New York Bishops Recommit to Pro-life Outreach, Ask All Catholics to Join Them

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The Catholic bishops of New York state said May 12 that regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court decides about Roe v. Wade in its final ruling on the Dobbs case from Mississippi, "abortion in New York would continue unfettered."

Catholics must respond "in charity and with sensitivity, but with clarity" to those for whom the prospect of an overturning of Roe v. Wade has led to "fear and anxiety," in particular to women facing sometimes overwhelming challenges of unplanned pregnancies, they said.

The bishops made the comments in a major statement titled "Toward a Pro-Life Future in the Empire State."

A news release said the bishops "address head-on the false notion that the Church is more concerned with the baby in the womb than with the mother and child once he or she is born."

"It is incumbent upon us as shepherds to acknowledge and address that misperception," the bishops said.

"As far back as the 1980s, the late John Cardinal O'Connor, a giant of the pro-life movement, made a pledge that we reaffirm today: Any woman—regardless of age, religious belief or affiliation, marital status or immigration status—who is pregnant and in need, can come to the Catholic Church and we will give you the services and supports you need to carry your baby to term, regardless of your ability to pay," the bishops said.

"We will not abandon you and your baby after delivery, but, rather, we will see to it that you have the resources that you and your child both need and deserve. No one will be turned away from life-affirming care," they continued. "If you have had an abortion that you regret, whether recently or in the distant past, please come to us as well, so that we may offer you services to help you to heal."

They also announced "a renewed pastoral effort" to help pregnant women in need and those families expecting a new child who are in financial difficulty.

"We ask every Catholic parish, every Catholic Charities program, every Catholic health facility, every Catholic school, every Catholic college and university, and every religious community in our state to proactively engage with us in this pastoral effort," the bishops said.

They are "challenging every Catholic entity in the state to join them" in this effort. Through the New York State Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Catholic Church in the state, the bishops gathered a list of many of the available resources at www.nyscatholic.org/HelpForMoms.

Also on the website is a map to all Catholic parishes, schools and Catholic Charities agencies in the state—www.nyscatholic.org/places.

The bishops also said state and local governments "must do their part as well."

"Programs to support women who make the choice to keep their babies, to the extent that they exist at all, are starved for funding and are not well promoted," they said. "Yet many political leaders typically cater more to abortion providers and advocates than to women who might well make a different choice, if only they were aware of and had other options."

The statement was signed by Cardinal Dolan and the seven other bishops who lead dioceses in New York. 

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