mental health and addiction crises, an unjust system of capital punishment, the enduring scourge of racism, among many other pressing needs.
Faith communities have an important role in responding with care and practicing what Pope Francis calls the “art of accompaniment.” I join with U.S. Bishops throughout the country in encouraging all parishes to find new ways to accompany women, children, and families through the Walking with Moms in Need initiative. In the Diocese of Youngstown, Catholic Charities works with low-income families every day, providing assistance with food, housing, utilities and other basic needs, as well as linking them with services and resources to help them succeed as parents and work toward greater financial self-sufficiency.
While the Dobbs decision will no-doubt engender all kinds of reactions and response, it is important that we accompany by listening to one another, even in our disagreement. We must especially listen to women and families as they share their experiences and needs.
Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, Michigan:
Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington:
For nearly 50 years, our nation has suffered under the enormous weight of a wrongly reasoned Supreme Court decision. Roe v. Wade imposed legalized abortion on all 50 states, effectively denying the electorate the freedom and power to debate and decide the controversial issue. Since that decision, more than 63 million babies have died from the horrible brutality of abortion.
The Supreme Court today has overturned that destructive and profoundly unjust decision and restored to the people the power to enact life-affirming laws in their states and in Congress.
We thank God for this welcome decision. At the same time, we also know that the work of protecting unborn children and their parents from the tragedy of abortion is far from finished. This is one, key moment in what I pray will be a long line of subsequent life-affirming victories. There is much work to do to create laws and policies in Virginia and beyond that recognize the sanctity of every human life and that provide women and their babies the protection, care and resources necessary to flourish.
Through our diocesan and parish ministries and Catholic Charities, the Church of the Diocese of Arlington will continue to accompany mothers experiencing crisis pregnancies, and to provide pregnancy and adoption support, medical and emergency financial assistance, and care for those who have experienced abortion. We seek to remind these mothers-and fathers: You are not alone! We are here and ready to accompany you every step of the way.
To the women, men and young people throughout our diocese and nation who, through prayer and action, have tirelessly defended life in the womb and assisted mothers in their pregnancies, I express my sincere appreciation for all you have done. Now I urge you to remain committed to the long yet hope-filled work ahead to build a culture of life. We must remain engaged with our elected officials, urging them to support the dignity and sanctity of every life from conception until natural death. Your prayers, service and advocacy are vitally needed to make abortion in Virginia unthinkable.
To all who have endured the pain of abortion, I assure you, Our Lord desires to bring you comfort and peace. Through his mercy, you can experience his healing and forgiveness and come to know God's abiding presence in your life. The Catholic Church stands ready to walk with you on that journey.
May Our Lord, in his mercy, usher in more pro-life victories throughout our country. As a nation that prides itself on standing as “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” may we always give first priority to protecting the most vulnerable among us.
Bishop James Conley of Lincoln:
Bishop John Folda of Fargo:
With gratitude and joy, we mark the Supreme Court ruling that finally overturns Roe v. Wade and legally allows states like North Dakota to once again be a sanctuary for all children, born and unborn. Over the last decades, millions of children lost their lives to abortion, and untold numbers of women and men suffered from the wounds of abortion. Now, thank God, every child has a chance to be protected once again, and we can continue our efforts to build a culture of life in North Dakota and throughout the United States.
Even with this ruling, we know that our work is not done. The Church will continue our commitment to assist women in need so they will never consider abortion as their only alternative. We give thanks for the many people who have worked tirelessly not only for the lives of the unborn but also for their mothers and fathers. And we pray that every child, created in the image of God, will be given a chance to live and grow as a member of our human family.
Bishop Donald Hying of Madison:
After nearly half a century of federal legalized abortion, more than 65 million precious lives lost, and countless others enduring profound pain and suffering in the aftermath, today’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision effectively returns the question of abortion to the states, and is a long-awaited answer to decades of prayer and sacrifice by millions in our country. It offers us great hope for a deeper flourishing of human dignity. Many fewer lives will be lost to the grave injustice of abortion, which is the deliberate and direct killing of a human being, and a culture of life can begin to take root where it was previously not possible. It also offers the Catholic Church in the United States, and all those of good will who stand with us in upholding the sanctity of human life, the opportunity and privilege to redouble our efforts to accompany women and couples facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, as well as supporting parents in their care for their sons and daughters. We will continue to welcome all those in need of assistance and offer to them the best we have to give, with sensitivity and compassion, so that children born in crisis situations have what they need to truly grow and flourish.
For many states, this decision does not end the scourge of abortion, and in other states elected officials are vowing not to enforce bans or restrictions. Therefore, the work of the Pro-Life movement will go on. We need to continue to transform hearts and minds, expand our network of pregnancy help centers, maternity homes, Catholic health care, and social services. We want all of our churches to serve as resource centers for pregnant and parenting mothers. The good work must continue to grow and our fervent prayer must continue and increase, so that parents are truly equipped with the resources they need to succeed.
A brief list of institutions and programs in the immediate area for individuals or couples struggling with an unexpected or difficult pregnancy, those struggling with caring for their children, as well those suffering the pain and loss of abortion include: CareNet, Elizabeth House, Our Lady of Hope Clinic, Pregnancy Helpline, Project Rachel, Rachel’s Vineyard, Saint Vincent de Paul Societies, Walking with Moms in Need, and the Women’s Care Center, as well as many others throughout the diocese and state.
In all these ways and more, the Catholic Church witnesses to the sanctity of all human life, from conception to natural death, and works to build a true culture of life in our nation. May a renewed commitment to life overflow into increased protection of unborn children and expanded support for their mothers and families.
While we welcome this week’s good news for the value of human life, it is important to remember that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health does not put a universal end to abortion. Decisions about access to abortion now reside with our state governments. This Supreme Court decision does not change abortion access in the State of Missouri. The diocese stands ready to meet the increased demand for resources that may result with an renewed focus on alternatives to abortion.
The Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion is well-documented and has not wavered. The Catholic Church is also the world’s largest provider of resources to mothers, fathers and families facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, regardless of their faith tradition, through Catholic Charities’ Child and Family Services, many smaller organizations and parish commitments across the globe. Anyone affected by abortion in our area will still have the same resources available to them regardless of this change in federal law. We also expect new resources and improved access to them will develop in the coming months. Download a printable list of current resources HERE.
The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will continue its commitment to defend the dignity of every human person and the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. This includes redoubling our efforts to compassionately accompany mothers and fathers who are facing unplanned or difficult pregnancies, as well as to offer compassion and mercy to those suffering from abortion.
Bishop David Konderla of Tulsa:
Today, I am gratified that our nation’s highest court has overturned the fundamentally unjust Roe v. Wade decision and restored to states the ability to protect the dignity and rights of the human person from the moment of conception. Every life – both mother and children – is sacred and immeasurably loved and valued by God. I pray that throughout our nation – including here in Virginia – lawmakers will open their hearts to the opportunities before them to protect unborn children, support women in crisis pregnancies and promote life-affirming alternatives to abortion.
Our local Church works to support and walk with women and couples who find themselves in unexpected or stressful pregnancies. As followers of Christ, we must walk with them during these challenging times.
Throughout the year, many of our parishes and Catholic institutions faithfully are the hands and feet of Christ by providing support so women can be assisted, comforted and strengthened to transform their lives in order to give their baby life. I am deeply grateful for the work of Commonwealth Catholic Charities’ Seton Housing Program – a new initiative, nearly a year old, which provides a whole life care for mother and baby. In the eastern part of our state, Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia served and empowered more than 350 mothers through its Pregnancy Support Program. Portsmouth-based Hope4Life dedicates itself to supporting moms with unplanned pregnancies and being a critical intervention to women when they are most in need. This non-profit is supported by many of our Catholic parishes and faithful. Resources are also found through Williamsburg House of Mercy – an extension of St. Bede Catholic Church, Mary’s Choice RVA, the East End Pregnancy Center as well as the pregnancy resource centers in Richmond and Roanoke supported by the Knights of Columbus.
For decades, the faithful who have vocalized and promoted the sanctity of life have felt like “the voice crying out in the wilderness” – the words the prophet Isaiah uses to describe the role of John the Baptist in proclaiming the coming of Christ. There have been many courageous, devoted and faith-filled individuals and families who have embraced this teaching. I am thankful for the faithful who use their voice to advocate for the unborn and for the sanctity of all life. This goal must be pursued with firmness and respect. We should not mistake politeness or civility for faintheartedness. Respect and charity are the Christian manner of stating one’s case, listening to what others say and responding. If we are to have any success in promoting pro-life concerns, we must commit to engaging in charitable dialogue.
While today’s decision brings much hope, tragically some will continue and even intensify their advocacy of abortion. I offer my prayers for the vitally needed conversion of minds and hearts and steadfastly ask the Holy Spirit to keep all safe during this time. With prayer and perseverance may we find the peace and abundant life that Christ offers.
Today is a day to give thanks and celebrate. Catholic social teaching holds that life begins at conception, which is a belief shared by millions of Americans regardless of religious faith. The ruling by the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization affirms that belief and recognizes the ability of states to regulate abortion to protect the rights of the unborn.
While we celebrate this decision — the culmination of prayer and decades of legislative advocacy, life-affirming events, committing time and resources to pregnancy centers, and walking with families facing an unplanned pregnancy— in many ways, our work has just begun.
We must work to ensure that California law protects the rights of the unborn. And we must emphasize that being pro-life demands more than opposition to abortion.
It demands we do everything we can to support families, to provide access to quality healthcare, affordable housing, good jobs and decent housing.
It means making sure parents and families have access to affordable childcare, so that being a parent doesn’t force women and families to drop out of school or leave the job market.
It also means reinvigorating our adoption system, to make sure there are options for women and families who are unable or unwilling, for whatever reason, to take on the responsibilities of parenthood.
Support for children and families cannot stop at birth.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield:
Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States marks an important moment for our nation, lifting a cloud that has hung over our country for nearly a half century. There is no way to undo the tragedy of tens of millions of innocent lives lost or the decades of division sown by the Roe v. Wade decision. But, for the sake of future generations, we can now move forward with a more honest debate and efforts to advance policies and support programs that protect innocent life and promote stability and security for vulnerable mothers. Much work remains to be done on both fronts, and that work will now necessarily have more of a local focus, particularly in our own home state of Illinois. Importantly, these efforts must include prayer and concerted efforts to preserve peace in the face of recent violence, intimidation, and criminal vandalism against churches and government officials.
Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay:
Bishop John Stowe of Lexington:
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas:
The Supreme Court ruling on the Dobbs case is a testament to the patience and perseverance of so many who have lifted their voices and prayers to protect the lives of the unborn.
But our work is not done. Respect for life is not created only through laws, but through love.
Please join me in praying for wisdom and humility as we work to create a culture which respects and reveres life and the dignity of the human person.
Diocese of Bismarck:
Today marks the end of what can only be described as an almost 50-year national nightmare and tragedy. This decision ends the supreme injustice of the flawed Roe v. Wade decision. It, again, gives state and federal officials the ability to protect children in the womb in the law. I urge state and federal officials to take this opportunity to enact laws which protect the child in the womb and support pregnant and parenting mothers.
The Catholic Church has been praying and working tirelessly for this decision. We offer our gratitude to God and to all who have and continue to pray and work for the respect every human being deserves from conception to natural death and must have under the law.
Roe v. Wade denied one of America’s founding principles that all men and women are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The result was the deaths of millions of children and the psychological and physical wounding of countless women and men.
The challenge to protect every human life from abortion is not over and neither is our commitment to healing the wounds and social divisions brought on by abortion. As the Roman Catholic Bishop of Bismarck, I pledge to every woman and man our unwavering support and compassionate accompaniment as you seek healing from the wounds of abortion.
The Church Universal and the Diocese of Bismarck have an unerring and unwavering commitment to building a culture of life in our society which supports marriages and families in every aspect of their daily lives. Our marriage preparation and enrichment programs in the diocese are available to all and our support for the pregnancy resource centers across the Diocese of Bismarck will remain strong.
The Diocese of Bismarck continues to be committed to building that culture of life which protects the God-given dignity of every person from conception to natural death and which advances the common good of every person who is a child of God.