Today is a day to give thanks and celebrate. The California Catholic Conference of Bishops profoundly welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which has affirmed our dearly held belief that life is precious, valuable, and should be protected, and that states have a compelling interest to protect the unborn and limit abortion. This has been our prayer, the Church’s prayer, for the last 50 years.
While we celebrate this decision - the culmination of prayer and decades of legislative advocacy, life-affirming events, committing time and resources to pregnancy centers, and walking with families facing an unplanned pregnancy – in many ways, our work has just begun.
The Dobbs ruling is a brightly shining ray of light and hope in the war on the sanctity of life, but the battle and the work are far from over. Extreme abortion-expanding legislation is working its way through the Capitol, and the governor has promised to enshrine abortion into the state constitution. The state is compounding its efforts to make abortion affordable, accessible, and convenient without any talk of equitable services for women who look forward to their child’s birth or for those who are already mothers. Such a stance will make ending a life easy but keeping one more difficult.
In turn, we must redouble our efforts to reverse the state’s prioritization of abortion in favor of helping women raise their children despite daunting circumstances.
From decades of holding the hands of those struggling with the decision to have an abortion, we know that for many women, abortion is not a choice they want to make but rather a choice they feel they have to make. From our work with mothers and families, we know they don’t need expanded abortion services. They need housing assistance, prenatal and postpartum care, protection from domestic violence, paid family leave, and maternity accommodations from employers. With rising inflation and soaring housing and healthcare costs, California is not an easy place to raise a child. We pledge to expand access to life-affirming services that empower women in our state with the confidence that they won’t walk through pregnancy or parenting alone or fearful.
We are proud that for decades, the Catholic Church in California has supported women, children, and families – walking hand in hand with those in crisis pregnancies, supporting families by providing maternity services, parenting supplies and resources, housing assistance, mental health support, and advocating for increased social services.
The California Catholic Conference of Bishops is fervently committed to ensuring women in California know they are supported and that there are options when facing an unplanned pregnancy. We challenge lawmakers to provide equitable assistance and commit new funding and resources for maternity and childcare. California needs to be a sanctuary for women, children, and families struggling to thrive in our state over those seeking abortions. It’s time to reverse the state’s priorities.
As we seek to contain the expansion of abortion in California and work to defeat the efforts of state leaders to enshrine abortion into the state constitution permanently, we ask that all Catholics throughout the state meet this moment and actively engage through the California Catholic Conference, in their dioceses and parishes, and in their communities. It is not enough to claim you are for life; you must be the hands and feet of Christ working to make it a reality. Be a loud voice, a shining light, and a beacon of hope.
And while we rejoice today at the Supreme Court’s decision and the countless lives that will be saved because of it, we look to increase our work to protect the sanctity of every life and support California’s women, children, and families.