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Life in a post-Roe world, after Dobbs decision

Oct. 12, 2022

Editor’s note: The following is the first installment of a month-long series looking at life after the Dobbs vs. Jackson court decision and the pro-life movement.

By Colleen Miner
Diocesan Respect Life Co-Director

The U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June has awakened the abortion debate and created much confusion.

While we celebrate the court’s ruling overturning Roe vs. Wade, it does not change much in our state. The Supreme Court decision declared that abortion is not a constitutional right and thus is not a federal law. With the ruling, the abortion legality is returned to the states. Some states, anticipating the June decision already had “trigger laws” so when Roe was overturned, the new laws, or in some cases the laws that were already on the books before the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, went into effect. Other states are leaving it to the voters in November. Still others, like New York State, where abor-tion was legal before the Roe vs. Wade decision, remain entrenched in abortion and are seeking to expand abortion availability by creating the Abortion Access Fund which offers free transportation, hotel stays and abortions to those coming from outside of the state.

In May, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced a nation-leading $35 million investment to support abortion providers in the state ($25 million to abortion pro-viders and $10 million to bolster security for abortion providers).

State law now protects abortion doctors who perform abortions on residents from states where abortion be-comes restricted.

The recently passed Pregnancy Center Study bill, “authorizes the Commissioner of Health to conduct a study and issue a report examining the unmet health and resource needs facing pregnant women in New York and the impact of lim-ited service pregnancy centers.”

Many believe this bill will force pregnancy centers to close because they do not refer for abortion.

Pregnancy centers across the nation have been vandalized by graffiti and violence. Lo-cally, the Plattsburgh Birthright office had a hanger and splattered red paint on their door (twice!), and Saranac Lake’s Ascent Care had their sign stolen.

So, what do we do when we are met with hostility or are called extremists because we seek to help mothers and babies? We do what we’ve always done: speak charitably, educate, offer help and pray.

As Catholics, we are well acquainted with being labeled as “extremists” because our Catholic beliefs are often in direct contrast with societal beliefs. Being pro-life, wishing to protect both the mother and baby, has somehow become “extreme.”

It’s important to correct what social media and news sources report falsely. These mistruths are spread to create fear and make something good seem like it is harmful. When the gruesome truth of abortion is known, the majority of Americans prefer restrictions. That’s why it is essential to teach the truth in love and correct misinformation.

It’s difficult to understand abortion law unless you understand abortion facts. And that is proving extremely difficult in a media and political environment that is full of outright de-ception.

In the legal and political environment after Dobbs, with abortion law now a state-by-state affair, some confusion has been created. But some wrong information is particularly common across the board, so it’s important to make the facts clear. Specific examples are provided in the box above.

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