The crowd listens to and prays with Bishop Hying at the March for Life Wisconsin. (Catholic Herald photos/Angela Curio)

Angela Curio
Madison Catholic Herald

MADISON — “We are called to proclaim from the housetops the gospel of life, to speak publicly as we are today,” said Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison at the March for Life Wisconsin event held at the State Capitol in Madison on June 24. “That every single human life is sacred, made in the image and likeness of God to be respected, to be nurtured, and to be loved.”

The march marked the first anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Supreme Court decision which now permits states to enforce and enact laws that restrict and ban access to abortion.

The two previous Supreme Court decisions, Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, treated abortion access as a protected human right where any law directly restricting access to abortion was considered unconstitutional and unenforceable.

Bishop Hying said now, “We live in a house divided. We live in a place where some states have restricted abortion; others welcome people to continue to have abortions. And so, the fight is not over by any means.”

In a letter he read by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops secretariat of Pro Life Activities, he stated, “Even as we celebrate, we are reminded this is not the end, but the beginning of a critical new phase in our efforts to protect human life. Challenges lie ahead of us. Over the past year, while some states have acted to protect unborn children, others are trying to move to enshrine abortion in law, enacting extreme abortion policies that the children is vulnerable to abortion even until the moment of birth.”

The letter stressed that it was not merely about changing laws, “but also helping to change hearts.”

“We are called to solidarity with women facing an unexpected or challenging pregnancy,” said the letter. “May all people of faith and good will work together to proclaim that human life is a precious gift from God.”

In addition to Bishop Hying’s reflections on the Dobbs decision, the bishop led the crowd of hundreds in the opening prayer and spoke about what had motivated him to get involved in pro-life activism.

“I was drawn to pro-life work as a young priest because I started to listen to women who were suffering from the grief and tragedy of abortion,” he said. “I very quickly realized, as a newly ordained priest, [that] there are at least two victims in abortion, both the child, and certainly the mother, and in many cases, many, many more.”

Bishop Hying was one of seven speakers at the event. The other six included Jim Ball, leader of 40 Days for Life in Green Bay; Dr. Robin Goldsmith, MD, president and chief medical officer of St. Gianna Clinic in De Pere; Daniel Reehoff, pastor at DaySpring Baptist Church in Pewaukee; State Representative Joy Goeben from Hobart; Pat Castle, founder of LIFE Runners; and Fr. Richard Heilman, priest of the Diocese of Madison.

The bishop then joined the crowd in the march around the Capitol building.

The event ran from 1:30-3:30 p.m and was met by a smaller group of counter protesters. Overall, interactions between the two groups remained peaceful.