Skip to page content
Join CMA for full access to all of our benefits

Bishop’s Column

This Victory is Not the End, But the Beginning

July 11, 2023

By Bishop James Conley


June 24, 2023, marked the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court of the United States decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned 49 years of national abortion on demand.

The 1973 decision Roe v. Wade seemed practically insurmountable, but after years of prayer, hard work, and an unfailing belief in the sanctity and dignity of every human life in the womb, truth has prevailed. This anniversary date is an occasion for great joy and 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 goodness and mercy.

As we rejoice in the fact that legally sanctioned abortion is no longer the federal law of the land, we are reminded that this victory is not the end, but the beginning of a critical new phase in our statewide efforts to protect vulnerable women and children from the violence of abortion. With the Supreme Court decision of last year, the authority to regulate abortion is now left up to the individual states. Over these past 12 months, while some states have acted to protect pre-born children and their moms, others have tragically moved to enshrine abortion into state law – enacting extreme abortion policies that leave children and women vulnerable to abortion, even up until the moment of birth.

The work that lies ahead does not just consist in enacting better laws to protect children and their families, but it also means helping to change hearts, with the unfailing faith in the power of God to do so. I’m sure there were laws passed in Germany after World War II which protected Jews from violence and death. Perhaps those laws are still on the books. But today it is simply unthinkable that people would want to put to death their brothers and sisters because of their race. I firmly believe that one day in the not-too-distant future, people will look back on our own times in wonderment and ask, how could a civilized society allow children in the womb to be exterminated?

Each of us is called to radical solidarity with women facing unexpected or challenging pregnancies. That means doing whatever we can to provide them with the care and support they need to welcome and care for their children. Initiatives like Walking with Moms in Need share support and information, along with many other organizations that work tirelessly to help moms and their children to embrace the gift and beauty of life.

We must likewise extend an understanding and 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 to women and men through diocesan Project Rachel Ministries, by providing forgiveness, hope and healing after abortion, through confidential and non-judgmental help.

In the words of Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, the Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, “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 institutions, must protect and nurture human life at every stage of its existence.”

Most Rev. James D. Conley, D.D., S.T.L., is the bishop of the Lincoln Diocese in Nebraska and serves as the episcopal advisor to the Catholic Medical Association.