There’s a new mood sweeping through the pro-life movement. You have to see it to believe it, and I see it everywhere I go.
There’s a new mood sweeping through the pro-life movement. I see it everywhere I go.”
Our Supreme Court victory is just one of several small victories contributing to a surge in optimism among pro-lifers, from the Newsweek special report on fetal rights that featured 3-D ultrasound pictures we’ve been praying the public would get a chance to see, to the passage of abortion restrictions in many state legislatures, and to the increasingly frantic rhetoric from the pro-abortion side. The abortionists know their days are numbered. Pro-lifers know it too, and morale is up.
I got a taste of this pro-life optimism during my trip to Syracuse, NY in the beginning of April at the invitation of Joan M. Brown. I arrived on Friday the 4th to do the very popular Jim Reith Show, live on WSYR radio. The next morning I joined a group of Syracuse pro-lifers for a Rosary for Life outside their local abortion mill, including old friends Tom Scibetta, Bernie Duffy and John Arena, who has new hope that he’ll win a case he’s been fighting for years that was modeled on NOW v. Scheidler. Later that morning I spoke on the spiritual dimensions of the abortion war to a luncheon audience of 300 at the famous Barbagallo’s Restaurant. That evening I gave a parish talk at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
Back in Chicago the following Wednesday, I spoke to the Centennial Forum in Mertz Hall on the Loyola University of Chicago campus. Grace Harris was my hostess.
On Saturday April 12, I spoke at a fundraiser in the auditorium of St. Margaret School in Waterbury, CT, organized by my host, Peter Zerseckar. Peter is zealously fighting against the odds to re-open a Lithuanian Catholic school that the diocese wants to sell to the public school district.
Three Days in D.C.
At the end of April I visited the suburbs around Washington, DC for a series of events. On Monday the 21st I spoke at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, MD at the invitation of Cathy Roth. The next day I did a radio interview with CWA President Sandy Rios, accompanied by Anne Thunder, and taught a class at the American Life League Headquarters in Stafford, VA, organized by my ALL hostesses, Camille Murphy and Elizabeth Daub. Camille and Elizabeth joined us in Chicago in June for our big victory celebration.
After a delightful dinner at the home of Steve and Mary K. Baily, I spoke at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Great Falls, VA, where I was introduced by former Virginia Congressman Bob Marshall. Later I did a TV show with Steve Peroutka in Alexandria, VA.
On Wednesday April 23, I spoke on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. By chance I missed my hostess Erin Butcher on my way into the Engineering Building for the talk, arriving just on time. I simply introduced myself and began to speak to about sixty students on the history of the pro-life movement and the NOW case, why abortion is such an outrage and why we have to fight so hard. I only found out later that many in the audience were not pro-life as I had assumed, but in the end I think I gave just the right talk. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
Return to Pro-Life Appleton
On Friday May 2, I was in Appleton, WI for the first time in years at the invitation of Maureen Davey and Pro-Life Wisconsin. Appleton has long been a strong pro-life town and figured prominently in the NOW v. Scheidler trial back in 1998. Still living in a house next to Appleton’s lone abortion mill is long-time activist Linda Noie, whom I joined with fifty other pro-lifers in front of the mill and on her lawn praying that the mill will soon close. That evening I spoke before a gathering of about 200 at St. Pope Pius X Catholic Church and did another radio program.
Picketing the abortion mill in Appleton, WI
On Saturday May 10, I drove down to Peoria, IL with Julie McCreevy of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants Chicago, to help Marie Pitt-Payne raise funds for a new crisis pregnancy center. We spoke to an audience of 100 at St. Vincent de Paul Parish Hall on the Supreme Court victory and the need for renewed activism, especially sidewalk counseling.
Long-time activist Brian Gibson was my host in St. Paul, MN for a talk at Holy Childhood Catholic Church on Friday May 16 with about 150 in attendance. I visited the Franciscan Brothers of Peace community in St. Paul and met up with old friend Paul O’Donnell, the prior, whose brothers have converted a former convent into a beautiful monastery. There I visited Mike Goworski who has been bed-ridden for twelve years. On Saturday we prayed at the Planned Parenthood abortion mill in St. Paul, which closed down for the day, followed by a pro-life brunch in the Radisson Hotel overlooking St. Paul and the mighty Mississippi River.
On Saturday May 24, I flew out to Los Angeles, where Ken Fisher picked me up for the drive to Pasedena for a talk at Holy Family Catholic Church arranged by Diana and Astrid Bennett, two young saints working to shut down the sixteen abortion mills within a couple miles of their office. The audience of 100 included old friends J.T. Finn, Dr. Donald Smith, and attorney Colette Wilson. Diana has since joined a religious order.
Face the Truth Comes to Mississippi
It was my privilege to help Roy and Dr. Beverley McMillan kick off the first-ever Mississippi Face the Truth tour in Jackson May 29. We’ll have a report on the McMillans’ Truth tour, which will run through the fall, in the next issue of Action News. While in Jackson, I did a radio show with Matt Friedeman and was roasted by a large group of pro-lifers at Sizzler and given the “Man of La Mancha Award” for “dreaming the impossible dream” of ending abortion.
The next day I did a radio show with WFMN’s Paul Gallow followed by a press conference at New Woman Medical Center, Mississippi’s only abortion mill, and was on WJMT radio with Kim Waide. In the evening we kicked off the Mississippi Face the Truth tour with a rally at Westlyn Biblical Seminary. We were back at the clinic Saturday, May 31, for interviews with the Associated Press and several local television stations. Fr. Robert Olivier, a seminary classmate of mine and chaplain of the local Catholic hospital, came out to the clinic and gave us a blessing.
Joe and Ann with some of the enthusiastic young adults at the St. Mary of the Angels seminar in Chicago
Finally, Ann and I attended Mass and spoke to the young adult group at St. Mary of the Angels Church here in Chicago on Friday June 13 on the Supreme Court victory and pro-life activism. Over sixty attended the St. Mary’s group, headed by Carol Walsh, Louis Artiaga and Craig Odegaard. They’re a great bunch of young Catholics, deeply committed to their faith and the pro-life cause—one more sign of the ultimate pro-life victory to come.