Roe’s decision a ‘correction’, say Abilene supporters
Bishop Michael Sis, who heads the Catholic Diocese of San Angelo, which includes churches in Abilene, called the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v Wade “an answer to many prayers.”
But the decision also means communities must be ready to step in to help, he said, a position he shares with several Abilene supporters.
“I encourage everyone to offer practical and ongoing support to our local pregnancy resource centers and to pray for their staff and volunteers,” Sis said. “Pregnant mothers in our West Texas communities need support to help them obtain the necessities of life for themselves and their children.
“Now is a time for all of us to step up our support for mothers and fathers in welcoming and caring for God’s precious gift of life.”
For Sherri Statler, president of adoption agency Christian Homes & Family Services, the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade by the United States Supreme Court is the correction of something “I think it was decided wrong from the start”.
“I read the entire opinion and I was.. I was happy to see that he was being sent back to the States,” Statler said of the court’s decision, released June 24. question.”
Texas, Statler said, should be a state where “everything is done to make abortions as rare as possible.”
After:Abilene GOP and Democratic party chairs react to Roe v. Wade reversal
Sis said it was important to offer broad support to mothers and children, from a wide range of sources.
“When a woman is pregnant and considering an abortion, she needs to know where she can find practical support if she decides to carry the child to term,” he said. “Ideally, this support should be available from many sources: government, churches, family and friends.”
These outside resources include Pregnancy Resources of Abilene and Project Gabriel, he said, both of which are local resources for women.
The Gabriel Project is a ministry of the Catholic Church serving women who need help throughout their pregnancy and in the year following the birth of their baby.
A personal assistant, or “Angel”, is assigned to each participant, who provides a wide range of support to both the mother and her child.
Beard believes the court’s decision compels the community and churches to take an interest in foster care, help improve adoption services and support entities such as Pregnancy Resources.
Beard served on that council for three years, he said, adding that it was important to galvanize departments and other resources so that “the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.”
“It is absolutely incumbent on the churches to coordinate with these big ministries in our city, to put our money where our mouth is,” he said.
Beltway Park Church has launched a ministry to help recruit foster families, while Beard’s own church has a program, Safe Families, to try parents to ‘stand up’ and perhaps avoid that the children do not fall into foster care.
“These are exactly the kinds of things at the grassroots level where we need to be very active and think about coordinating our efforts,” he said.
Beard, who himself helped foster two school-age children his son knew, said the fostering process isn’t always easy, especially if the children come from difficult backgrounds.
But it’s “rewarding,” he said.
He said he also wanted to see resources developed to further help make the adoption process more affordable.
Statler hopes more young women who aren’t ready to parent or who have day-to-day responsibility for a child consider adoption.
Christian Homes helps them do this at no cost, she said.
“If you are not, for whatever reason, emotionally, mentally, financially, chronologically ready to parent, you can still be a good parent when you choose adoption for your child,” she said.
Her agency recently hired more help, is working to improve its reach, and also wants to help build bonds related to foster care, she said.
Pregnancy Resources and Christian Homes have been successful in the past rounds of Abilene Gives, an annual fundraiser.
Pregnancy Resources came third out of 161 organizations in the most recent year. Christian Homes was 18th.
Set things straight
Beard, Sis and Statler agree that the court’s approach to abortion, which returns power to the states, is correct.
The court ruling does not ban abortion nationwide, Sis said, allowing for “regional differences.”
“For example, the right to life of unborn children has broader support in West Texas than on the West Coast,” he said. “Allowing states to pass their own abortion legality laws recognizes these differences.”
Beard said the decision was, for him, a “take of nearly 50 years.”
“I was very supportive of the prayer that Roe v. Wade be canceled at some point. For that to happen… was ancient history. June 24 will forever be etched in my memory.
Like Statler and Sis, Beard said he agreed with the way the judges ruled, calling the 1973 decision that made Roe the law of the land “weak at best.”
“It never really had the real constitutional or otherwise support to last that long, but you had a liberal court for years and years,” he said.
Beard said what changed was Donald Trump’s presidency.
“Thank goodness for Donald Trump,” he said, adding that the former president’s overwhelming support in Abilene and the region stemmed from the understanding that he would put conservative judges on the court.
“By a miracle, he put three (judges) in place, and it was miraculous how it all happened,” he said.
Beard said opponents have perpetuated a “lie” that the practice has been banned altogether.
“You still have laws in place that make it legal to abort your child in cities that are losing their collective spirit,” he said.
The fight against abortion in general is “far from over,” Beard said.
“But that’s where he needs to be, he needs to be back in the states for people to make the decision,” he said.
Beard, a vocal supporter of a movement to make Abilene a “Ccty sanctuary for the unborn,” a measure that will pass in November’s general election, still believes additional safeguards need to be put in place locally. .
The Abilene measure, which in some ways mirrors efforts by Lubbock and elsewhere, is still significant given how lawmakers and leaders can change at the state and federal level, he said. .
“So there are many reasons to drive a stake into the ground here in Abilene, to make sure we have this ordinance in place in our own city,” he said,
For Beard, a local ordinance is “fail-safe at the municipal level” and puts a number of restrictions in the “right hands” of lawmakers and local residents.
It’s time to talk
Sis said the painful opinions on the subject of abortion among friends, co-workers, family members and other church members have made the topic “dividing and polarizing”.
“In our conversations about abortion, I recommend that we start by listening to each other rather than shouting,” he said.
Beard said his goal is not for those against abortion to rub their recent victory “in anyone’s face,” especially given what he sees as work to be done.
He has dealt directly with the opposition, he said, including a young woman he has known for years who lives in New York, where abortion is still “absolutely legal.”
“We have wildly different views on things, but his dad is one of my best friends,” he said, adding that his only goal was “to come to terms with disagreeing and try to be cordial”.
Statler thinks people would be “probably surprised at how many women we work with who have had at least one abortion.”
“They often tell us that I can’t do this anymore, that I won’t do this anymore,” she said.
There is no room for judgment against these women, according to Statler, but rather a “wide and open space for compassion.”
Statler said she’s had a number of thoughtful conversations with people who “don’t see it the way I do” when it comes to abortion.
“There were some suggested things that I certainly took to heart about how we can help and how we can help pregnant women (who) for whatever reason don’t want to consider adoption,” he said. she declared. “How do we, as Christian Homes, respond to a woman who will be a single mother? We think about… the best way for us to help.
Everyone who comes to the table has different life experiences and expectations, Statler said.
“I think now is the time to listen more, really,” she said. “More listening than arguing.”
Brian Bethel covers city and county government and general news for t
he Abilene Reporter-News. If you enjoy local news, you can support local reporters with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.