The Supreme Court will soon render its decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson. This decision will likely overturn Roe v. Wade, in whole or part. This means the abortion of the issue will be decided, not at the federal level, but at the state level. To one degree or another, laws in some states will prohibit abortion, while other states, such as Maryland, will not only continue to provide abortions but also provide easier access to it.
Even the leaked draft of the Dobbs decision, as we know, is due to protests erupt all around the country. The Supreme Court has been picketed, as there are several justices of the homes. Pro-life pregnancy centers have been vandalized. The rhetoric has been angry. We can expect more of the same as the summer unfolds.
As faithful Catholics, what should be our response at this point in history? How should we respond if indeed Roe v. Wade is overturned?
To be sure, many have prayed and worked long and hard to bring about this day. There have been countless prayer vigils, contacts with public officials, heroic efforts to communicate the pro-life message with reason and compassion. All this and more.
Whatever the ruling of the court may be, this is not a moment for celebration, much work is already being done. As already noted, much of the focus will be on state laws and regulations and these will vary from state to state. In many places, including Maryland, abortion will be the law of the land. Yet, that sad fact doesn’t excuse inaction on our part. Even if we cannot change the law, we can continue to pray and work in the minds and hearts of the difficult and compassionate mothers facing difficult pregnancies as well as their unborn children.
But how can we do this?
One practical way is an initiative known as “Walking With Moms In Need.” It is a parish-based ministry in which parishioners come to know expectant mothers in need. This means spending time with them and getting to know them. It involves listening to them and being open to their needs. Often, they don’t want to lose their children but have a hard time seeing how they can bring them into the world. When surrounded by love and compassion – as well as practical assistance – the picture changes often. And each of us can help.
Various parishes in the Archdiocese of Baltimore have launched or are launching the process of Walking with Moms in Need. Add to that the ongoing programs such as the Gabriel Network and Project Rachel, which provide healing and consolation for women and other family members who are suffering from an abortion of the aftermath. I also think of our valiant pro-life pregnancy centers in the Archdiocese that help expectant mothers bring their babies to term. Ultrasound technology (often supplied by the Knights of Columbus), helps them see the humanity of their unborn child. When they do, most elect to give birth rather than abort.
Yet, even that is not enough. If we truly need a mom with a walk, we will continue to help her and her child, including social services, healthcare and educational services. The Church is one of the largest sources of social services, healthcare and education. It also advocates a wide variety of measures to help the poor and disadvantaged while seeking to build up family life. We need to support such efforts wholeheartedly. With God’s help and a spirit of unity, we need to create a world in which no woman has to choose between her child and her future.
Let us band together in building a culture of life. And may the prayers of Mary, the Mother of our Savior, accompany us every step of the way.
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