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Archbishop Lori: Roe’s reversal is call to ‘redouble’ efforts to help moms and babies


WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade is “tremendously important” for the nation and the cause of life, but it’s not “a day simply for celebration,” said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, seen in this 2018 file photo, is the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

“As happy as we may be over this decision,” Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori said, “I think it is also important for us to recognize our need, our obligation to redouble our efforts to help women in difficult pregnancies.”

The archbishop made the comments in an interview via Zoom shortly after the court handed down its ruling June 24.

Joining him were Danielle Brown, associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism; Dr. Kathleen Raviele, a retired OB-GYN; and Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, a radiologist, columnist and senior adviser to The Catholic Association.

In a 5-4 vote, the high court overturned its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

The reversal is something many “worked very hard for and prayed very hard for” over the last nearly 50 years, the archbishop said.

The Catholic Church’s efforts to assist women facing difficult or unplanned pregnancies, Archbishop Lori noted, include the Gabriel Network and other affiliates of the Gabriel Project, pro-life pregnancy centers, and the “tremendous services” offered by Catholic Charities across the U.S. and Catholic health care.

In addition, the U.S. bishops in 2020 launched a new initiative called “Walking with Moms in Need,” which aims to engage every Catholic parish “in providing 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.”

It’s “an opportunity for parishioners to come to know women in difficult pregnancies know what they need and link them to services they, the parishioners, can provide,” the archbishop explained, saying it’s “really taking off” in many parishes.

Another challenge that remains in a post-Roe society is changing hearts and minds about abortion, which Brown said is not unlike what she and others are doing in their work to implement the bishops’ 2018 pastoral on racism, “Open Wide Our Hearts,” in parishes across the country.

Brown called the Roe reversal “a historic moment” and “just like our country was able to move away from the devastating and horrific” slave trade, the nation can “move away from the culture of death.”

“The slave trade is not the same as abortion but there are commonalities,” she said. “We have to understand and agree the death of a person is a tragic and sad situation. We are not made for death, we are made for life. Any loss of life is one to mourn.”

“When people are challenged on their views of abortion and are given the opportunity to think deeply and to answer simple and critical questions about what life is and the importance of it, we know that conversion can happen. … We see that every day in our work against racism.”

As an adoptive mother, Christie noted the importance of continuing to spread the message that “Adoption is the loving option” – “like we say on all the marches.” She and her husband have four biological children and their fifth child is adopted.

Pro-life demonstrators in Washington celebrate outside the Supreme Court June 24, 2022, as the court overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision in its ruling in the Dobbs case on a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. (CNS photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters)

“We need to keep holding that up before people and say every child conceived is conceived for a purpose, is loved into being and we can find a beautiful home for this child. Not to worry,” she said. “Death is not the answer for a child that comes with complications, and let’s face it, what child doesn’t come with complications?”

The reversal of Roe is “a new dawn for America,” said Christie. “It’s wonderful we don’t have to say any more that there’s a constitutional right to destroy a child, that pits a woman against her own children.

“America is a new nation starting today and today is the day we roll up our sleeves and we make her more beautiful each and every day that dawns.”

The nation “will go through a very difficult period” and “there is already a great deal of anger” among opponents of the court reversing Roe, Archbishop Lori said.

“Sometimes it is hard to break through the anger, but I think that this is a moment for prayer, sustained prayer,” he said. “It’s a moment for us to remain calm and loving and focused on mothers and their needs.”