The Pontifical Academy for Life, a department of the Vatican, praised the Supreme Court‘s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the half-century-old ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortions nationwide.
In a statement, the academy said the decision reopens a necessary dialogue on the matter of abortion.
“The fact that a large country with a long democratic tradition has changed its position on this issue also challenges the whole world,” the statement said. “It is not right that the problem is set aside without adequate overall consideration. The protection and defense of human life is not an issue that can remain confined to the exercise of individual rights but instead is a matter of broad social significance.”
The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, endorsed “choosing life” in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision.
“In the face of Western society that is losing its passion for life, this act is a powerful invitation to reflect together on the serious and urgent issue of human generativity and the conditions that make it possible; by choosing life, our responsibility for the future of humanity is at stake,” he said.
When speaking with journalists in September 2021, Pope Francis condemned abortion.
“Abortion is more than an issue,” Francis said. “Abortion is murder.”
The remarks from the Holy See on the Dobbs decision differ greatly from some prominent Catholic politicians, including President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
“The court is literally taking America back 150 years,” Biden said during remarks at the White House on Friday. “This a sad day for the country.”
Six of the justices on the Supreme Court are Catholic, including four of the five justices on the majority opinion. Justice Neil Gorsuch, who joined the majority opinion, is Protestant. Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, who joined the dissenting opinion, are Jewish.