Post Roe meeting addresses issues that come with Dobbs decision
The overturning of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a joy to some and a cause for anxiety in others. The Diocese of Buffalo hosted a gathering to discuss what the Supreme Court decision means, what will change in New York state, and what pro-life warriors can do to continue moving forward.
“Post Roe: Next Steps” welcomed 150 people to St. Leo the Great Parish in Amherst on July 18, with more than 300 people viewing online. Bishop Michael W. Fisher shared his history with the pro-life community, which includes attending the March for Life in Washington, D.C., since the late 1970s and helping out in Project Rachel post-abortive ministry as a young priest.
“It is certainly a ministry that is very close to my heart, as I know it is to many of our brother priests,” he said.
Calling the Dobbs decision a political victory, but not a cultural victory, Bishop Fisher said this is not a time to gloat or relax the supportive labors.
“We must redouble our efforts to assert that we are not a single-issue church,” he said. “We see the sacredness of life from conception to natural death. This is fundamental to our Catholic teaching and our commitment to create a culture of life. The dignity and sacredness of life from conception to natural death is a framework of our Church’s social doctrine. At the same time, we must continue to demonstrate in real and concrete ways that we stand with all women who feel they are not equal with the responsibility of bringing a child into the world, who feel abandoned, who feel inadequate in providing the nurture and care than an infant requires and what a child needs well into adulthood.”
Guest speaker Alexis Carra-Tracey, an attorney with the Archdiocese of New York, appeared via Zoom. She explained that, although federal law has changed, each state will have its own laws regulating or prohibiting abortion.
“The Dobbs decision will not impact our abortion laws in anyway. In New York, there is no rollback on abortion laws,” she said.
New York’s 2019 Reproductive Health Act, also known as the Abortion Expansion Act, allows abortion through 24 weeks of pregnancy. It is also allowed when it is necessary to protect the patient’s life and health. Doctors can use the term “health” in various ways.
“When we say abortion is virtually unlimited in New York, it’s true because of this understanding of ‘health,’” Carra-Tracey said.
Carra-Tracey went on to clarify some misinformation and address concerns about pregnancy care. She made it clear that women will receive miscarriage care, contraception is different from abortion, and less than 1 percent of pregnancies are due to rape. Ectopic pregnancies can be treated, as all ectopic pregnancies are considered a risk to the mother’s health.
It’s expected that more abortion pills will be bought online and more people will cross state lines from a non-abortion state to one that allows the procedure.
“With our (St. Gianna Molla Pregnancy Outreach) Centers, our 40 Days for Life, our sidewalk advocates, that’s going to give us an opportunity for people who never would have been in New York state to meet us,” said Cheryl Calire, executive director of the Office of Pastoral Ministries. “Let’s look at it that way. Because we do have turn arounds. In Erie County alone, we had 175 fewer abortions in Erie County than the year before.”
Lastly, Calire spoke on the national Project Rachel Ministry, which offers counseling and consoling for men and women touched by abortion. When the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned, the Project Rachel hotline saw a huge increase in calls because the news brought up the pain of abortion in a lot of people.
“No one has ever come to our hotline and said they felt they had a choice. They always say they felt like they didn’t have a choice. They didn’t feel the support. They were pressured. Something was going on in the family. The reasons can go on and on,” she said.
To learn more about the services available for women and families expecting a child, visit http://www.buffalodiocese.org/pro-life-services/.
Project Rachel has a confidential post-abortive reconciliation hotline at 716-847-2211.