The U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision on abortion has generated enormous conflict, some confusion, and calls for new responses and policy choices on an issue that has deeply divided Americans for decades.
For advocates of a consistent ethic of life, this decision offers long-sought opportunities to protect the lives of unborn children. It also carries with it a heightened responsibility to listen to those who disagree with the decision and believe it is a step backward for women, and to advocate for material and social support for women and children.
What comes next? What are directions and dangers for those committed to defending the life and dignity of all, including unborn children, immigrant children, and children at risk of gun violence, as well as women facing difficult pregnancies, poverty, and discrimination? What steps can Catholics and others take to help build an authentic culture of life at a time of policy challenges, political battles, and cultural conflict?
The panel addressed questions such as:
- How does this decision create opportunities, obstacles, and challenges for the pro-life, Catholic, and faith communities?
- What are the responsibilities of pro-life leaders and others in responding to the Dobbs decision? How can those who welcome the decision listen to and engage with those who oppose it? What policies are needed to support mothers in need and their children? How can pro-life leaders effectively challenge and bring along legislators, coalition partners, and other allies to help secure material and social support for women and children in need?
- How will this shift on abortion law affect the broader political context, including the 2022 midterm elections and the next presidential race in 2024? What are implications for other issues of human life and dignity: the death penalty, health care, the child tax credit, immigration, poverty, climate change, and hunger?
- Where does the pro-life movement go after Dobbs? What will change? What will stay the same? What should the movement’s priorities be?
- How can people of faith be consistent and principled in the defense of human life and dignity? What are next steps?
Kim Daniels, co-director of the Initiative, member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, and former spokesperson for the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, moderated the conversation.
View a list of articles, statements, podcasts, and other resources for this dialogue.
Photo credit: Katie Yoder/Catholic News Agency