A Letter From Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda
The Supreme Court’s decision to allow states to determine abortion laws fills my heart with a combination of sadness and gratitude. In 2022 – with all of our scientific advancements that prove beyond any doubt that the CHILD inside a mother’s womb is human – it troubles me that in the moment of extreme vulnerability for both the woman and the baby that the violence of abortion is even discussed and debated as a good. How did our hearts become so hardened?
I am saddened that some pregnant women feel their only option to a happy future involves ending their baby’s life. I am saddened that there are so many people who promote abortion as the only “choice.” I am saddened that abortion facilities are primarily located in areas where people of color live and those women – and their babies – are targeted by an industry that profits from death. Most of all, I am saddened that since the 1973 Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion in our country, the lives of more than 60,000,000 of our most innocent and vulnerable sisters and brothers have been ended in the false understanding of “freedom.”
It would be easy to dwell in sadness and despair, particularly considering that abortion continues to be legal in Minnesota and many of our political leaders have shamefully vowed to increase access to ending the lives of the most vulnerable. But I am so grateful for the majority of Americans – especially our young people – who trust the science and know that we need to love and protect the mother and the baby she carries beneath her heart. That is why I am grateful.
For 50 years, the pro-life movement has stood in the breach, speaking up for the babies who have no voice; for the despairing parents, the moms and dads who thought they had no choice. Our dedicated faithful have prayed daily, been assaulted verbally and physically, been threatened and yet have stood fast for life. They have opened their hearts, homes and wallets to care for pregnant and new moms, the dads and their babies, and their extended families. Those who believe in the dignity of all life have opened centers where new parents can get counseling to deal with past trauma, learn parenting and career skills, and have their daily needs met. Millions of diapers, cans of formula, clothes and baby strollers, have been donated to meet the basic needs of young families. I wish that more pregnant women knew how this community is ready to generously give of their time to mentor single moms, babysit so parents can go to work or other appointments, and have welcomed these beautiful moms and their children into their homes to journey with them so they would not be alone. It is hard work. These generous women and men are the hands, feet and heart of Jesus. They weep with moms and their children when things are difficult – and they can be incredibly difficult – and they celebrate the victories, big and small. You don’t see them on the news or in social media. They’re quietly and steadily loving those who too often don’t feel they deserve it. That’s why I’m grateful.
We don’t need more abortion, more death. We need more love, more life! We need to support women and couples who find themselves in crisis pregnancies and don’t know where to turn for love and support. As a society, we need to work to fund their basic needs of food, shelter and health care. We need to advocate for quality education for all children and for fair and just wages for parents to support their families. We need to work to make sure that these vulnerable moms are able to deliver their babies and raise them with dignity. We need to give of ourselves – more than our money – to mentor them and journey with them through the wonderful, difficult, joyous messiness of parenthood. Women make abortion decisions when they’re isolated and afraid. We need to be the light in their world. It is only our love and accompaniment that will make abortion unthinkable.
In closing, I implore all women and men of good will to join together in prayer and continue working for the end of legal abortion in Minnesota and in the United States. Our elected officials need to hear that we care about moms, dads, babies and families, and that together, we will support them.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us and for the protection of all life, from the moment of conception to natural death.