Faith-based groups opposed to abortion plan to increase their emphasis on helping people facing crisis pregnancy situations if the Supreme Court reverses its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Prospects for overturning nearly 50 years of the Roe decision’s place as “the law of the land” increased last week when a leaked draft of a majority opinion in the Mississippi case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was published by Politico last week. The ruling, expected at the end of June, would return the abortion legalization to the states.
Maria McFadden Maffucci, chair of the Human Life Foundation in New York, said her group won’t “declare victory and go home,” but instead would continue its pro-life efforts and increase its charitable giving to support women in crisis pregnancy situations and those who want to place children for adoption.
The foundation, started in 1974, advocates for the sanctity of life at all stages, and has focused on opposing abortion. The foundation also prints a magazine called Human Life Review.
“The only way I could see us going home is if the culture at large agreed on the sanctity of all human life,” Mrs. Maffucci said.
In the meanwhile, she said the foundation’s charitable arm will raise money to help churches serve pregnant people needing help with abortion alternatives.
“The church should be the first place women go to get help to not have an abortion, you know, so there’s an immense amount of work to be done,” Mrs. Maffucci said.
Officials in the Roman Catholic Church said the church’s “Walking With Moms in Need” initiative seeks to help Catholics know how to help people in crisis situation and how to direct them to find help, regardless of the person’s faith.
“You’d be really hard-pressed to find any organization that offers the financial commitments, the personnel, the institutional commitments to charitable work, than the Catholic Church,” said Kat Talalas, assistant director for pro-life communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Julie F. Dumalet, who heads the pro-life office at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, said volunteers in parishes offer help with parenting resources and child care beyond birth and infancy, and into the teen years when the children of working parents need after-school programs to keep them out of trouble.
She said the goal is to answer an overriding question: “Can we can we be the hands and feet of Christ, to people in need, and certainly not just pregnant women? But can we expand what we mean, in our case, by being pro-life?”
Leaders in other faiths also emphasized the need for more support for pregnant women before and after birth, as well as for those in the process of having a baby placed for adoption.
Rabbi Yaakov Menken, executive director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, said he anticipates a rise in adoptions — often facilitated by agencies within the Orthodox Jewish communities the group’s 2,000 member rabbis serve — as those adoption organizations “get bigger as demand increases.”
“Already there are agencies that today in many communities wish to serve more children than are actually being brought to them because people are aborting instead,” Mr. Menken said.
Jim Daly, Focus on the Family’s president and CEO, knows the adoption issue first-hand. By age 11, both his parents had died, and he was in foster care before a teenage brother was able to raise him.
“Every year, I’ve heard, there are about a million couples wanting to adopt infant children,” Mr. Daly said in an interview. “What a great opportunity to try to link those million parents up with about a million abortions a year. If we can convince the culture to consider adoption over the termination of their child, that would be a good outcome.”
He rejected the argument some on the pro-choice side make that abortion opponents care only about the fetus, and not the baby after it’s born.
“For almost 50 years now, churches and communities through pregnancy resource centers and other mechanisms have grown in their ability to support women in this situation,” Mr. Daly said.
“One of the things that people don’t understand is the amount of support that is there for these women that have an unplanned pregnancy,” Mr. Daly said. “In some cases, it’s housing, it’s food, it’s diapers, formula, cribs, job training, job placement, budgeting, training and parenting training.
“The churches are doing a fantastic job of helping these women get on their feet, and to make a decision that they will never regret.”
And Shawn Carney, president and CEO of 40 Days for Life, a Texas-based group that holds prayer vigils outside abortion clinics, said his organization sees the greatest demand in its national network of pregnancy resource centers in some of the most pro-choice states.
“The largest states for 40 Days for Life are not Tennessee and Alabama and Mississippi,” he said. “They’re California and New York and New Jersey and Illinois, you know, we’re the strongest in places where abortion is, is accepted and supported.”