After they listened to a homily in which the priest extoled the bond between mother and child, mothers received pink and white carnations Sunday beneath the vaulted, century-old ceilings of St. Martin de Porres Church in North Philadelphia.

It was Mother’s Day, yet it also was the first Sunday after the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. That left some parishioners feeling thoughtful about those who make the choice not to become a mother.

Lenora Chapman, 78, of East Falls, said the decision should be in the hands of women. Of the five justices said to have cast a preliminary vote to overturn Roe, four are men.

“I don’t believe a man should tell a woman what to do with her body,” Chapman said before sitting in one of the church’s varnished wooden pews for the 10 a.m. Mass. “If the Supreme Court was mostly women, then maybe I could go along with it.”

Aloha Young, 71, of Pennsauken, felt otherwise, stressing that abortion ran counter to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

“It’s a matter of faith,” she said.

Those were just two of the varying views held by members of the Catholic church at West Lehigh Avenue and North 24th Street. While abortion is against official church doctrine, some members of the faith have long believed that the procedure should be an option — President Joe Biden perhaps most prominent among them.

In a 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center, 56% of Catholics said they supported some level of legal access to abortion — including 35% who said it should be legal in most cases, and 21% who said so in all cases. Yet among those who attend Mass weekly, two-thirds said abortion should be illegal in most or all cases.

In his homily, the Rev. Addisalem T. Mekonnen did not address the pending court decision directly, but spoke of the connection that a pregnant woman feels with an unborn child.

He also recounted the story of Gianna Molla, an Italian pediatrician who learned during pregnancy that she had a tumor in her uterus. She allowed surgeons to remove the tumor but opted against a hysterectomy, which would have terminated the pregnancy. She eventually gave birth, in April 1962, yet soon died of postoperative complications, and was later canonized.

Mekonnen called her choice “heroic,” yet said that if Molla had chosen to end the pregnancy and save her own life, the church would have accepted that choice, as well.

“Life is equal to life,” he said. “The life of the mother is equal to the life of the unborn.”

That story resonated with Young, the Pennsauken resident.

“I agree with an abortion ban, but there are certain circumstances,” she said. “If there is a choice between one life and another life … .”

Marsha Cooper, 77, of North Philadelphia, expressed surprise that the abortion issue has remained a matter of public debate for decades.

“I’m not really for abortion myself,” she said. “If somebody raped me, and I got pregnant behind that rape, I probably still wouldn’t have an abortion. But to each her own.”

Renée Turner-Freckleton, 65, of Northeast Philadelphia, expressed similar sentiments. She described herself as “pro-life,” yet said the procedure should be available to people in certain difficult situations, such as rape.

“I feel everyone has the right to choose,” she said.

Echoing Chapman, she objected to having the decision made by male justices.

“These men, they’re older,” Turner-Freckleton said. “I don’t think they have a right to say for women.”

Women in the congregation were forthcoming about their views on abortion. Men were less so, including one who waved off any questions, pleading ignorance about the recent court leak.

Mekonnen, the priest, also declined to address the recent news when asked after Mass, referring any questions to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Asked about the leaked opinion last week, Archdiocese spokesman Kenneth Gavin would not comment, saying any discussion of a ruling would be “purely speculative.”

Chapman, the East Falls resident, acknowledged that her views were in conflict with official church doctrine. Yet on such a personal matter, people must have the right to decide for themselves, she said.

“God gave us reason,” she said. “It’s free will.”