Statement of Cardinal Tobin on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson

The United States Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide recognizes that even the most helpless and dependent human beings have a right to life and possess inherent dignity and worth. 

The Catholic Church teaches that all human life is sacred, from conception to natural death. We must oppose the many threats to human life and dignity evident in contemporary society, including abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and capital punishment. 

Abortion represents a failure to recognize the sanctity of human life and promotes a culture in which human life in its most vulnerable moment is perceived as disposable. It is telling that in the public debate, the unborn child frequently disappears from the moral calculus.

Furthermore, abortion is not healthcare. It is a disastrous attempt to create a false equivalency between the taking of innocent human life and the “reproductive health” of women in our society. It results in inhuman and lethal consequences.

We join with Pope Francis in noting that “it is troubling to see how simple and convenient it has become for some to deny the existence of a human life as a solution to problems that can and must be solved for both the mother and her unborn child” (Pope Francis, address to the United Nations, Sept. 25, 2020). Our Holy Father has repeatedly said that abortion is not a religious issue; it’s a human rights issue.  

We recognize that a woman’s decision to have an abortion is often tragic and painful. A woman who takes this desperate action is often under great duress and is encouraged by social structures that are patently sinful. As people who care deeply for all women struggling with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies, we must ensure that life-giving options are available and our support does not end simply with the birth of a child.

We recognize that a significant number of our fellow citizens are angered by this decision of our nation’s highest Court. We hope that all Americans can discuss respectfully how best to support women who face crucial decisions while recognizing the dignity of the most vulnerable among us.

We agree with the analysis of Pope Francis, who has made it clear that if we fail to protect life, no other rights matter.