The recent Supreme Court act to overturn their 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is the answer to years of prayer and hard work. While the recent Supreme Court action still allows for abortion, it is just not a right protected by the Constitution. Now it will be up to each state to decide whether and how a person can abort their fetal child. There is still no Constitutional protection for the unborn or what constitutes a human person.
So, the legal and political battle has only just begun. It is really up to lay men and women to engage the political realm so as to fully recognize the personhood and dignity of every human being from conception to natural death.
Overturning Roe v. Wade has also exposed a great wound that abortion has caused in the social fabric of our society that has produced division, anger, and even hatred. It is hard to rejoice over a legal victory when it has unleashed so much animosity in our fellow citizens, in our coworkers, in our neighbors, and even in our families. This poses a very difficult challenge as we hear God calling us to dialogue with those who angrily blame religion for their pain.
Let’s start by continuing to pray for healing, especially in reconciliation with God for our sins. Perhaps we haven’t directly had an abortion, but only if we are “without sin” can we “be the first to throw a stone” at anyone who has (see John 8:8). In his encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope St. Paul VI prophetically connected the sin of abortion with birth control, sexual promiscuity, infidelity, pornography, immodesty, provocative sex education, “recreational sex,” homosexual behavior, bestiality, etc., etc. We can easily see how these sins are complicit with the sin of abortion, yet all sin is a rejection of God’s law and his gift of life. So, battling for life means battling against all sin.
Battling for life means particularly battling to recognize that not only is human life sacred but that human sexuality—the transmission of that life—is also sacred. If the acknowledgment that abortion is not a constitutionally protected right has brought out such division and hatred, what kind of opposition will arise were we to protect the sacredness of the sexual exchange in marriage between a man and a woman—what kind of reaction will this provoke?
So, battling for life and battling the sacredness of human sexuality has only just begun.
Battling for life means fostering a greater love and respect for the dignity of every human person at all stages of life. It will mean a great love for the poor, for the aged and dying who often are ignored and forgotten. It will mean reaching out to assist women with unplanned and difficult pregnancies, who are in abusive relationships, or who feel that no other option exists. If we can show true Christian love and charity we can reshape the public conversation about life. This is battling for life.
Battling for life means battling for souls. It means meeting each soul where he or she is at, accompanying and leading him or her to Christ one-by-one. Experience shows that this occurs by a true conversion of heart, one person at a time. If someone like Dr. Bernard Nathanson—who helped create the abortion industry that exploded in the early 1970s and who was responsible for over 75,000 abortions—can convert and acknowledge his sinfulness and become Catholic, then our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family can too. As Jesus reminds us, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). So let’s fill heaven with lots of joy!
It will take prayer and one-on-one friendship. This takes time; this is our battle. Battling for life is battling for love… it’s only just begun!