June 24, 2022
Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The court’s majority overturned its prior rulings in the cases of Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which asserted that a right to abortion exists in the U.S. constitution. The Dobbs ruling is a momentous decision that will once again allow the sanctity of life to be protected by law. We are grateful for this decision. It honors this country’s highest aspirations to be a society that secures “liberty and justice for all.”
From the moment of conception, there exists a whole, separate, unique human life with an immortal soul given by God. This life is sacred and precious, created in the image of God. In Psalm 139 we read, “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!”
During nearly half a century of legalized abortion, approximately 64 million preborn girls and boys have perished in the United States, a number that should disturb the conscience of us as citizens of our beloved nation and as individuals. These brand-new lives, known and loved by God from the moment of their creation, were denied their right to life. But today we have taken a giant leap forward toward the ultimate goal of protecting each and every life from the beginning of its existence. Grave injustices remain within the nation’s laws, and we must continue to fight for justice. South Dakota has long stood ready to defend life, and we must resolve that we will work unceasingly until every life, in every place, is safeguarded by law. We must expand our efforts to support mothers and fathers, offering real support, hope, and love.
As we work for justice, we must never lose sight of the spiritual nature of the battle before us. Let us pray earnestly for the conversion of those who fail to respect the dignity of human life, and for those who been wounded by abortion. Let us also pray that an authentic “culture of life” will be built that deploys creative solutions to help children, women, and men flourish as God has intended. May all our actions to protect life be carried out, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “with malice toward none, with charity for all.”
The Most Reverend Donald E. DeGrood, Bishop of Sioux Falls
The Most Reverend Peter M. Muhich, Bishop of Rapid City