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NOW member ‘devastated’; Catholic leader ‘thankful’

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Deedee Burnett, left, of Williamsport protest the overturning of Roe vs. Wade at the corner of Market and Third Streets in Williamsport on Friday night.

As the news came out that the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade, declaring there is no constitutional right to abortion, some rejoiced while others were horrified at the long-term implications of the ruling.

“I don’t even know what to say,” said Sally Butterfield, of the local chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

“I mean it’s not unexpected, but it’s still devastating. I feel like we’re taking so many steps backwards,” she added.

“We’re seeing the work women have done to achieve equality being undone,” said Butterfield, who has been associated with the women’s movement for many years. “All the work we’ve done over these past 50, 60 years — 50 years that I’ve been involved in the women’s movement — are coming undone,” she said.

“It’s obviously going to have a really bad impact on the lives of ever so many young women who are pregnant as well as on unwanted children who are born. It’s devastating,” she added.

Butterfield’s words to young women going forward: “We need to organize. We need to make sure that we elect pro-choice candidates. This is a lesson in what can happen when you elect candidates who aren’t pro-choice. This is the legacy of Donald Trump.”

On the other side of the issue, the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton and the spiritual leader of local Catholic parishes, praised the ruling.

“One of the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church is that all human life is sacred — from the moment of conception until natural death — and it must be respected and protected,” Bambera said.

Referring to the case before the Supreme Court that resulted in the toppling of Roe v. Wade, Bambera said, “I am thankful that the majority of Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized and upheld the sanctity of human life.”

“For Catholics, respecting life, especially the unborn, is intrinsic to our identity as people of faith,” Bambera said.

“It is critical to note, however, that valuing human life is not simply confined to life in the womb. We must never dismiss or ignore our responsibility to care for, protect and defend our brothers and sisters from other serious threats to human life, including poverty, racism and oppression,” the Bishop wrote.

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