100 days after Dobbs: Biden calls for abortion, while Catholic bishops celebrate life

SCOTUS Dobbs The scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case on June 24, 2022. | Katie Yoder/CNA

President Joe Biden and the U.S. bishops’ pro-life chair each have marked 100 days since the overturning of Roe v. Wade: one by advocating for abortion, the other by celebrating the intrinsic worth of every human person.

“The Catholic Church recognizes that all people, born and unborn, have been created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore have inherent dignity, and the right to life,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said in an Oct. 4 press release.

The Supreme Court on June 24 issued a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — a case that overturned Roe and frees states to enact abortion policy. Oct. 2 marked 100 days since that decision.

In remembrance of that day, Lori stressed the importance of both the unborn baby and the mother. 

“When a woman is carrying a child, both mother and child are valued and should be protected, and the life of one should not be set against the life of another,” Lori said. “The goal is always to save life, never to intentionally destroy life.”

Even in difficult situations such as rape, abortion is not the answer, he added.

“The Church seeks the protection of all unborn children; this includes the innocent child conceived in rape or incest,” he emphasized. 

After Roe, he called on Catholics to love and support mother and child to build a culture of life.

“Mothers should also be protected and supported, and we all have a responsibility to stand with mothers in need and provide the material and emotional support necessary to allow mothers, children, and families to live in dignity,” he continued. “In the post-Roe world, we must act in radical solidarity with the pregnant woman and her child as we work and pray for the day when abortion is unthinkable.”

In addition, he said, the U.S. bishops support protections for the unborn in the law.

“The USCCB supports legislation that seeks to limit the harm of abortion, including some legislation that includes exceptions,” he said. “We will continue to pray and work for the day when all human life is welcomed in love and protected by law.”

Lori’s statement comes after he recently expressed support for a nationwide abortion ban aimed at protecting unborn babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The legislation, proposed by Republicans Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, would ban abortion after 15 weeks, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.

That same day, Biden accused Republicans of holding an “extreme position” with the proposed abortion ban during a meeting with his “Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access.”

The president, a Catholic, condemned Dobbs as a “fairly extreme decision” during the event.

“And I’ve said before, the Court got Roe right nearly 50 years ago and that Congress should codify the protections of Roe and do it once and for all,” he said. 

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona — who met and planned to marry his wife in a Catholic church, according to a local news outlet — said that he shared Biden’s concerns. 

“Access to health care, including reproductive health care, is critical to the well-being and success of our nation’s students,” he said. “If you’re committed to student success, you must be committed to student health.”

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At the same meeting, Vice President Kamala Harris repeated her claim that religious Americans can support abortion.

“One does not have to abandon their faith or beliefs to agree that the government should not be making these decisions for the women of America,” she said.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which summarizes Church teaching, recognizes the intrinsic dignity and worth of the unborn from the moment of conception and considers abortion a grave evil. 

Abortion, as the “directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus,” is “never permitted,” according to the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” published by the U.S. bishops. 

Pro-life medical experts agree that abortion — defined as a procedure with the sole or primary intent and purpose of ending human life in the womb — is never medically necessary, including with cases of ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and situations where the woman’s life is threatened.

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