SAN DIEGO — June 24 marks the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
Across the San Diego Diocese, several organizations that assist pregnant women and faith-based ministries said that the decision has profoundly affected them.
Their leaders said that they have experienced greater interest in their cause and growing demand for their programs and services — and have expanded their operations as a result.
At the same time, they acknowledged that voters in California overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1 in November that added the right to an abortion to the state’s constitution. And they recognized that efforts continue in the public and private sectors to try to limit how their organizations promote themselves.
However, there’s no doubt that the Supreme Court’s ruling energized pro-life organizations and culture of life ministries at parishes.
“In this post-Roe era, our team feels more confident in our purpose and mission,” said Eduardo Reyes, who with his wife, Alma, serve as coordinators of the 40 Days for Life Campaign in Escondido. “The overturning of Roe has opened up the eyes of many who were not aware of the abortion laws in our area. This has caused many to rise up and stand up for the unborn.”
Reyes said campaign participants wanted to keep praying outside of clinics that provide abortions beyond the 40-day period, and now hold prayer sessions year-round on Fridays.
Carolyn Koole is the executive director of Hope Clinic for Women in Fallbrook, which offers free medical care for pregnant women.
She said interest in events that support the clinic has picked up since the ruling. “Our gala had the largest attendance we have ever had.”
The number of people interested in volunteering has grown dramatically, she added.
“We feel more empowered because we have the hearts of our churches and community behind us,” she said. “But we are more vulnerable because we know the government is looking for ways to trap us in our advertising. In the end, it has made us wiser.”
Culture of Life Family Services (COLFS) is a nonprofit organization based in Escondido that assists women in crisis pregnancies and operates a family medicine practice guided by Catholic values. The organization expanded its staff in the last year to meet growing demand for its services, according to Melisa Sanchez, its Ministry Director, and is participating in more community events.
Penelope Ramírez is a longtime culture of life ministry leader at St. Mary’s Parish in Escondido, working with the Hispanic community. She dedicates her time in a variety of activities, from giving talks to supporting women who have had abortions. She, too, has noted greater interest in the pro-life cause.
“More people are daring to ask me, ‘So, you don’t support abortion?’” she said. “They do it because they are interested in the issue, not to confront me.”
Luly Ramirez directs Birth Choice of the Imperial Valley, a life-affirming pregnancy and resource center based in El Centro.
“The overturning of Roe v. Wade opened hearts in our community,” she said. “We have been blessed with donations and support like never before, giving us greater opportunity to expand our programs to mothers in need. We have been empowered by the Holy Trinity!”