Since last month marked the one-year anniversary of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, I thought it would be fruitful to share the statement that the U.S. Bishops issued to mark the occasion. Let us continue to pray for an increased respect for the dignity of all human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, and at every stage in between.
Chairman’s Statement on Dobbs Anniversary
June 24, 2023, marks the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and we have much to celebrate. By the grace of God, the nearly fifty-year reign of national abortion on demand has been put to an end. Roe v. Wade—a seemingly insurmountable blight on our nation—is no more! This is a day for continued joy and for gratitude; a day to recall the countless faithful laborers who have dedicated themselves to prayer, action, witness, and service in support of the cause of life; and a day to thank God for His unending faithfulness.
Even as we celebrate, we are reminded that this is not the end, but the beginning of a critical new phase in our efforts to protect human life. Despite this momentous legal victory, sobering and varied challenges lie ahead of us. Over the past year, while some states have acted to protect preborn children, others have tragically moved to enshrine abortion in law—enacting extreme abortion policies that leave children vulnerable to abortion, even until the moment of birth. In this shifting political landscape, we persist confidently in our efforts to defend life. The work that lies ahead continues to be not just changing laws but also helping to change hearts, with steadfast faith in the power of God to do so. The task before us begins with our knowledge of the truth and our courage to speak it and to live it with compassion.
Each of us is called to radical solidarity with women facing an unexpected or challenging
pregnancy. That means doing whatever we can to provide them with the care and support they need to welcome their children. I thank the millions of individual Catholics who are already personally living out this Gospel call through parish and community initiatives like Walking with Moms in Need.
We must likewise extend a compassionate hand to all who are suffering in the aftermath of participation in abortion. The Church continues to share Christ’s healing and infinite mercy with women and men through diocesan Project Rachel Ministries.
As we each consider how we are uniquely called to build a culture of life, I invite you to join a growing community of Catholics who have subscribed to Respect Life Prayer and Action. When you sign up, you will receive prayers, alerts to contact Congress and government leaders on important legislation, and ways to strengthen a culture of life in your community. You can sign up today at respectlife.org/prayer-and-action.
May all people of faith and good will work together to proclaim that human life is a precious gift from God; that each person who receives this gift has responsibilities toward God, self and others; and that society, through its laws and social institutions, must protect and nurture human life at every stage of its existence.
Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Arlington
USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities