The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion-rights decision has prompted the Bishop of the Youngstown Catholic Diocese to join fellow clergy in Ohio in supporting laws that he says will protect “lives of those not yet born”.

The statement from Bishop David J. Bonnar  went further, also, highlighting other areas the Bishop calls "realities that threaten life and human dignity," calling for policies to address systemic poverty, the wide availability of assault weapons, the death penalty, which he refers to as "unjust," and racism. 

Bonnar concluded his statement by calling for special attention to be paid to listening to women and families. 

The following statement  was released through the Catholic Conference of Ohio:

The dignity of the human person is the foundation of Catholic Social Teaching and as Catholics, we are called to consistently protect and defend life. Today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization is an opportunity to further a culture of life in our country.

In this historic moment, I call upon Catholics and all people of good will to respond with care and I join my brother Ohio bishops in embracing a broad vision where all people can flourish and contribute to the common good. In public policy, including here in Ohio, we expect to have the opportunity to now advocate for laws that legally protect the lives of those not yet born. At the same time, as people committed to life, we must also advocate for policies that can more effectively respond to the many realities that threaten life and human dignity: systemic poverty that affects women, children, and families in a profound way, the wide availability of assault weapons and the deeply rooted causes of violence in our culture, the mental health and addiction crises, an unjust system of capital punishment, the enduring scourge of racism, among many other pressing needs.

Faith communities have an important role in responding with care and practicing what Pope Francis calls the “art of accompaniment.” I join with U.S. Bishops throughout the country in encouraging all parishes to find new ways to accompany women, children, and families through the Walking with Moms in Need initiative.  In the Diocese of Youngstown, Catholic Charities works with low-income families every day, providing assistance with food, housing, utilities and other basic needs, as well as linking them with services and resources to help them succeed as parents and work toward greater financial self-sufficiency.

While the Dobbs decision will no-doubt engender all kinds of reactions and response, it is important that we accompany by listening to one another, even in our disagreement. We must especially listen to women and families as they share their experiences and needs.