Abortion Supporters Are Busy Making Plans for a Post-Roe World — Are We?

COMMENTARY: If the Supreme Court does overturn Roe, abortion policy would return to the states. Abortion advocates are also preparing for that battle.

Crowds gather at the 2019 March for Life, Jan. 18, 2019, in Washington, DC.
Crowds gather at the 2019 March for Life, Jan. 18, 2019, in Washington, DC. (photo: Christine Rousselle / CNA/EWTN News)

For the first time in nearly 50 years, pro-life Americans will descend upon our nation’s capital for the annual March for Life with the well-founded hope that the Supreme Court might finally overturn Roe v. Wade. 

Yes, the hope is real that the high court will consign the tragic decision that has resulted in the deaths of 63 million unborn children to the dustbin of history. But the prospect of such a momentous ruling in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization presents a daunting challenge for those of us who care about unborn children and their mothers. Are we ready? Have we built the “culture of life” that Pope St. John Paul II called for in Evangelium Vitae? Are we prepared to accompany mothers in need and to welcome their babies into the world?    

The truth is that the construction of a culture of life is still very much a work in progress. The staggering demand for abortion tells us how much work we have before us. 

On the one hand, the pro-life community has been supporting mothers in need since the 1970s, founding an extensive network of nearly 3,000 pregnancy resource centers soon after Roe was handed down. The Catholic Church has led these efforts from the start. If the court overturns Roe, however, the needs will skyrocket. Happily, the Church is leading with a new initiative to meet the increased needs of mothers and children in a post-Roe world.  

And the Church needs your help.  

The new initiative is called Walking With Moms in Need. It is a nationwide but parish-based effort. The vision is a church-wide response to mothers and children in need. The hope is to engage everyone in the pews to build a culture of life in a comprehensive and practical way. 

It is not merely another church committee promoting another parish ministry. Rather, it’s an umbrella approach that taps into all church ministries to meet mothers’ needs. The program would reach out and assist mothers in a myriad of ways, meeting their medical, housing, employment, and material needs. How? By engaging not only Catholic charities and food banks, Catholic hospitals and schools, but also individual parishioners — doctors, nurses, teachers, financial planners, social workers and, most importantly, mentors willing to walk in friendship with these mothers. 

Walking with Moms in Need is also a communication effort, so that pregnant women are aware that the Church’s 17,000 parishes are here not to judge, but to love and serve them. Each participating parish will be provided a large roadside sign visible to all who drive by, inviting any pregnant woman to seek help at the parish. As Pope Francis has said, “Parishes need to be islands of mercy in a sea of indifference.”   

The USCCB point person on this initiative, Kat Talalas, is asking for your help.

“Most women who have had an abortion say that if just one person had intervened to offer help, they would not have chosen abortion,” says the young lawyer. “We want any pregnant or parenting mother to know they can turn to our parishes to be connected to the life affirming help and the friendship she needs. Women in crisis need you.” 

It is a well-organized, turnkey program. The “Parish Action Guide” offers a detailed, systematic and simple-to-follow checklist to execute this initiative. It includes sample emails, flocknotes, announcements, and homilies. Atlanta, under the leadership of Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer, is one of the first archdioceses to implement the program. Atlanta’s director of intercultural ministries, Lucia Luzondo, described the effort this way: “Sometimes we are eager to preach the truth, but not so eager to help people meet the demands of that truth. … It’s about accompaniment, about getting to know her, offering a shoulder to lean on, a personal connection.” Katherine Doyle, director of the archdiocese’s justice and peace ministry, added, “No matter where you stand politically, everyone can get on board with Walking with Moms in Need.” 

If the Supreme Court does overturn Roe, abortion policy would return to the states. There, the battle for hearts and minds will be more important than ever. Abortion advocates are also preparing for that battle. They are working overtime to find ways to circumvent any new pro-life state laws. 

One proposal is for the Biden Administration to house abortion facilities in federal office buildings — where states don’t have jurisdiction. Imagine your post office being sectioned off to include a federally operated abortion clinic. Or mobile abortion trucks at federal parks. The abortion lobby is also making plans to make online mail-order abortion pills widely available.   

Clearly, the abortion lobby is busy making plans for a post-Roe world. Are we? If your parish has yet to implement Walking with Moms in Need, there is no time like the present. Prayerfully consider teaming up with your fellow parishioners to launch this life-saving program.