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Affirming the dignity and worth of all lives

Necessary next steps in the new Dobbs America


Affirming the dignity and worth of all lives
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For nearly 50 years, people from all across the United States have marched in the streets of D.C., driven by hope and resolve that one day the egregiously wrong, deadly, and unworkable Roe v Wade would be overturned.

Last week, thousands of Americans marched again for the first time since the Court overturned Roe. Contrary to what many reported, this year’s March for Life was not a victory lap. Quite the opposite.

As we marched, we said goodbye to one chapter of American history, and we started a new one. This new chapter comes replete with our respect for the dignity of all life and is one that underscores our commitment to the lives of all children and also to the women who face pregnancy, even in difficult circumstances.

When I appeared before the justices in December 2021 with a petition to support Mississippi’s laws regulating abortion, I argued that we can and must both empower women and promote life. With the five simple words, “Roe and Casey are overruled,” the Court granted the people this opportunity.

With the task now falling to us, we must rise to this challenge with the very same energy we mustered for five decades to bring us to this new era. Roe has been overturned, and now the hard work just gets harder.

The pro-life movement has always been about compassion and support for woman and child, establishing a network of pregnancy resource centers ready and willing to open their doors and lend whatever hand a mother needs. We will continue to support these centers and to grow the safety net that helps women through pregnancy and into motherhood, but we cannot stop there.

We must also find ways to help fathers be active and involved in building healthy families.

Our laws must reflect this same compassion during and after pregnancy.

We must encourage workplace flexibility and ensure families have access to quality, affordable childcare. Society has dramatically changed since 1973. Now more than ever, mothers have the freedom to care for their families while pursuing their professional dreams. As a single, working mother of three I know this firsthand, but I also understand the challenges “having it all” can bring. When we promote women’s participation in the workplace, not only do women and their children thrive, employers reap rewards and we all benefit.

This is just as true for women who are struggling to support their families as it is for women who are in more comfortable economic circumstances. The lack of affordable childcare options creates systemic disincentives that deprive us of the creative and innovative contributions of women – all women. It is a barrier that keeps a young mother from completing her education, an unnecessary obstacle to a mother supporting her family, and an impediment to a mother’s professional ambitions.

Foster care and adoption systems are also long overdue for improvement. On the whole, these systems have quite honestly failed our children. There is no shortage of loving families waiting to welcome children in need into their homes, but too often the process is unnecessarily long, entirely opaque, and prohibitively expensive, not to mention an emotional rollercoaster.

We have lost sight that the system is meant to serve the best interests of the child. They are our mission, first, last, and always. We leave too many children stuck in limbo in foster care when they should be thriving in a loving home. It is long past time to implement reforms to connect them to their forever families.

Finally, we must improve child support enforcement. For too many families, regular and reliable child support payments can be the difference between steady meals and going hungry. As four out of five custodial parents are women, too often this falls heavily on the mother. Fathers simply must be held equally responsible for their children financially. Women have borne this burden alone for too long.

At the same time, we must also find ways to help fathers be active and involved in building healthy families. Healthy children come from healthy families. Healthy and strong societies are built of healthy families.

With Dobbs, we asked the Justices to overturn Roe. They did their part, and now we are ready to do ours. This year, we march into a new beginning with the same hope and resolve to ensure our laws empower women and their families and respect the dignity of all life.

Lynn Fitch

Lynn Fitch is the attorney general of Mississippi. She helped defend Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

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