As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Dobbs decision – the Supreme Court ruling that said there is no federally protected constitutional right to an abortion – it is a time for Catholics to look back, and to look ahead.
Looking back, we can rejoice deeply that our prayers have been answered. We can thank God for the thousands of lives that have been saved. Some states restricted abortion after the June 24 ruling, and according to one study, there were 32,000 fewer abortions in the first six months alone.
Looking ahead, however, it’s clear that hard work remains to be done. Pennsylvania is not one of the states that limited abortion. Abortion is still legal here. The pro-abortion lobby is very strong.
So we have our work cut out for us. One thing to do is get more involved politically, trying to influence our elected officials to make the right decision on abortion. A good place to start is with the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, the lobbying arm of Pennsylvania bishops. Sign up for their Advocacy Alerts at www.pacatholic.org, bottom right click on “Take Action.”
But politics is not the only place to focus. There are people in our extended families, and in our neighborhoods, and perhaps even in the next pew, who are not comfortable restricting abortion. It will take prayer, compassionate listening, and gentle persuasion to convince others that unborn babies deserve to be protected.
We also can do our part, whether through volunteer work or financial support, to help pregnancy centers and other agencies. I have heard it said that the Catholic Church works hard to ban abortion, but does little to help pregnant women, or women and their children after birth. That’s not the case.
Catholic Charities and parishes throughout our five counties are among the many advocates and agencies helping women who are deciding whether to keep their baby, or who are struggling after birth. There’s also a local ministry of Project Rachel, which helps women grieve their loss after an abortion.
For a more detailed list of Resources for Women, go to www.AllentownDiocese.org and enter “Resources for Women” in the search bar.
Finally, if you are reading this and have had an abortion, or if you know someone in that situation, remember that there is a compassionate priest in a confessional near you who is empowered by our Bishop to forgive the sin of abortion.
So on this anniversary, let’s take a moment to rejoice, and to offer a prayer of thanks. Then let’s get back to work.
By Paul Wirth