With the news of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last Friday, it feels very much like we are living witnesses to a significant moment in the history of the United States of America. In the Catholic world, there went up a sigh of relief, as decades now of pro-life efforts were rewarded—and yet even as many rejoiced at the ruling, many more have decried the decision as a grave injustice to women and a regression of society back to a ‘darker’ time.

Let me be clear: if you peel back the layers, what is central to the issue of abortion is the life of a child—a child whose conception was not his or her fault, no matter the circumstances of the conception. Many try to make the issue of abortion a women’s rights issue, whether a woman has a right to bodily autonomy or the right to decide her own medical path. And while those are important issues, the arguments for them do not supersede the more fundamental right to life of the child in their womb.

There are others who claim that it is sexist of me (or any other male qua male) to make that argument. But even that is a distraction from the heart of the issue: whether or not a child has a right to life once it is conceived (which, if it’s true, does not depend on what sex is making the argument). Some will inevitably say that it is only a clump of cells, and thus can be removed like any other unwanted mole or tumor. But no other part of our body is animate—i.e. has its own soul. To call a baby a clump of cells is not biologically inaccurate, but it is significantly minimizing the reality. You and I are clumps of cells, human and ensouled just as a baby in the womb is; and yet, we have a right to our lives. Simply put, a child should as well.

For those who understand the heart of the issue, the irony in arguing forabortion is clear. Some say it strips a woman of her rights to deny her abortion “care.” And yet what they are advocating for is a destruction of something inherently feminine (motherhood), something proven to do damage to a woman’s body and psychological wellbeing. Those who call the overturning of Roe v. Wade a regression of society are asking that we reinstate what is a truly barbaric practice (as a societal whole, we stopped accepting “exposing” children as a means of infanticide, thankfully, centuries ago).

While the overturning of Roe v. Wade is in fact a great success for our times, what remains to be seen is how we begin to weave a truly pro-life tapestry from where we are now. That, ladies and gentlemen, will take the conversion of hearts. It will take understanding and preaching the truth—always in love—about who we are as humans, the truth of biological sex, what is the proper end of human sexuality. In short, we have to rebuild our culture’s understanding of the person. We have to stop with the farse that “free love” is good for anyone. We have to lay aside the illusion that pornography is unharmful just because it’s so accepted. We have to teach others to stop using people as a means to an end and build up a real culture of love and life and respect. And all of that begins with seeing the person in front of me and loving them because of who God created them to be.

How do we build a post-Roe America? Certainly, in this state especially, we still have a lot of work to do. But it begins with faith in God our Creator. The more we try to understand who we are and what we’re meant for according to His design, the happy we will be both individually and as a society.

Let’s celebrate this victory…but then get to work building up a world where women, men, and children—born and unborn—are loved unconditionally and treated with true dignity.

Keep spreading joy!

Fr. Friedel

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