Catholic leaders promised to renew their efforts to end abortion Monday while awaiting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on a major Mississippi abortion case.
Nine leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement expressing their hopes and prayers that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade this summer and allow states “to protect women and children from the injustice of abortion” once again, according to the Catholic News Service.
“We are deeply conscious that, after nearly half a century of legalized abortion, more than 65 million children have died from abortion and an untold number of women, men and families suffer in the aftermath,” the bishops said, led by USCCB president José Gomez, the archbishop of Los Angeles.
“As we affirm the value of every human life, we welcome the possibility of saving countless unborn children as well as sparing women and families the pain of abortion,” they continued.
To prepare for the likelihood of a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court, the bishops said they are working to expand resources and ministries throughout the country “so that no woman ever feels forced to choose between her future and the life of her child.”
“We proclaim a vision for our society that upholds the truth that every human life is sacred and inviolable — a society in which the legal protection of human life is accompanied by profound care for mothers and their children,” the bishops said.
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They said the Catholic Church is the largest social service provider in the United States, serving millions of people every year through diocese ministries and agencies, Catholic hospitals and health care systems, immigration services, shelters, Catholic schools and parishes.
“From religious communities to pregnancy care centers, from refugee resettlement services to foster care and adoption agencies, and from maternity homes to parish-based ministries, the church consistently bears witness in word and deed to the beauty and dignity of every human life — including both mother and child,” they continued.
Their statement included a list of priorities for the coming months including efforts to encourage parishes to be welcoming and supportive of struggling families, especially those in difficult pregnancy situations. Through their “Walking with Moms in Need” initiative, the bishops urge parishes to provide “a safety net to ensure that pregnant and parenting moms have the resources, love and support they need to nurture the lives of their children.”
The bishops also want to redouble their efforts to advocate for laws that protect unborn babies and public resources for mothers in need.
“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,” they said. “May a renewed commitment to life overflow into increased protection of unborn children and expanded support for their mothers and families.”
Others who signed the statement included the chairmen of the bishops’ committees on pro-life activities, marriage and family, education, domestic and international policy, evangelization and other issues.
The U.S. Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority, and many hope the justices will overturn or at least weaken Roe in their ruling on a Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, this summer.
The Guttmacher Institute estimates 26 states “are certain or likely to ban abortions” if the Supreme Court gets rid of Roe. Researchers estimate abortion numbers would drop by about 120,000 in the first year and potentially even more in subsequent years if the high court allows states to ban abortions again.