On January 22 we commemorated a tragic anniversary—47 years since the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its landmark decision Roe v. Wade. I dare say it is impossible to name a judicial decision over the last half-century that has been more divisive or impactful at almost every level of our culture.
Ponder for a moment what 62 million additional people in this country over those years would look like. What good we would have encountered and experienced from the presence of those precious lives! 62 million masterpieces of God’s creation revealing to the world the depths of God’s love for us—each of us.
At times, addressing this overwhelming crisis can seem almost impossible. I think part of the reason is that with abortion, much of the focus has been on tackling the issue as a legal problem. While it certainly is that, and our work toward the legal protection of all unborn children is both important and necessary, we need to broaden our perspective and ask ourselves probing questions.
Why do women choose abortion? What role does poverty play? Domestic violence? Lack of a supportive network of family, friends, and community? And, significantly, how do we address these issues both in public policy and “on the ground” in our families, communities, places of business, and parishes?
It seems to me that even aside from the progress made toward the establishment of the legal protection of the unborn, we have every reason to be hopeful and feel empowered to make a difference in our fight for life. Why? Because we are offered an infinite array of opportunities to address the scourge of abortion, not just at election time or during the next legislative session but right here, right now.
But are we equipped and courageous enough to answer the call—to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus to those in need?
The U.S. bishops have long recognized the need for our pro-life work to encompass far more than legislative advocacy and this year they are launching a year-long initiative entitled Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service (www.walkingwithmoms.com).
Set to begin on March 25, 2020 (Solemnity of the Annunciation) and run through March 25, 2021, the initiative seeks to equip parish communities with vital information about available local resources for mothers facing challenging pregnancies. Parishes are also asked to help identify potential gaps in necessary resources so that expectant and new moms have access to the help that will aid them in making life-affirming choices.
As Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Chairman of the USCCB Pro-Life Committee, said in introducing this initiative, “The parish community is uniquely positioned to encourage the collaboration of resources at the local level and to increase awareness of the help available to mothers and families in need.”
Please prayerfully consider how you can support this initiative in your own parish.
For more information about Walking with Moms in Need or other pro-life work in the Dioceses of Great Falls-Billings or Helena, please feel free to contact me at (406) 442-5761 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Director of the Montana Catholic Conference