“The gates of hell will not prevail.”
After nearly fifty years of enduring the tragedy of the Roe v. Wade decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has reestablished the truth that our federal Constitution does not enshrine a right to abortion.
All of those who recognize the dignity and sanctity of every human life from conception, and have labored for decades to protect innocent, defenseless preborn children while supporting their mothers, celebrate this historic decision. The fact that the decision was announced on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the eve of the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is a confirmation of God’s loving Providence.
Of course, while this development is received with great joy, we recognize the fate of the unborn and their right to life now rests in the hands of the people in each state. Therefore, beyond celebrating the end of a very dark era in American history, in which an imaginary constitutional right to abortion led to the deaths of an estimated 60 million innocent children, are we prepared to respond to the challenges this decision will pose? I believe, by the grace of God, the answer is a resounding Yes! As we read in Romans 5:20, “Where evil abounds, grace abounds even more.”
First and foremost, the foundation of our response must be prayer. Underlying the visible battle in defense of life beginning at conception is an invisible spiritual battle. “For our battle is not against flesh and blood…but against the spiritual forces of evil,” (Eph. 6:12) and “this kind can only come out through prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29).
It is unlikely a coincidence that the Bishops of the United States have just launched a three-year National Eucharistic Revival. In fact, this revival can provide the spiritual foundation for the next phase of the pro-life movement as “a movement of Catholics across the U.S. healed, converted, formed and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist — and sent out in mission ‘for the life of the world.’”
Furthermore, the Court’s decision will not alter the fact that a majority of Americans, including many Catholics, will still support abortion rights in certain circumstances. Therefore, another component of our response must be the evangelization of those Americans who do not yet recognize the intrinsic dignity and value of every human person as made in the image and likeness of God.
Through prayer and evangelization, the vision of the Eucharistic Revival aligns with the words of Pope St. John Paul II who once said, “In order to evangelize the world, we need experts in celebration, adoration and contemplation of the Holy Eucharist” (Message for World Mission 4/19/2005).
Finally, and of equal importance, there will be the need to redouble our efforts in support of moms and their children — before, during and after birth. This essential work can be done through over 3,000 pregnancy care centers in the U.S., through pro-life medical clinics and health systems, by expanding the Alternative 2 Abortion programs in place in many states in support of mothers and families, and through effective coordination of programs and services such as “Walking with Moms,” Heartbeat International and many others.
The Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance (CHCLA) is committed to assisting in this effort. Through the nationwide network of its founding members and their expertise and experience in medicine, law, bioethics, pastoral care and health-care administration, along with its relationships with many of the organizations already involved in the provision of these services, CHCLA is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in facilitating and coordinating the response necessary to meet the challenges of this historical event.
Together with the whole Church, through prayer, evangelization, mutual support, and charitable service, we will have an opportunity to rebuild a culture of life in America beyond the Dobbs decision.
Dr. White is the president of the Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance and past president of the Catholic Medical Association.