Editorial: Imagine a world where states and women’s care centers worked together

For nearly 50 years, members of the pro-life movement found themselves trying to convince anyone and everyone who would listen that the Supreme Court’s decision to make abortion a constitutionally protected right was wrong. For decades, they pleaded for lawmakers to respect the dignity of the unborn, and they marched in the streets in order to be a voice for the voiceless.

In June came the proof that the Supreme Court agreed. In their decision to allow Mississippi to enact a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a majority of the court’s nine justices overturned Roe v. Wade — a ruling that immediately abolished all federal protections and returned the right to regulate abortion practices to the individual states.

As we have stated before, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs does not mean the work of the pro-life movement is over. Far from it. As the country settles into a new post-Roe reality, the work has only expanded.

In June, the Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board wrote: “The court’s decision in Dobbs spelled the end of Roe and of [Casey v. Planned Parenthood], but it is just the beginning of the next frontier for those committed to the cause of life. … Now is the time to redouble our efforts. Donations that we may have given in the past to national pro-life organizations will be better directed, in the coming months and years, to those frontline workers in the cause of life: pregnancy care centers. Those same centers will need more volunteers than ever before. Every parish should find one to support with time, talent and treasure, and if there isn’t a pregnancy care center nearby, consider starting one. As political battles ramp up in the states, we need to make our voices heard — not just in support of legislation to end abortion in our particular state, but in commitment to reducing or removing the pressures that lead women to consider ending the life of their children.”

In Indiana, two significant bills that fall very much in line with these priorities have recently advanced in the state Legislature. The first, Senate Bill 1, would ban abortion “with the exceptions for rape and incest (limited to 12 weeks gestational age, or 8 weeks if the woman is older than 16), a ‘substantial permanent impairment’ of the life of the mother, and for fetal conditions incompatible with life outside the womb,” according to the Indiana Catholic Conference, which coordinates the legislative policy work of the state’s five dioceses. If it passes, the bill would make Indiana one of the first states to ban abortion following the reversal of Roe. The other bill, Senate Bill 2, would provide $45 million to help fund initiatives that support “women and children’s health, low income families, child care, foster and adoptive families, funding for Safe Haven Boxes [and] pregnancy resource center support,” according to the Indiana Catholic Conference, which has strongly advocated for the passage of both bills.

This dual effort is the way forward for states in this brave and better new world. We applaud the Indiana Catholic Conference for its advocacy of the good of both child and mother. For each is precious in the eyes of God.

Vital, too, are the local efforts of care centers for women in need. As this Editorial Board wrote previously: “For far too long, local women’s care centers have been forced to do this important work on shoestring budgets made possible largely by proceeds from silent auctions, charity golf outings and the like. And yet they still save countless lives.”

In Indiana, the evidence of the good being done by these centers is overwhelming. According to the Indiana Knights of Columbus, over the past year, one organization alone — Women’s Care Center, with 16 clinics in Indiana — provided assistance to 1 in 9 babies born in the state, including 1 in 6 babies born to single moms and a staggering 1 in 3 babies born to teen moms. In all, over the past year, statistics show that 8,525 babies were saved by those who work at these 16 centers.

Imagine how many more children could be spared if state legislatures across the country would embrace policies that worked toward saving lives rather than ending them.

Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board: Gretchen R. Crowe, Scott P. Richert, Scott Warden, York Young

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