US Bishops Affirm Value of Every Human Life

Statement in Anticipation of Supreme Court Ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

US Bishops Affirm
Pope with Little Baby - Copyright: Vatican Media

US bishops affirm the value of every human life in anticipation of the Supreme Court of the United States issuing its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a pending U.S. Supreme Court case dealing with the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi state law that banned abortion operations after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and chairmen of USCCB committees serving women and families issued the following statement:

“Standing with Moms in Need”

“[E]very human life, unique and unrepeatable, has value in and of itself; it is of inestimable value. This must always be proclaimed anew with the courage of the Word and the courage of actions. It calls us to solidarity and fraternal love for the great human family and for each of its members.” –Pope Francis on the 25th Anniversary of Evangelium Vitae (March 25, 2020)

As our nation awaits the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, we join together in prayer and expectant hope that states will again be able to protect women and children from the injustice of abortion. As we affirm the value of every human life, we welcome the possibility of saving countless unborn children as well as sparing women and families the pain of abortion.

The Catholic Church has a long history of service to those who are most vulnerable and remains the largest private provider of social services in the United States. Through the sacrificial efforts of faithful Catholics, the Church serves millions through diocesan ministries and agencies, Catholic hospitals and healthcare systems, immigration clinics, shelters, and Catholic schools and parishes. From religious communities to pregnancy care centers, from refugee resettlement services to foster care and adoption agencies, and from maternity homes to parish-based ministries, the Church consistently bears witness in word and deed to the beauty and dignity of every human life—including both mother and child.

As the chairmen of committees serving the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, we proclaim a vision for our society that upholds the truth that every human life is sacred and inviolable—a society in which the legal protection of human life is accompanied by profound care for mothers and their children. We exhort our nation to prioritize the well-being of women, children, and families with both material resources and personal accompaniment so that no woman ever feels forced to choose between her future and the life of her child.

In that effort, we recommit our committees and urge our dioceses, parishes, and Catholic agencies and institutions:

  • To redouble our efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, and during the early years of parenthood, offering them loving and compassionate care through initiatives such as Walking with Moms in Need and countless others.
  • To ensure our Catholic parishes are places of welcome for women facing challenging pregnancies or who find it difficult to care for their children after birth, so that any mother needing assistance will receive life-affirming support and be connected to appropriate programs and resources where she can get help.
  • To help Catholics recognize the needs of pregnant and parenting moms in their communities, enabling parishioners to know these mothers, to listen to them, and to help them obtain the necessities of life for themselves and their children.
  • To be witnesses of love and life by expanding and improving the extensive network of comprehensive care including pregnancy help centers, maternity homes, and Catholic health care and social service agencies.
  • To proclaim with a clear and united voice that our society can and must protect and care for both women and their children.
  • To redouble our advocacy for laws that ensure the right to life for unborn children and that no mother or family lacks the basic resources needed to care for their children, regardless of race, age, immigration status, or any other factor.
  • To continue to support and advocate for public policies and programs directed toward building up the common good and fostering integral human development, with a special concern for the needs of immigrants and low-income families.

We are deeply conscious that, after nearly half a century of legalized abortion, more than 65 million children have died from abortion and an untold number of women, men, and families suffer in the aftermath. Recognizing this pain and loss, we also recommit our committees and urge our dioceses, parishes, and Catholic agencies and institutions:

  • To proclaim God’s mercy after abortion and compassionately accompany women and men who are suffering after an abortion.
  • To expand our diocesan abortion healing ministries, most often called Project Rachel Ministry, so that women and men receive forgiveness, healing, and spiritual renewal through Christ’s infinite mercy.
  • To transform our parishes into what Pope Francis calls “islands of mercy in a sea of indifference” by raising Catholic awareness of the great struggle involved in an abortion, and the guilt, pain, and grief that follow.

In all these ways and more, the Catholic Church witnesses to the sanctity of all human life, from conception to natural death, and works to build a true culture of life in our nation. May a renewed commitment to life overflow into increased protection of unborn children and expanded support for their mothers and families.

Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Most Reverend Thomas A. Daly
Bishop of Spokane
Chairman, Committee on Catholic Education

Most Reverend Robert P. Reed
Auxiliary Bishop of Boston
Chairman, Committee on Communications

Most Reverend Andrew H. Cozzens
Bishop of Crookston
Chairman, Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis

Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley
Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development

Most Reverend David J. Malloy
Bishop of Rockford
Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace

Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone
Archbishop of San Francisco
Chairman, Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth

Most Reverend Mario E. Dorsonville-Rodriguez
Auxiliary Bishop of Washington
Chairman, Committee on Migration

Most Reverend William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore
Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities