Yakima bishop reacts to the end of Roe v. Wade, stresses importance of free resources for mothers

YAKIMA, Wash. — While pro-choice organizations are criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, many religious leaders are voicing strong support for the ruling.

“Members of the Catholic church are feeling pretty grateful that the rights of the unborn are being uplifted,” said Bishop Joseph Tyson of the Yakima Catholic Diocese.

Tyson said at the same time, it’s important for faith-based organizations to do everything they can to support women, children and families — especially those that may be struggling to make ends meet.

“We want to make sure that we really walk with women in need because there’s more to saving a baby than stopping an abortion,” Tyson said.

One way the Catholic church is helping families in Washington state, according to Tyson, is through the Prepares program. This is a partnership between the Diocese of Yakima and Catholic Charities serving Central Washington.

“Everything from prenatal care to play and learn groups, baby formula,” Tyson said. “We just want to do wrap-around care those first five critical years of a child’s life.”

According to its website, the program offers community baby showers for expecting mothers in order to provide essential goods like clothing diapers, car seats and strollers. They also support families with a bag of clothes, linens and diapers for a newborn when they’re discharged from the hospital after giving birth.

Families can also use the program to get connected with community resources like food banks and health care organizations that can help them meet their needs.

“We’re offering these services to families in need for people of every faith and people who maybe don’t have any faith background at all,” Tyson said. “Absolutely no requirements; it’s open to everybody.”

Tyson was one of several bishops to sign a statement issued by the Washington State Catholic Conference, which can be read in full here.

The statement calls for all Catholic parishes, institutions, organizations and church members to redouble efforts to help women and couples who are dealing with unexpected or difficult pregnancies.

“Now is the time for the faithful to offer a viable alternative to abortion by increasing efforts to serve families in need,” bishops said in the statement. “Respecting the dignity of every human person means ensuring that families’ basic needs are met and that they are given the opportunity to thrive.”

Tyson believes this is an important time for people to come together, regardless of their feelings or opinions about the end of Roe v. Wade, to help women in need.

“I really hope that those that are disappointed with the Supreme Court decision, I hope that we can find ways to respectfully talk to each other and really focus on what we can do positively to support women and to support children,” Tyson said.

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READ: Washington’s public officials & experts react to SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade