The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a reminder that the Church will continue to serve the most vulnerable and bear witness to the dignity of every human being, said Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski.
“The Catholic Church has always proclaimed that every human being, born and unborn, is endowed by our Creator with the right to be protected and cherished,” Archbishop Rozanski said in a statement June 24. “Therefore, just as before today’s Supreme Court
decision to overturn Roe versus Wade, the Church will continue serving those who are most vulnerable and bearing witness to the dignity of every human, regardless of religion, race, age or any other factor.”
The Archdiocese of St. Louis will continue to provide resources for women facing unexpected and difficult pregnancies, he said, “cherishing and protecting women and their children, so that they may both develop their full potential in this world and be happy with God forever in the next.”
The archbishop also challenged the faithful to further increase their efforts to accompany women and families facing unexpected pregnancies, as well as those who need help in providing for the basic needs of their children.
“I urge all the faithful in our Archdiocese of St. Louis, now more than ever, to demonstrate compassion and provide support to those in need, with a special deference to mothers and children in need,” Archbishop Rozanski said.
What’s next for Missouri
The Supreme Court stated in a decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, "The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives."
With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion, the decisions on abortion laws are now expected to go back to individual states.
Missouri legislators passed in 2019 a sweeping pro-life bill, HB 126 — also known as the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act” — which includes a “trigger ban” that would ban nearly all abortions in Missouri if Roe vs. Wade is overturned.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt issued an opinion June 24 to the Missouri Revisor of Statutes that “triggers” parts of Missouri’s House Bill 126, effectively ending abortion in the State of Missouri.
The trigger ban specifically prohibits abortions, except in cases of medical emergency, “upon notification to the revisor of statutes by an opinion by the attorney general of Missouri, a proclamation by the governor of Missouri, or the adoption of a concurrent resolution by the Missouri general assembly that:…The United States Supreme Court has overruled, in whole or in part, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), restoring or granting to the state of Missouri the authority to regulate abortion to the extent set forth in this section …”
“Today, following the United States Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, with the issuance of an attorney general opinion, my office has yet again reinforced Missouri’s dedication to protecting the sanctity of life, both born and unborn,” Schmitt said in a statement.
Gov. Mike Parson signed a proclamation activating the “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act.”
“Nothing in the text, history, or tradition of the United States Constitution gave unelected federal judges authority to regulate abortion. We are happy that the U.S. Supreme Court has corrected this error and returned power to the people and the states to make these decisions,” Parson said in a statement.
Health care providers who violate the provision would be guilty of a class B felony, which can result in five to 15 years in prison, and have their medical license suspended or revoked.
Forum on Dobbs decision
The Respect Life Apostolates of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, are joining together for a “Pro-Life Landscape after Dobbs” forum at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at the Cardinal Rigali Center, 20 Archbishop May Drive in Shrewsbury.
Several Catholic public policy experts will detail how the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision will impact the pro-life landscape on the local, state and national levels. Featured speakers include attorney and lobbyist Jamie Morris, interim director of the Missouri Catholic Conference; attorney and public speaker Mary FioRito, Cardinal Francis George Fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center; and Missouri Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, an attorney with the Thomas More Society.
Support for alternatives to abortion
The Missouri General Assembly increased funding for the state’s Alternatives to Abortion Program to $8.6 million for fiscal year 2023, an increase of $2.2 million over last year. Funding is given to frontline social service agencies that offer support to mothers facing unplanned pregnancies, including counseling, prenatal care, housing, job placement assistance and adoption referrals when requested.
The archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate, which receives support from the Annual Catholic Appeal, has a local online resource guide that includes support providers offering help with financial, housing, emotional and spiritual needs. See walkingwithmomsSTL.com for more information. The apostolate also has resources with its Abortion Healing Ministry, available at archstl.org/hope-healing.
Local pro-life voices look toward the future
“I urge all the faithful in our Archdiocese of St. Louis, now more than ever, to demonstrate compassion and provide support to those in need, with a special deference to mothers and children in need.”
“I feel like this is a step in the right direction. We certainly still have a lot of work ahead of us, but (the Dobbs decision) has been motivating for me — am I doing enough and where can I become more involved in?”
“We have two full generations who have been born under Roe, and lack the instruction and teachings of the Church about living a virtuous life. There are parents of children who find themselves thinking they could be ‘pro-choice’ or circumstances for abortion are appropriate because of the culture they live in.”
“We celebrate in a grateful way for the babies whose lives are going to be saved, and the moms who won’t go through the awful consequences of abortion. What’s next is that we have to win hearts.”
“We have been praying and hoping and working hard for this post-Roe America. Now is the time to change the culture and hearts and minds.”
“We know there are women who don’t want abortions, but feel like they have no choice. Those are the lost sheep who we have to seek and find. We have the one of the highest number of pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes per capita. How do we reach those women? That is the greatest concern.”