By Dc Tom Cuskey | Editor
It’s a beginning, not an end.
In his remarks at the March for Life held in January in Syracuse, James Salamy, the coordinator for public policy for the Catholic Advocacy Network, told the crowd assembled that the anticipated reversal of Roe v. Wade would not mean the end of the fight but the renewal of the cause at the state level.
“We give thanks to God for the Supreme Court ruling and we give thanks to everybody, who for 49-plus years … have been advocating for the right to life,” Salamy told The Catholic Sun this week. He adds that the effort in New York State has been going on even longer. “As much as this is a moment of great rejoicing nationally, and in many states, lives will be saved, here in New York we still have our work cut out for us.”
In 2019 New York State passed the Reproductive Health Act which legalized abortion up to the moment of birth. Salamy says legislators “wanted to codify into law” abortion rights in the event the landmark court case would be overturned. The act and other bills were passed to protect providers and people seeking abortions, including those from other states. “That’s going to be a real reality in this state,” Salamy adds. “Not only do we have folks here who we need to support and counsel but now we will have folks coming from other states because New York unfortunately has gone out of its way to encourage them.”
In recent days, a legislative effort has begun to amend the state constitution to further codify legal abortions, a process that could take two to three years to accomplish. With state government seemingly intent on preserving New York as an abortion haven, Salamy says we renew our fight against it with many of the same means that helped lead to the reversal of Roe V. Wade.
“First and foremost, is always pray. We need to pray for our elected officials, pray for our state. Pray for life, for a greater respect for human life.” He adds that we need “to pray for women who are pregnant, that God helps them to choose life, and also for healing for those who have had an abortion, that they may know God’s mercy and love.”
Salamy adds that the Church can be a source of strength and support for those who continue the effort to preserve life. “We’re here to stand with them … to be a place of healing and reconciliation and comfort for all.”
He also stresses that social action is needed on the part of those who support life. “Work! Work to support life, work to support women who are choosing to have their child. Work for a change of laws, work for an end to abortion in this state.” Salamy says support of social service agencies like Catholic Charities is also critical. “This helps mothers in the cause of life, in the dignity of life.”
While recognizing that New York is a difficult place to work for the protection of the unborn, we must “continue to have faith, to have hope. We must redouble our efforts and support our bishops.” Salamy says it is a personal responsibility to stay informed as to what is going on in our state as the efforts continue.
“We still have a lot to do in terms of prayer, advocacy and work in supporting women.”