Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s response, in the Wall Street Journal (Feb. 7, 2019), to the passage of New York’s Reproductive Health Act displays his and his church’s concern for women. We assume that this concern must include responsibility by the church beyond counseling, to offering psychological and financial aid to women after the birth of the child, and continuing support until the woman is able to move ahead on her own.
Most women greet pregnancy with joy and welcome a child into their world.
Some women, however, find themselves pregnant and are unprepared to care for a child. A woman might already have a houseful of children for whom she cannot provide adequate food and shelter, much less opportunities to higher education and meaningful lives. Some women are in relationships where a child would not flourish; some women have problematic pregnancies that would result in a severely damaged child without hope of a future. For these women, New York shows its compassion and understanding.
Studies show, however, that most women who seek abortions are married women who already have children, or are young women unable to provide for a child–who are unready or unable to be the best mothers they aspire to be.
The New York Reproductive Health Act does not mandate abortion for everyone, or anyone. It does not force women to choose to abort. It gives a choice to those women for whom a pregnancy at that time is unthinkable. It is a way for each woman to make a mature decision about her own body and life and to go on and have children when she is ready to be the best mother possible.
The New York Reproductive Health Act treats all women as mature persons who can decide what is best for them at that time. For that, we are all grateful.
Joan Adler, Caroline Cox, Linda Hoffmann, Carol Kammen, Rosalind Kenworthy, Joyce L. Leslie, Nancy L. Miller, Sue Perlgut, Taf Squires
Eliminating Abortion Stigma