WASHINGTON (CNS) – As the nation awaits the most important decision from the United States Supreme Court on abortion in decades, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the chairs of eight committees of USCCB came together “in prayer and hope that states can once again protect women and children from the injustice of abortion.

“As we affirm the value of every human life, we salute the possibility of saving countless unborn children and sparing women and families the pain of abortion,” they said in a statement released late. March 21.

All eyes are on the High Court for its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which involves a Mississippi law that prohibits most abortions after 15 weeks.

If the court’s decision in Dobbs, expected in June or early July, overturns the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion nationwide, she will leave abortion to the states. Already, lawmakers in several states are working to codify Roe into their laws; other states have passed bills similar to Mississippi’s law.

In their statement, Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose H. Gomez, USCCB President, and the chairs of USCCB committees concerned with pro-life activities, national and international politics, evangelism and other questions reviewed the Catholic Church’s years of outreach through various initiatives, parishes, agencies and other entities to expectant mothers in need and their children and families.

They re-engaged the USCCB and its various resources and ministries in these initiatives and urged Catholic dioceses, parishes, agencies and institutions to do the same.

“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 deep care for mothers and their children,” they said. said the bishops.

“We urge our nation to prioritize the well-being of women, children and families with both material resources and personal accompaniment so that no woman ever feels compelled to choose between her future and life. of her child,” they added.

In addition to Archbishop Gomez, the bishops who signed the statement and their committees are: Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, Washington, Catholic education; Auxiliary Bishop Robert P. Reed of Boston, communications; Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, evangelism and catechesis; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Homeland Justice and Human Development; Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, International Justice and Peace; Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, laity, marriage, family life and youth; Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington, Migration; and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, pro-life activities.

“The Catholic Church has a long history of serving the most vulnerable people and remains the largest private provider of social services in the United States,” they said. “Through the sacrificial efforts of faithful Catholics, the Church serves millions of people through diocesan ministries and agencies, Catholic hospitals and health systems, immigration clinics, shelters, schools and Catholic parishes.

“From faith communities to pregnancy care centers, from refugee resettlement services to placement and adoption agencies, and from maternity homes to parish ministries, the church constantly bears witness in word and deed to the beauty and the dignity of every human life – including both mother and child.

The prelates said the American Church would recommit to its many pro-life efforts, including:

— Accompany women and couples facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies and during their first years of parenthood, “provide them with loving and compassionate care through initiatives such as Walking with Moms in Need and countless others”.

“Walking with Moms in Need” is a nationwide initiative launched by the U.S. bishops “to engage every Catholic parish in providing a safety net to ensure expectant mothers and mothers have the resources, love, and support they need. need to sustain the lives of their children.”

— Ensure that “our Catholic parishes are places of welcome for women facing difficult pregnancies or who have difficulty caring for their children after birth, so that any mother in need of help receives vital support and is connected to appropriate programs and resources where she can get help.

— To help Catholics “to recognize the needs of pregnant and parenting mothers in their communities, to enable parishioners to know these mothers, to listen to them and to help them obtain the necessities of life for themselves and their children”.

— To be witnesses “to love and life by expanding and improving the vast network of comprehensive care including pregnancy centers, maternity wards and Catholic health and social service agencies.

— Proclaim “with a clear and united voice that our society can and must protect and care for women and their children”.

— Redoubling “our advocacy for laws that guarantee the right to life of unborn children and that no mother or family lacks the basic resources necessary to care for her children, regardless of their race, age, immigration status or any other factor”.

— Continue to support and defend public policies and programs aimed at “strengthening the common good and fostering integral human development, with particular attention to the needs of immigrants and low-income families”.

“We are keenly aware that after nearly half a century of legalized abortion, more than 65 million children have died from abortion and that countless numbers of women, men and families suffer,” the bishops said.

In response to this suffering, they said that the committees of the USCCB and other Catholic entities will recommit themselves “to proclaiming the mercy of God after abortion and to accompanying with compassion the women and men who suffer. after an abortion.

They also said the church would expand diocesan “abortion healing ministries,” commonly referred to as Project Rachel ministry, “so that women and men receive forgiveness, healing, and spiritual renewal through infinite mercy of Christ”.

The prelates also pledged to “transform our parishes into what Pope Francis calls ‘islands of mercy in a sea of ​​indifference'” by educating Catholics about “the great struggle involved in abortion, and guilt, the pain and grief that ensues”.

“In all these ways and more, the Catholic Church bears witness 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 spill over into increased protection for unborn children and increased support for their mothers and families,” they concluded.

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Editor’s note: The full joint statement is available on the USCCB website at https://bit.ly/3IB9T0d.