On February 3, 2007 the Pro-Life Action League, in conjunction with thirty other Illinois pro-life organizations, sponsored the seventeenth annual SpeakOut Illinois conference and memorial. The League’s Generations for Life division conducted the TeenSpeak youth conference that ran concurrent to the main program (see story, page 4).
The morning began with an opening prayer offered by Fr. K. Anthony Spengler, a priest of the Orthodox Church and representative of Orthodox Christians for Life, one of the SpeakOut sponsors. Sandy Rios, host of The Sandy Rios Show on WYLL Christian radio in the greater Chicago area, served as Master of Ceremonies for the conference.
Chris Slattery at 2003 League Rally
New York Leadership in Pregnancy Help
Three outstanding and informative workshops were offered to the pro-life audience. Chris Slattery, founder and director of Expectant Mother Care, a network of fifteen crisis pregnancy centers in New York, talked about the challenges of bringing CPCs up to speed with ultrasound and prenatal care to meet the needs of the clients. Slattery announced that he was about to launch a mobile ultrasound unit that he would take to the sites of the abortion clinics in the New York area, reaching out to abortion-bound women with an offer of a free ultrasound. Studies show that a woman who sees her baby on the ultrasound screen is very unlikely to choose abortion.
South Dakota state representative Roger Hunt gave a workshop on the South Dakota campaign to outlaw almost all abortions in the state. The legislature had passed the pro-life bill in February 2006 and it was signed by Governor Mike Rounds on March 6. But Planned Parenthood, rather than challenging the law in court, chose to mount a petition drive to take the issue to the voters in a referendum.
South Dakota Rep. Roger Hunt (R)
New South Dakota Abortion Law To Come
Planned Parenthood pumped millions into a television propaganda assault in the weeks prior to the election. Grassroots pro-lifers worked the neighborhoods and posted signs everywhere, but they could not quite match Planned Parenthood’s access to big money, and on November 7, 2006, voters rejected the ban 55% to 45%. However, the entire process provided a golden opportunity for pro-life education, not just in South Dakota, but across the nation and internationally. Rep. Hunt, as the sponsor of the 2006 bill, is hopeful that an abortion ban will ultimately stand in South Dakota and be an example to other states.
Law as Teacher—For Good or Ill
Tom Brejcha, chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, Pro-Life Law Center in Chicago, gave a PowerPoint presentation on how law shapes the culture. Using examples from U. S. political history, he showed how public opinion is molded by Supreme Court decisions such as Roe v. Wade, and by the exercise of the First Amendment in protesting the wrongs in society.
The Henry Hyde Life Leadership award was presented to Dr. Eugene Diamond, who has been at the forefront of the battle for life since prior to Roe v. Wade. Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki led the memorial service for the unborn to close the day.