Michigan’s Catholic leaders are applauding Friday’s Supreme Court decision on abortion, calling it a “cause for joy.”
In a statement released shortly after the nation’s top court overturned the landmark Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Caseys decisions, the Michigan Catholic Conference released a statement signed by Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron and 10 others Michigan Catholic bishops from across the state. .
Their praise for the court’s decision was shared by anti-abortion activists in Michigan.
Right to Life of Michigan president Barbara Listing said in a statement, “The United States Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe are on the right side of history today.” Listing said she hoped it would help end what she called the “unjust killing of innocent people in our country.”
But other members of Michigan’s faith communities were concerned about the decision.
“I am pro-choice,” the Most Reverend Bonnie Perry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, said in a statement. “I support a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body. The teaching of the Episcopal Church since 1967 explicitly supports a woman’s right to determine if and when she will decide to have a child.”
Perry added that while she opposes government restrictions on abortion, it should be a rare practice.
“I believe abortion should be safe, accessible and rare,” Perry said. “I believe this should be medically informed and not dictated by law or restricted by justice. I write this as a person of deep faith and love for Jesus Christ.”
The Michigan Catholic Conference, which is the public voice of the Catholic Church in the state, said the court’s decision was “a momentous and historic decision.”
The Roe v. The 1973 Wade “resulted in the tragic loss of some 63 million unborn children nationwide and more than 1.5 million children in Michigan,” the Michigan Catholic Conference said.
“Nearly fifty years after the unjust decision in Roe v. Wade, our country is moving closer to a society that recognizes the God-given right to life for all people, at any stage or in any condition,” wrote Michigan’s 11 Catholic bishops. . “While today’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturns Roe is a cause for joy, we must remember that life is and always will be a gift from our Creator; it cannot be given or taken by governmental structures, judges or elected officials.”
There are up to 2 million Catholics in Michigan. While Catholic leaders express strict views on abortion, the views of lay Catholics vary, according to surveys. Other religions and denominations in Michigan have different views on abortion.
“I have worked to defend unborn children all my adult life,” Monica Migliorino Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-life Society, a group based in south Lyon, told the Free Press. “I’m amazed that in my lifetime this law of Roe V. Wade…has been undone. So I have joy…and tears.”
Miller added, “I feel overwhelmed. It’s almost like I can’t really fully absorb the significance of what just happened.”
Miller said anti-abortion activists are planning rallies Friday outside Planned Parenthood Centers in Livonia and Ann Arbor and outside the Capitol Building in Lansing.
In their statement, the Catholic bishops thanked anti-abortion advocates and said they were committed to upholding the Michigan court’s ruling. Catholic leaders are battling Governor Gretchen Whitmer in court over a 1931 Michigan state law restricting most abortions that could go into effect.
“Today’s momentous decision would not have taken place without fifty years of prayer, action and the witness of countless women and men who promote the sanctity of human life,” the Bishops said. “These people of goodwill laid the foundation for a future of love, compassion and support for women and their unborn or newborn children. Although Roe is no longer relevant to abortion policy, we must remain vigilant against future attempts to promote abortion as a help for women, which are really attacks on human life itself. Some of these attacks have already begun here in Michigan through the legislative process, in at the ballot box and in the courtroom, signaling that the work to build a social order that respects human life is not over.”
Last week, a group of Muslim and Jewish leaders issued a joint statement with more liberal views, saying that while there may be differing views on abortion within their religions, the government should not restrict abortion rights.
“We believe it is not appropriate for any federal, state or other governmental authority to take away a woman’s right to follow and act on her religious beliefs regarding the decision to have an abortion or wear a full-term child,” the group said in a statement signed by three Jewish and three Muslim leaders from Metro Detroit.
The statement adds, “In both communities there are religious leaders and schools of legal thought, who will have very different rulings on abortion. However, we all benefit from the free exercise of religion that the US Constitution has granted to our communities. “
Dr Yahya Basha, a Royal Oak doctor who supports abortion rights, is one of the Muslim leaders who signed the statement. His mother died during childbirth in 1962 after being unable to have an abortion, which forced him to defend a woman’s right to choose.
It’s a “terrible, terrible day,” Basha said of the Supreme Court ruling. “Religious freedom is in question. We have a lot of work ahead of all of us.”
On Wednesday evening, Whitmer spoke with Basha on the phone, discussing the abortion issue and expressing her concern over the death of her mother, who she learned about in a recent Free press article, Basha said. A White House official also called Basha to talk about her mother’s story, he said.
The Jewish and Muslim leaders said “our communities demand that the government withdraw from any involvement in these important religious issues. We consider the decision to have an abortion, or not to have an abortion, to be a decision of importance religious importance that is best left to the pregnant woman, her imam, rabbi or religious decision-maker, her doctor, her family or any other qualified person on whom she relies to make decisions.
The statement said the government should not interfere: “We call on the state not to impose its authority on religious matters and to allow members of our respective communities to make appropriate religious decisions without interference from the government.”
Other leaders who signed the statement were Dr. Mahmoud Al-Hadidi, president of the Michigan Muslim Community Council; local lawyer Aisha Farooqi; Phillip Neuman, chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metro Detroit/American Jewish Committee; Rabbi Asher Lopatin, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee; Ariana Mentzel, treasurer of the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee.
The Catholic bishops said in their statement that they are committed to helping women who cannot have an abortion, writing that “every pregnant woman should know that there is a community of compassion and support waiting for her, her and her unborn or infant child”.
The Bishops said: “As the Body of Christ here on Earth, let us pray for all pregnant women and continue to proclaim that human life is sacred from conception to natural death and every stage in between, and commit ourselves to build a society based on this essential right given by God. »
In a separate statement, Vigneron also praised the Supreme Court, but said there was still work to be done.
“While the decision announced today by the United States Supreme Court is cause for praise and thanks to God, it does not mean our work is done,” Vigneron said.
“I join my brother bishops in Michigan in affirming that the Church must redouble its efforts to ensure that every woman, child, and family has the support they need to thrive during pregnancy, infancy, and beyond. beyond,” Vigneron said. “In the Archdiocese of Detroit, we have partnered with Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan to launch Walking With Moms in Need, which equips Catholic parishes and parishioners to help pregnant and parenting mothers.”
Miller said anti-abortion activists will continue to fight a petition campaign to legalize abortion rights in Michigan, as well as attempts by Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel not to enforce the anti-abortion law. -abortion of 1931.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Miller said. “We have many battles on our hands.”