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Michigan Bishops’ Statement on Dobbs Decision

In a 6-3 decision on June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its nearly 50-year-old decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in this country. The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was not totally unexpected due to the leak of an opinion draft a month earlier. The court ruling emphasizes that there is no constitutional right to abortion in the United States. The case focused on Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an abortion clinic in Mississippi that challenged the state’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The court’s reversal of its long-standing abortion ruling brings abortion policy decisions to the state level. As of this writing, abortion is banned or restricted in 21 states, and is still legal in 29 states and in Washington, D.C.

On June 24, the 11 bishops in the state of Michigan released a joint statement that expresses joy with the court’s majority opinion while reaffirming the Catholic Church’s compassion and support for mothers in need.

“Nearly 50 years after the unjust decision in Roe v. Wade, our country draws closer to a society that recognizes the God-given right of life for all persons, at any stage or in any condition. While the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturns Roe is a cause for joy, we must remember that life is and always will be a gift from our Creator; it cannot be given or taken by governmental structures, judges, or elected officials.

We are saddened by the fear and anger that has reverberated across our land since a draft of this opinion was leaked to the public. In light of these concerns, we wish to make clear that no woman should face pregnancy alone. With safe-delivery laws, adoption, pregnancy resource centers, and assistance from Catholic and other agencies that provide necessities for mom and baby, every pregnant woman should know there is a community of compassion and support waiting to help her and her unborn or infant child. We empathize with women who struggle with daily challenges that may affect their decision to carry their baby to term: financial insecurity, food insecurity, medical care, lack of relationship and/or family support, coercion and homelessness, just to name a few.

The pro-life movement must redouble its efforts to ensure every woman has the support she needs throughout her pregnancy and beyond, whether she chooses to parent or create an adoption plan. We affirm that the Church must prioritize this work, through our Catholic Charities and parish-based support networks, to meet the physical needs of mothers and children as well as offer the emotional support and love new mothers need. We also implore men to be respectful of women and responsible when they father a child. We are all called to walk with moms in need, and we encourage all Michiganders to join us in this effort.

Today’s momentous decision would not have occurred without 50 years of prayer, action and witness from innumerable women and men who promote the sanctity of human life. These people of goodwill laid the foundation for a future of love, compassion, and support toward women and their unborn or newborn children. Though Roe is no longer relevant to abortion policy, we must remain vigilant against future attempts to promote abortion as help for women, which in reality are attacks on human life itself. Some of those attacks have already started here in Michigan through the legislative process, at the ballot box and in the courtroom, signaling that the work to build up a social order that respects human life is not finished.

Let us, as the Body of Christ here on Earth, pray for all pregnant women and continue to proclaim that human life is sacred from conception to natural death and at every point in between, and to commit ourselves to building a society grounded in that essential God-given right.”

Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit | Most Rev. Earl A. Boyea,  Bishop of Lansing | Most Rev. Paul J. Bradley, Bishop of Kalamazoo | Most Rev. John F. Doerfler,  Bishop of Marquette | Most Rev. Robert D. Gruss, Bishop of Saginaw | Most Rev. David J. Walkowiak, Bishop of Grand Rapids | Most Rev. Jeffrey J. Walsh, Bishop of Gaylord | Most Rev. Gerard W. Battersby, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit | Most Rev. Arturo Cepeda, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit | Most Rev. Robert J. Fisher, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit | Most Rev. Donald F. Hanchon, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit