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K N I G H T S O F C O LU M BU S january 2018 ♦ VoluMe 98 ♦ nuMBer 1



8 A Movement Is Born

22 The Converts of Roe v. Wade

From a grassroots meeting in a Washington living room, the March for Life has helped mobilize generations to defend human life.

Two pivotal figures who fought for abortion rights became passionately pro-life. BY CAROLEE MCGRATH


18 Pro-Life From Coast to Coast

30 Life, We Stand on Guard for Thee On Parliament Hill and across the provinces, Canadians stand together in defense of life.

Dozens of annual marches demonstrate the momentum of the pro-life movement across the United States.



21 San Francisco’s Witness to Life

32 Marches for Life Go Global

The annual Walk for Life West Coast thrives — and heals — in a hostile environment.

Undaunted by challenges, the international pro-life movement grows in strength and solidarity. BY CORINNA TURNER



Photo by Matthew Barrick


Building a better world The teachings of Humanae Vitae and advancements in the science of fertility can help us build a culture of life. BY SUPREME KNIGHT CARL A. ANDERSON


Learning the faith, living the faith Reflecting on questions about the dignity of life can lead us to God’s goodness and love. BY SUPREME CHAPLAIN ARCHBISHOP WILLIAM E. LORI

PLUS: Catholic Man of the Month


Knights of Columbus News Knights Provide Kids With Warmth on Black Friday • Franciscans Honor Order’s Work for Persecuted Christians • K of C Short Films Win Emmy Awards • Order Sponsors Week of Awareness Campaign for Persecuted Christians



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The Momentum of the March IT WAS a bitterly cold January morning. We had hardly slept. Our hands and feet were growing more numb by the minute. Still, there was no place we would rather be — standing on the National Mall, waiting for the March for Life to begin. It has now been more than 15 years since I first participated in the annual march. Our relatively small group, including a handful of early 20-somethings like me, had arrived the previous afternoon after a 10-hour van ride from Michigan. We then participated in the Vigil Mass for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and I was deeply struck by the sight of hundreds of bishops and priests processing in, while the basilica was filled to capacity. Following the Mass, an energetic underclassman named Rachel ran ahead of our van, leading us to The Catholic University of America’s athletic center. There, after a bite to eat and a period of eucharistic adoration, we managed to find some remaining floor space for our sleeping bags among hundreds of other young people. Following a joyful and prayerful March for Life the next day, we packed into the van and drove back to Michigan through the snow. My friends and I were inspired by what we experienced during our brief trip to Washington. We had a better sense of our calling to be truly pro-life — and we became more strongly committed to promoting the dignity of every human person in our words and actions throughout the year, not just a

couple of days in January. For example, every Saturday morning, rain or shine, we prayed the rosary outside of an abortion facility in Lansing, and I used my first marathon as an opportunity to raise money for a local pregnancy help center. Each year, tens of thousands of young people are similarly inspired to greater witness as a result of attending the March for Life or other pro-life marches throughout North America and the world. This is one reason why the pro-life movement, especially in the United States, has seen such tremendous growth. A few years ago, the abortion facility where my friends and I used to pray permanently closed, and, with the diocese’s permission, it then became a prolife clinic. Young people from the area now fill charter buses, not vans, to come to the annual march in Washington. And Rachel, the CUA student who helped us find our way, is now a professed member of the Sisters of Life. In anticipation of the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade Jan. 22 and the 44th March for Life in Washington Jan. 19, this issue of Columbia is dedicated to telling the story of this growing, increasingly global movement. It is a story that has not yet reached its climax, as pro-life marches have become larger, younger and more dynamic, imbued with the joy and creativity of a new generation dedicated to defending human life.♦ ALTON J. PELOWSKI EDITOR

Pledge to Our Lady of Guadalupe THE VIRGIN MARY, under her title Our Lady of Guadalupe, is widely recognized as patroness of the pro-life movement. A folded prayer card featuring a Prayer for Life that concludes Evangelium Vitae and a Pledge to Our Lady of Guadalupe to defend human life is available from the Knights of Columbus Supply Department (#9754). Signed copies of the pledge may be sent to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City via the Supreme Council. 2 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦



Venerable Michael McGivney (1852-90) Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Intercede for Us. ________ HOW TO REACH US MAIL COLUMBIA 1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326 ADDRESS CHANGES 203-752-4210, option #3 PRAYER CARDS & SUPPLIES 203-752-4214 COLUMBIA INQUIRIES 203-752-4398 FAX 203-752-4109 K OF C CUSTOMER SERVICE 1-800-380-9995 E-MAIL INTERNET ________ Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See. This means that an applicant or member accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church.


Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved ________ ON THE COVER Mary Forr, director of the Department of Life Issues for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., is pictured in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building.

COVER: Photo by Greg Gibson


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The Gift of Life The teachings of Humanae Vitae and advancements in the science of fertility can help us build a culture of life by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson AS WE PREPARE to observe the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, another anniversary comes to mind. July will mark 50 years since Blessed Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, on the regulation of birth. The legacies of both are related to extraordinary scientific advances that opened up new technological means to control the transmission of human life. When the Supreme Court revisited Roe in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, the 5-4 majority argued that Roe could not be overturned because, for two decades, people had made choices about their lives and intimate relationships “in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.” Pope Paul had a very different response to such challenges — one that has been described as “Christian personalism.” In Humanae Vitae, he wrote this about married love: “Husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment. It is a love that is total. … Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner’s sake” (9). Humanae Vitae proclaims that each person is worthy to be loved and respected for his own sake and possesses a dignity that is inviolable. This proclamation is more necessary today than ever as scientific experiments in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics and genetic manipulation push past

boundaries of even the most imaginative science fiction writers. Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si’, wrote this: “The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation” (155). Science and technology will confront us with new questions about what it

Humanae Vitae proclaims that each person is worthy to be loved and respected for his own sake. means to be human. And the answers will be increasingly difficult as the line between reality and virtual reality is blurred. Today, as in 1968, Humanae Vitae is an important part of the Church’s response. Unfortunately, some will use the occasion of the anniversary to reignite old controversies, but this approach will miss its enduring value. St. John Paul II promoted Humanae Vitae, though he thought that further explanation was needed for its teachings to gain wider acceptance. That is one reason why he developed a “theology of the body,” and why he devoted so much time to it. But already in 1968, natural family planning advocates such as my friends

Drs. John and Evelyn Billings welcomed Humanae Vitae and supported its teaching with a natural method of fertility management now known as the Billings Ovulation Method. Just last year, the European Union certified a new mobile app that uses an algorithm developed by a Nobel Prizewinning physicist to measure a woman’s body temperature to accurately predict ovulation. According to one English news source, the app, known as Natural Cycles, “could spell the end for hormonal and intrusive birth control measures.” Such a result would come not a moment too soon. The World Health Organization has classified estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives as Group 1 carcinogens. That means they are known to be carcinogenic for women, increasing their risk of liver, cervical and breast cancer. Natural family planning methods encourage women to better understand the delicate natural processes of their bodies. They encourage better communication and respect between husbands and wives. Perhaps this new “science” of the body will enable a new generation of Catholic spouses to live an authentic theology of the body in their marriages and will help the world rediscover the dignity of human life and love. Vivat Jesus!



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Conversion to the Gospel of Life Reflecting on questions about the dignity of life can lead us to God’s goodness and love by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori THE SPIRIT of the annual March this process of conversion takes place for Life in Washington, D.C., is ex- within us on three levels — intellectraordinary. It is not only peaceful but tual, moral and religious. also full of hope and joy. It is forwardlooking as it seeks to create a culture SEEKING TRUTH question the rhetoric and hype that of life and love. And while it draws We commonly think of conversion we hear and see. people of all ages, the crowd tends to solely as a religious experience, such as Many people who once considered be young, including many millennials coming to faith in Christ or convert- themselves avidly “pro-choice” arrived and young families. Standing in the ing to Catholicism. Yet conversion has at a point in their lives when they crowd, you feel as though you’re at a other meanings as well. In general, it started asking questions about arguversion of World Youth Day — filled is a change of direction in our lives ments for abortion, leading them to with the conviction that human life is that takes us beyond ourselves, beyond ultimately change their minds. At a God’s precious gift and that each per- our limited point of view, beyond our certain point, they took seriously the son, from the moment of conception, purely personal interests — or, as Pope philosophical arguments and scienis endowed by the Creator with tific evidence advanced in favor inviolable dignity and, indeed, of the humanity of the unborn “a right to life.” child. For others, the breakOnce life is understood as a When I attend the March for through experience came when Life each January, I invariably they actually saw an unborn precious gift, many are struck catch a cold, but it’s worth it. I child via an ultrasound maby the thought that God loves come home with a renewed dechine. Indeed, this is the case termination to resist what Pope for many as a result of the what he has made. Francis calls “the throwaway Knights of Columbus Ultraculture” and to foster genuine sound Initiative. love and respect for human life, espe- Francis would say, beyond our comcially when it is defenseless. fort zone. It is a shift that leads us to MOVED TO GRATITUDE I often ask myself what draws so strive to be better, more authentic ver- A change of mind often leads to a many people to this event. What sions of ourselves. change in one’s actions, to moral makes them travel great distances, Conversion is thus a common conversion — to a different way of spend sleepless nights on buses, and human experience. And as noted understanding, judging and acting. stand for hours on cold, soggy above, it often occurs on three levels As a rule, people see themselves as ground? Is it merely a political move- in our lives. Let’s look at all three to reasonable and conscientious. When ment, or is it something more? The understand more deeply the ways in individuals take that view of themanswer, I think, is that the Lord is at which people can be converted to the selves seriously, they may arrive at a work in the minds and hearts of these truth and beauty of the Gospel of Life. point when they become uncomfortgood people and many more like First, intellectual conversion begins able making decisions and acting them. The word for it has to be “con- when we start asking questions and solely on the basis of what they think version” — the Lord is converting challenging assumptions. We begin to is in their best interest. They start minds and hearts to the Gospel of wonder whether what we had as- thinking not only about their own Life. And I would further offer that sumed to be true is in fact true. We problems, comfort or convenience. 4 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦


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They start asking about what really matters, what is really important in life. In other words, they become concerned about virtues and values. When people become convinced of the value of human life, they may be led to make difficult choices. Their newfound support for the cause of life may alienate friends and colleagues. A woman experiencing a difficult pregnancy may find the courage to bring her child to term in spite of her family’s opposition. Even as individuals undergo intellectual and moral conversion, some-


Offered in Solidarity with Pope Francis

POPE FRANCIS: CNS photo/Paul Haring

RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN ASIA: That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practice their faith in full freedom.

thing deeper may be going on in the depths of their being — namely, a genuine religious conversion. After all, once life is understood as a precious gift, many are struck by the thought that God loves what he has made. From there, it is a short step to thank the Creator for the gift of life and, in so doing, to fall in love with him. We are prompted to believe in, trust and worship the living God, thanking him for creating each person in his image; thanking him for sending his Son to assume and redeem our

humanity; thanking him for calling us to friendship with himself. Thus, intellectual convictions and moral choices in favor of life become surrounded by God’s grace and love. This experience transforms us deeply and fills our pro-life advocacy with genuine love of God and neighbor. We then become not only advocates for life but also witnesses to the God of love who created and redeemed us. This, I think, explains the joy I experience each year when I take part in the March for Life. I hope you’ll experience that same joy!♦


St. Gerard Majella (1726-1755) GERARD MAJELLA was born April 6, 1726, to devout Catholic parents in Muro Lucano, Italy, east of Naples. Left fatherless at age 12, Majella became a tailor’s apprentice to help support his mother and three sisters. He eventually opened his own shop and divided his earnings between his family and the poor. Majella was drawn to religious life from a young age. At 14, he was denied admission to the Capuchins because of his youth. He later tried to join the Redemptorists, who were conducting parish missions in the region, but the superior rejected him due to frail health. Undeterred, he pursued the missioners for 12 miles as they left his town. “Take me on, give me a try,” he urged, “and then send me away if I’m no good.” The superior relented and sent him to the Redemptorist novitiate. Majella joyfully served the community as a porter, sacristan, tailor and infirmarian. In 1752, he made final religious vows in the presence of the order’s founder, St. Alphonsus Liguori. Brother Gerard became widely known as a miracle worker and mystic

during his lifetime, and many sought his spiritual direction. When a woman falsely accused him of breaking his vow of chastity, he did not defend himself but obediently accepted the penance assigned him by St. Alphonsus until his accuser recanted. Majella died of tuberculosis Oct. 16, 1755, at age 29. Many turned to him as a powerful intercessor after his death. Most famously, a young pregnant woman having a very difficult labor prayed with a handkerchief that he had given to her. Her pain immediately ceased, and her child was born healthy. Canonized in 1904 by Pope Pius X, St. Gerard Majella is a patron of expectant mothers, unborn children and the pro-life movement.♦



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Knights Provide Kids With Warmth on Black Friday Supreme Treasurer Ron Schwarz helps a girl try on a new winter coat at St. John the Baptist Church in New Haven, Conn. The Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids event was one of several to take place in Connecticut on Black Friday, Nov. 24, making it a day for charity rather than consumerism. Similar events took place on Black Friday in eight other states and Washington, D.C., with additional distributions in the weeks that followed. Since the Coats for Kids program began in 2009, K of C councils in cold weather cities throughout the United States and Canada have given more than 400,000 new coats to children in need.

Father Francesco Patton, O.F.M., custos of the Holy Land, and Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson display the Grato Animo Award in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11. IN RECOGNITION of the work of the Knights of Columbus to end the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson was awarded the Custody of the Holy Land’s Grato Animo Award. Father Larry Dunham, guardian of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C., presented the award Nov. 11. The monastery is the U.S. home of the Franciscans who have cared for the people and the sacred shrines of the Holy Land for 800 years. 6 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦


Father Dunham said he was grateful that the Knights of Columbus took up the cause of Middle Eastern Christians in addition to the Order’s many other charitable activities. “We Franciscans sometimes feel a little bit alone,” he said. “Who is paying attention to us? Who is going to help us? And suddenly I find that the Knights of Columbus are in this also.” Since 2014, the Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief Fund has committed more than $17 million for humanitarian assistance primarily in Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region.♦

K of C Short Films Win Emmy Awards

TWO KNIGHTS of Columbusproduced documentary shorts earned recognition at the 59th annual Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards Dec. 2. The winning films were produced for World Youth Day 2016 and featured at the Mercy Centre, the K of C-sponsored international English-language catechetical and youth festival site at the Tauron Arena Kraków. The Emmys were awarded in two categories: Outstanding Achievement for Interview/Discussion Programming for The Testimony of Father Donald Calloway and Outstanding Achievement for Human Interest Programming Program/Special/Series/Segment for Witness of Mercy: The Story of Jennifer Trapuzzano. Both videos can be viewed online through the Supreme Council’s channel on♦

COATS FOR KIDS: photo by Tom Serafin — FRANCISCAN AWARD: Photo by Paul Felters

Franciscans Honor Order’s Work for Persecuted Christians

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Order Sponsors Week of Awareness Campaign for Persecuted Christians

Photo by Tom Serafin

Participants of a U.N. conference Nov. 30 titled “Preserving Pluralism and Diversity in the Nineveh Region” included (left to right) Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson; Mohammed Hussein Moh’d Ali Bahr Aluloom, Iraqi ambassador to the U.N.; Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil, Iraq; Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the U.N.; Father Salar Kajo, a parish priest in Teleskof, a town in the Nineveh region of Iraq recently liberated from ISIS’ control; and Stephen Rasche, legal counsel and director of the IDP (internally displaced persons) Resettlement Programs for the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil. THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS joined the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other Catholic groups in sponsoring a Week of Awareness for Persecuted Christians Nov. 26-Dec. 2. This campaign drew attention to the plight of Christians who are suffering, especially the Middle East. The number of Christians in Iraq has declined by as much as 90 percent over the last several years — from 1.5 million before 2003 to about 200,000 today. The number of Christians in Syria has declined by as much as 70 percent. Since 2014, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil, Iraq, has overseen a massive humanitarian operation with K of C support to shelter and care for thousands of Christians and other religious minorities targeted for genocide by ISIS. The archbishop traveled to the United States to urge his audience to pray for and financially support the persecuted Christians. Nov. 26: The Week of Awareness began with a Day of Prayer, in which Catholics worldwide joined in praying for persecuted Christians and world peace. Nov. 27: Archbishop Warda joined Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson and other leaders for a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington. D.C. “We are not asking for a privileged life. We are asking for a sense of security and stability,” Archbishop Warda said. “What we are really requesting is the minimum to live a dignified life.” Nov. 28: Archbishop Warda celebrated a Chaldean Catholic Memorial Mass at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., in memory of the victims of genocide. He noted in his homily that, despite the threat of exile or death, persecuted Christians refused to give up their faith.

“They could have kept it all if they simply denounced their faith, but they did not do that,” he said. “They chose Christ.” Nov. 30: The Knights of Columbus and the Holy See’s Mission to the United Nations sponsored a conference at the U.N. headquarters in New York, emphasizing the need for pluralism and democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere. The event focused on improving the conditions for minority communities in the Nineveh Plain region, home to a historically large Christian community. Supreme Knight Anderson explained that without a notion of pluralism, in which different political and religious beliefs are upheld, “the need to respect the rights of minorities is lost, and this often affects members of the majority as well. … Without minorities, rights often vanish for everyone.” Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, chaired the meeting. For more information or to make a donation, visit♦

A message from Archbishop Warda of Erbil “The Knights of Columbus has engaged strongly in helping of the Christians from the beginning of the crisis — providing food and shelter and other material help to the needy, for the children in so many areas. ... When a crisis goes so long, people tend to forget or tend to be tired of helping the same cause. So we are here to remind everyone that we are facing a difficult time. We need your help; we need your voice; we need your support.”



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A Movement

Is B rn From a grassroots meeting in a Washington living room, the March for Life has helped mobilize generations to defend human life


ince it began 44 years ago, the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., has grown into the largest annual civil rights demonstration in the world. It has also inspired scores of similar marches across North America and around the globe. But it almost didn’t happen. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision Jan. 22, 1973, there was a period of shock and disbelief among pro-life advocates. “Most of the people involved in this issue didn’t believe the decision would come down as it did. It was almost unthinkable,” explained William V. Devlin, 82, a member of the St. Frances de Chantal Council 6526 in Wantagh, N.Y. About six months after Roe, Devlin said, discussions began about how the pro-life community should mark the first anniversary of the decision. Fellow Long Island native Lew Gardner, 78, who with his wife, Helen, was a member of Families for Life, recalled, “We wanted to commemorate the anniversary, and it was simply a question of how we were going to do it. We couldn’t just let the date go by.” Devlin, Gardner and several others were then put in contact with a Catholic attorney in Washington named Nellie Gray, who had recently retired from the Department of Labor. In a 2010 Catholic News Service profile, two years before her death, Gray recalled, “I received a call from [some] Knights of Columbus. I didn’t even know who they were, but they explained their stance against abortion and needed a place to meet to discuss plans for a march. That place was my living room.” Eileen Vogel of Women Concerned for the Unborn Child in Pennsylvania was among those who attended that meeting 8 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦


in October 1973. But first, she sat in on another gathering made up of right-to-life advocates from the D.C. area. Many expressed hesitation with planning a march, believing that if they didn’t do it well it would be worse than not doing anything at all. “It was all the ‘What ifs’ — ‘What if we have an ice storm? What if nobody comes?’” said Vogel. “When that meeting was over, I’m sure they thought they had settled the issue,” she mused. “But we were just beginning, and there was no way we were not going to do this.” Following dinner at her home, Nellie Gray turned to the grassroots organizers seated at her table and said, “I’d like you to tell me why you think we should have a march.” “I remember saying that it didn’t matter how many people showed up,” Vogel said. “If there were only 10 of us, history would have to record that there was a voice of protest against the killing of innocent babies.” Because of Gray’s experience with Washington, the group put her in charge. “Nellie was enthusiastic about it, but she was also a little bit reluctant,” said Gardner, who now serves as financial secretary of Ecumenical Council 5632 in Red Hook, N.Y. Gray and the rest of the planners stepped out in faith and agreed to hold a demonstration at the U.S. Capitol, which would include political and religious leaders and musicians. It would be followed by a march, envisioned as a “circle of life” around the congressional offices and the Supreme Court building. The group formulated key “life principles,” articulating the moral and legal responsibility to preserve and protect the life

Photo courtesy of Bill Devlin

by John Burger

TOP: Photo courtesy of Bill Devlin — BOTTOM: Photo courtesy of March for Life Education & Defense Fund

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Above: The first March for Life, which took place Jan. 22, 1974, drew some 20,000 participants, including groups from hundreds of miles away. • Opposite page: Nellie Gray (1924-2012), the event’s founder, speaks at the rally before a March for Life. JANUARY 2018


of every human being, and they began the work of raising money, securing permits and publicizing the Jan. 22 event. Live roses were sent to legislators in the name of people making donations, and Devlin, a commercial artist, designed the logo for the march, which showed the Capitol surrounded by a long-stemmed rose. Another Knight from Long Island, John Mawn, who died in 2002, helped facilitate transportation. The owner of a charter bus company, he served with his wife, Marie, as the pro-life chair couple of St. Regis Council 4651 in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. “John told us, ‘Don’t wait until you have 50 people to fill the bus,’” Vogel recalled. “‘Instead, say that we have a bus

going to D.C., and we’d like you to come with us.’” In the end, more than 20,000 people, including busloads from as far away as Illinois, participated in the first March for Life on Jan. 22, 1974. Though naysayers had been concerned about holding an outdoor demonstration in the middle of winter, it turned out to be 70 degrees and sunny. “It was divine providence,” Vogel said. “I don’t think we ever had a day like that again.” Nonetheless, the size of the crowd grew exponentially each year for the next several years, and the March for Life took on a life of its own. A number of annual events have sprung up

A Brief History of Abortion in America 1850s American Medical Association (AMA) presses state and territorial legislatures to outlaw elective abortion.

1860s Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton -70s and other leaders of the suffragist and abolitionist movements condemn abortion as a social evil in speeches and writings.



Statutes advocated by the AMA ban abortion unless necessary to save a mother’s life. Margaret Sanger opens the first birth control clinic in the United States in Brooklyn, N.Y. Planned Parenthood traces its origins to this event.

10 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦





The National Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Guilds denounces efforts to loosen abortion restrictions, writing that this would “make the medical practitioner the gravedigger of the nation.”

The American Law Institute advocates legalizing abortion for mental or physical health of the mother, pregnancy due to rape and incest, and fetal deformity.

Colorado loosens its abortion restrictions, the first of a wave of states to repeal pro-life legislation. Similar laws are passed in California, Oregon and North Carolina.


1970 1973

The National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (now called NARAL ProChoice America) is co-founded by Dr. Bernard Nathanson. The same year, Canada passes the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69, allowing abortion for selective reasons.

New York allows abortion on demand up to 24 weeks. Alaska, Hawaii and Washington pass similar laws.

Roe v. Wade strikes down state laws against abortion in the United States. Doe v. Bolton, the companion to Roe v. Wade, makes abortion on demand legal through all

CLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT: Photos by Jaclyn Lippelmann, Spirit Juice Studios, CNS photo/Chaz Muth, © Renata Grzan Wieczorek /, Jeffrey Bruno

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CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT: Photos by Alton Pelowski, CNS/Gary Cameron/Reuters, Matthew Barrick, Courtesy of the Sisters of Life, Matthew Barrick

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to complement the march, such as various conferences and the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Hundreds of political and religious figures have graced the rally’s stage on the National Mall and linked arms with marchers. Issues such as partial-birth abortion and post-abortion regret have taken center stage. At times, marchers have had to trudge through snow or shield themselves from biting wind and pelting rain, but growing numbers of young people, making their presence felt from the beginning, have swelled the crowd. Following the death of Nellie Gray in 2012, Jeanne Mancini was named president of the March for Life Education & De-

1974 1976 1980 1984

nine months of pregnancy by expanding the definition of a woman’s health.

The first March for Life takes place in Washington, D.C., on the anniversary of Roe.

Congress adopts the Hyde Amendment barring Medicaid and other federal funds from being used for abortion.

The Hyde Amendment is upheld by the Supreme Court.

President Ronald Reagan institutes the Mexico City policy denying federal funding for groups that promote or perform abortions in other nations. The policy was rescinded and reinstituted in turn by Presidents Clinton (1993), Bush (2001), Obama (2009) and Trump (2017).

fense Fund. Her leadership has marked a new chapter in the organization’s history as the pro-life movement continues to gain momentum. “You are the pro-life generation,” Mancini said, addressing the throngs of millennials assembled on the National Mall during last year’s March for Life Rally. “I believe that you are the generation that will bring to an end the greatest social injustice of today!”♦ JOHN BURGER is news editor of and a member of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Council 16253 in New Haven, Conn.

1980s Grassroots pro-life work on the local level includes the opening of pregnancy resource centers to help women with unplanned pregnancies. 1988 1989

1992 2003

In Canada, R. v. Morgentaler allows unregulated abortion in all circumstances.

Webster v. Reproductive Health Services upholds a Missouri law stating that human life begins at conception and bars state funds and facilities from providing abortions. Planned Parenthood v. Casey reaffirms the core holdings of Roe v. Wade but upholds several new restrictions on abortion. The “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban” is passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush.


The Supreme Court upholds the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. The first nationally coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign takes place in 89 cities.

2010s Dozens of state-level laws are passed to limit abortion, including many states which have successfully banned abortions after 20 weeks. 2016

In the case of Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down laws requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and for abortion facillities to meet minimal medical standards.

Today Pro-life marches calling for an end to legalized abortion are held in all 50 states and in countries throughout the world.


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Above: Supreme officers and their wives join Jeanne Mancini (center) in leading the 2017 March for Life in Washington, D.C.: (left to right) Supreme Advocate John Marrella; Amey Marrella; Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly, chairman of the board of the March for Life; Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life; Supreme Knight Carl Anderson; Supreme Secretary Michael O’Connor; Patricia O’Connor; and Dorian Anderson.

The Knights and the March EACH YEAR, Knights turn out in large numbers at the March for Life, joined by their families, councils, parishes and universities. In addition: • Knights of Columbus were among the founding organizers of the first march in 1974. • Since 1974, Virginia Knights have served as marshals at the march, collecting donations and offering first aid. • Every year, Knights from Washington, D.C., and their families assemble 12 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


and distribute 10,000 K of C “Defend Life” and/or “Choose Life” placards. • Members of The Catholic University of America Council 9542 and other K of C ushers assist at the National Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. • For decades, the Order has offered signs and pro-life information resources at the March for Life Conference, as well as at Canada’s National March for Life.

• Georgetown University Council 6375 co-sponsors and organizes the annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference for Life, the largest student-run pro-life conference in the United States. • Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson began participating in the March for Life in the 1970s and has addressed the rally several times. • Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly has served as chairman of the March for Life Board since 2012.

TOP: Photo by Matthew Barrick — BOTTOM: Photo by Spirit Juice Studios

Right: Members of George Washington University Council 13242 in Washington, D.C., stand in front of the Supreme Court building at the conclusion of the 2016 March for Life.

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Abortion by the Numbers 59 million — the approximate number of

abortions that have been performed in the United States since 1973. (National Right to Life Committee estimate based

on the Guttmacher Institute calculation through 2014, extrapolation for recent years and a correction for underreporting.)

Less than 2 percent — the percentage of abortions performed for commonly cited “exceptions” of incest, rape and risk to the mother’s life or health.

(The Johnston Archive reports that conception in rape leads to 0.3 percent of abortions, incest 0.03 percent, and danger to the mother’s life 0.1 percent. An additional 0.8 percent occurs because the mother’s health is at risk. The term “health” here does not refer to the legal description of health in Supreme Court rulings, where the word refers to substantially elective abortions.)

7 in 10 — the lower estimate of how many children

pared to live births in the African-American community. In New York City, that number surpasses 50 percent.

“People keep asking me — journalists keep asking me — what are our numbers for the March for Life? Well, it’s hard to add up so many numbers after 44 years, because there have been a lot of us. But that isn’t really the point. The only number I care about — the only number all of us here care about — is 58 million. Since 1973, 58 million Americans have been lost to abortion. We stand here for them today.”

This data was compiled by the Charlotte Lozier Institute Department of Data Analytics.

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, 2017

with Down syndrome, or trisomy 21, are aborted as a result of prenatal screening. (Estimates for the United States range from 67 percent to 92 percent based on various factors, including the mother’s age, race and ethnicity.)

More than 50 to 1 — the number of abortions

for every infant adoption in the United States. (National

Council for Adoption and Guttmacher Institute)

2 for every 5 — the number of abortions com-

(Centers for Disease Control, Guttmacher Institute, and New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene)

Photos by Spirit Juice Studios

Americans Support Abortion Restrictions FOR THE PAST DECADE, the Marist Institute for Public Opinion has surveyed Americans’ opinions on abortion in Knights of Columbus-sponsored polling. As in previous years, the most recent poll, conducted in December 2017, found that the overwhelming majority of Americans support substantial restrictions on abortion. Seventy-six percent would limit abortion to — at most — the first three months of pregnancy, which is a far more restrictive standard

than currently exists in the United States. That number has consistently remained more than 3 out of 4 since the polling began. And half would limit it only to — at most — cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. In addition, 60 percent of Americans oppose using tax dollars to pay for abortion, while fewer than 4 in 10 (36 percent) support it. And by a margin of 30 percentage points (63 percent to 33 percent), Americans support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. JANUARY 2018

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Hundreds of clergy process at the beginning of the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life Jan. 21, 2016, at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The event draws an estimated 9,000 participants each year. • Opposite page, top: Students from the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, Md., cheer during the Youth Rally and Mass for Life at Capital One Arena Jan. 22, 2016. 16 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


Previous sPread: Photo by © renata Grzan Wieczorek / — CNs photo/Gregory a. shemitz

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‘You Are Not Alone’

TOP: CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz — CENTER: Photo by Greg Gibson Photography

Mary Forr, 28, is the director of the Department of Life Issues for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. A native of Altoona, Pa., and a former basketball player for the University of Notre Dame, she coordinates programs and education efforts related to pregnancy support, chastity, and death and dying. She also helps organize the Youth Rally and Mass for Life, which precedes the March for Life each year. Columbia recently spoke with her about the march and what led her to this work. This is what she had to say. My parents are heavily involved in the pro-life movement, and I’ve been going to the March for Life for as long as I can remember. Every year, I’m blown away by the magnitude of the march. When you get to the top of the hill and can look back and see people as far as you can see, it’s just a really awe-inspiring moment.

My dad would always say that sports teach us about life. They teach us that hard work pays off and that there will be wins as well as losses. This is also the case for our work in the pro-life movement, but unlike in sports, the outcome here matters in the long run. This is a battle we must continue to fight because it’s not just a scoreboard that’s at stake here — it’s a human life. I think that for those who get angry about the right to life — usually there is some kind of hurt. We need to work to help heal those wounds, because they are real. That’s why the work of Project Rachel that our office does is so important.

I remember in college walking up Capitol Hill alongside a young man with Down syndrome. He was freezing cold, but he was smiling and talking about how wonderful it was to be there. Walking next to this young man made it the most powerful march that I’ve been on.

The annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life was started 27 years ago as an effort to mobilize the young people of the archdiocese. It quickly grew in size, and now we welcome almost 20,000 teens from across the country to Capital One Arena. The rally begins at 6:45 a.m., but these teens could not be more awake. The Mass, which is celebrated by cardinals, bishops and hundreds of priests, is an incredible experience for them.

My older sister, Marita, has special needs, and she is a huge source of inspiration for me to fight for the dignity of all life, especially kids who are targeted because of their disabilities. My sister is in Special Olympics, and every summer, my brother and I volunteer at the Pennsylvania State Games.

It’s important to know that you’re not alone. A lot of young people today see a society that tells them that women have the right to choose, that their strong Catholic values are not important. Here, they’re united with 20,000 other teenagers who are all there standing for the same thing that they are.♦ JANUARY 2018

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Pro-Life From

Coast to Coast Dozens of annual marches demonstrate the momentum of the pro-life movement across the United States by Joseph Pronechen

ot everyone can make the trip to the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. But since 1974, a steady stream of companion marches has grown. Now more than 60 local marches take place across the United States, allowing many more thousands to take a stand for life. For instance, approximately 10,000 people participate in the Dallas March for Life, which started in 2002. That event begins with Mass and includes a rally at the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse, the site where Roe v. Wade was first filed in 1970. In Florida, March for Life St. Augustine, which was founded in 2007 with 700 participants, now draws 3,500 from as far as Miami and Savannah, Ga. Denver’s annual Celebrate Life Rally and March attracts more than 5,000 people annually. Numerous smaller marches take place in cities like Concord, N.H., and Charlotte, N.C. There is at least one case of a pro-life march that predates the annual event in Washington. Laurence and Marge Theriault, who served on the Illinois Right to Life committee at the time, helped launch the first march in Chicago in 1972, a year before the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. “We had kids marching from all the Catholic schools during Respect Life Week,” recalled Laurence, a member of Father John J. Dussman Council 3731 in Glenview, Ill. “It was a very joyful march because we wanted to celebrate life.” The Chicago March for Life is now the largest pro-life event in the Midwest, regularly drawing more than 5,000 18 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


people from Illinois and surrounding states, even during the coldest winters. Meanwhile, one of the newest pro-life events is also one of the largest. The OneLife LA celebration, launched by Archbishop José H. Gomez in 2015, grew out of the Los Angeles March for Life established 11 years earlier.

DENVER In 2003, John Costello, a member of Van Nuys (Calif.) Council 3148, was disturbed by the following statement on a Christian radio program: “There have been over 30 million abortions in the past 30 years, and most Christians have done little or nothing about it.” A short time later, Costello was asked to head the prolife committee for Council 3148. He soon co-founded the Los Angeles March for Life with then-Grand Knight John Riordan and Julie Ball, director of the Pregnancy Counseling Center in Mission Hills, Calif. In March 2004,

LEFT: Photo by Michael Morneau — TOP RIGHT: Photo by Spirit Juice Studios — BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo courtesy of OneLife LA


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some 700 showed up to walk along busy Ventura Boulevard to give a public witness for life. “We were pioneers in the state of California,” Costello said. Eventually, the annual event transformed into today’s archdiocesan OneLife LA event. Now, under Archbishop Gomez’s leadership, OneLife LA is drawing huge crowds. “Archbishop Gomez is an outstanding leader and advocate of the culture of life,” affirmed Richard Marciniak, the K of C culture of life chairman for Southern California and a member of the OneLife LA organizing committee. “We’re expecting 20,000-30,000 people this year.” He added that, in addition to participating with their families and serving as marshals, Knights promote the event throughout the archdiocese and remain “a leading force for the march.”♦

Photo by Bill Poehler


JOSEPH PRONECHEN is a staff writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register.

Olympia Jan. 22

Spokane Jan. 20

Bismarck Jan. 22

Portland Jan. 14

Montpelier Jan. 22 St. Paul Jan. 12

Boise Jan. 20 Cheyenne Jan. 13

San Francisco Jan. 27

Jan. 22 Denver Jan. 13

Los Angeles Jan. 20


Las Vegas Mar. 10

San Diego Jan. 20

Phoenix Jan. 20

Dallas Jan. 20 Austin Jan. 27


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Jefferson City Jan. 22

Jan. 22

Tulsa Jan. 22

Boston Jan. 18

Albany Jun. 4

Chicago Jan. 14


Salt Lake City Jan. 20

Concord Jan. 13

Little Rock Jan. 21

Elkhart Jan. 13

Cleveland Jan. 22

Fort Wayne Jan. 27 Columbus Jan. 22 Louisville Jan. 22 Knoxville Jan. 22

Atlanta Jackson Shreveport/Bossier Jan. 22 Jan. 19 Jan. 27 Mobile Jan. 19 Pineville/Alexandria Feb. 3 Baton Rouge Jan. 20

Pensacola Jan. 13 Biloxi Jan. 22

Charlotte Jan. 12

New Haven Jan. 22

Providence Jan. 22

Annapolis Mar. 12 Washington, D.C. Jan. 19 Raleigh Jan. 13 Columbia Jan. 6

St. Augustine Jan. 13

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San Francisco’s Witness to Life The annual Walk for Life West Coast thrives — and heals — in a hostile environment by Gibbons Cooney


oston an. 18

Photo by Eva Muntean

dence 2

he first Walk for Life West Coast astonished organizers by drawing more than 7,000 participants Jan. 22, 2005. In the past 12 years, the event has grown steadily to well over 50,000 participants. “Many of us responded to the call to fearlessly proclaim the dignity of each person, especially the most innocent,” said Ralph DeSimone, who was among the organizers in 2004 and is a past grand knight of St. Mary’s Council 14156 in Walnut Creek. “We knew that having a safe, well-organized walk in San Francisco would be an opportunity to show others that there are many people of all ages and backgrounds who sincerely value life.” Although people of all ages, races and creeds attend, what is most striking is the exuberant presence of great numbers of young people. The event has generated pilgrimages, Holy Hours, special Masses and youth conferences, becoming one of the most faith-filled weekends of the year for the area’s Catholics. “The growth of the Walk is a dream come true,” said Eva Muntean, the Walk’s lead organizer, adding that the event has faced strong opposition from San Francisco’s political and media establishments — opposition that has continued yearly. One result of the censorship and under-reporting is the gridlock that catches the uninformed public unawares. As another of the event’s organizers, Dolores Meehan, memorably quipped,

“You can avoid the truth, but you can’t avoid the traffic!” Organizers have always sought for the Walk to be an occasion for healing, with a message of hope and love pouring onto the streets of San Francisco. The motto is “Abortion Hurts Women,” and the event begins with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign — testimonies by those affected by abortion. Lisa Hamrick, a co-founder of the Walk for Life, didn’t know what to expect when a woman suddenly approached her during a recent year’s event. “She came and stood right in front of me,” Hamrick recalled, “looked me squarely in the eyes, and said these words which I will never forget: ‘I was your opposition! For the first time this year, I am walking with you!’” For Muntean, a moment that stands out is the start of the first Walk for Life in 2005, turning the corner out of the plaza and facing a mob of hateful protestors. “For a half-second, I was terrified,” she said. “Lifting up my foot for the next step I wondered, do I stop or go on? But I, and we, took that step. We took that step, we didn’t stop, and we aren’t done yet!”♦ GIBBONS J. COONEY is the parish secretary at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco and volunteers with the Walk for Life West Coast. JANUARY 2018

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The Converts of Roe v. Wade Two pivotal figures who fought for abortion rights became passionately pro-life by Carolee McGrath

r. Bernard Nathanson was the most vocal of advocates. expressed doubts that abortion was simply the removal of an Thousands of women, he claimed, would die in back- “undifferentiated mass of cells.” He further wrote, “I am alley procedures if they were not granted the right to obtain deeply troubled by my own increasing certainty that I had in an abortion, and he had to protect them. So, in 1969, the fact presided over 60,000 deaths.” OB-GYN from New York City co-founded the National AsAs ultrasound technology emerged, Nathanson soon found sociation for Repeal of Abortion Laws. A year later, he became it impossible to deny the humanity of the unborn child. the director of New York’s Center for Reproductive and Sexual In 1979, he wrote Aborting America, which exposed what Health, the largest freehe called “the dishonest standing abortion facility beginnings of the aborin the world. tion movement.” He But abortion was still even admitted to personillegal in many other ally fabricating statistics places, like Texas, where about the number of local attorneys and acwomen who died each tivists in Dallas were year from illegal aborready to challenge the tion — in order to constate’s anti-abortion law. vince the Supreme Court They took as their case an that legal abortion unmarried, unemployed would save lives. young woman named In cooperation with Norma McCorvey, who the National Right to was denied access to aborLife Committee in 1984, tion when she became he narrated a documenpregnant. tary film titled The Silent In the case, McCorvey Scream, which showed went by different name: the abortion of a 12Dr. Bernard Nathanson and Norma McCorvey, aka “Jane Roe,” are pictured Jane Roe, or the “Roe” in week unborn baby via in 1985 and 1998, respectively, following their renunciation of abortion rights. Roe v. Wade, which evenultrasound. tually made its way to the A self-identified Jewish Supreme Court in 1973. atheist, he then began a The landmark decision decriminalized abortion nationwide, spiritual journey after befriending Father John McCloskey, a and in a certain sense, Nathanson and McCorvey had achieved priest of Opus Dei. He later converted to Catholicism and was victory — but that is not the end of their stories. In the years baptized by Cardinal John O’Connor, archbishop of New York, that followed Roe v. Wade, their views on the issue of abortion in St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dec. 8, 1996. changed dramatically. They eventually became vocal pro-life By this time, McCorvey had begun her own path of converadvocates and encountered God’s forgiveness in a powerful way. sion. In 1995, her life changed when a pro-life organization Just one year after Roe, in a 1974 New England Journal of moved into an office next to the Dallas abortion clinic where Medicine article titled “Deeper into Abortion,” Nathanson she was working. Just a year earlier, she had published a book 22 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


LEFT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite — RIGHT:  AP Photo/Eric Gay


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titled I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice, in which she chronicled her troubled childhood, substance abuse, three pregnancies and support of Roe v. Wade. Within months of meeting her pro-life neighbors, including Rev. Philip Benham, McCorvey left the abortion industry forever and became an evangelical Christian. She was later received into the Catholic Church in 1998 by Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life. She also published a second book, Won by Love, earlier the same year — a story of repentance, mercy, conversion and hope. In a supplement to the book, she wrote, “There is not a day that I do not thank God for the men and women who, by their personal contact with me or simply by their prayers, have helped me on my journey. His mercy is limitless.” In his own 1998 memoir, Hand of God, Nathanson echoed these sentiments: “I can’t tell you how grateful I am to those

who prayed for me all those years when I was publicly announcing my atheism and lack of faith. They stubbornly, lovingly prayed for me. I am convinced beyond a doubt that those prayers were heard.” Nathanson also confessed in the book to being “one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age.” McCorvey made a similar confession in a public service announcement: “My case, which legalized abortion on demand, was the biggest mistake of my life.” Despite their regret, when Nathanson died Feb. 21, 2011, at age 84, and McCorvey died Feb. 18, 2017, at age 69, they left this world in peace, as powerful witnesses of the Gospel of Life.♦ CAROLEE MCGRATH is co-host of CatholicTV’s women’s series, The Gist. A wife and a mother of five, she writes from Massachusetts.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Leaving the Abortion Industry BERNARD NATHANSON and Norma McCorvey are far from the only promoters of abortion who have experienced powerful conversions through reflection, friendships and pro-life witness. Dr. John Bruchalski’s conversion came after working as an abortionist during his OB/GYN residency in the late 1980s. Now a member of Padre Pio Council 10754 in Great Falls, Va., he founded the Tepeyac Family Center, one the largest freestanding pro-life medical practices in the United States, in 1994. In the case of Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood facility in Bryan/College Station, Texas, her conversion in 2009 was prompted in part by those organizing the 40 Days for Life campaign. She subsequently established And Then There Were None, an organization that has helped some 400 abortion workers and 7 abortion doctors leave the industry. •

“I stand in front of you today, a woman who spent eight years of her life working and running a Planned Parenthood facility. Because of the power of conversion, because of the power of Christ, I stand in front of you as a woman who has been redeemed from her past.” – Abby Johnson, founder of And Then There Were None, March for Life Rally 2017


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and evangelization. • • In 2004, members of Texas A&M Council 10624 and the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life in Bryan/College Station, Texas, launched a 40-day, 24-hour prayer vigil outside a local abortion facility. Now a grassroots movement active in 57 countries, the peaceful witness and prayer of 40 Days for Life has led some 14,000 abortion-minded women to choose life, 170 abortion workers quit their jobs and 90 abortion facilities close. • • The largest youth pro-life organization in the United States, Students for Life of America has helped to establish and build more than 1,100 student pro-life organizations and has trained tens of thousands of students nationwide to defend the preborn and help their mothers on their campuses. • •

“Let this movement be known for love, not anger. Let this movement be known for compassion, not confrontation. When it comes to matters of the heart, there is nothing stronger than gentleness. … To heal our land and restore a culture of life we must continue to be a movement that embraces all, cares for all, and shows respect for the dignity and worth of every person.” Vice President Mike Pence, 2017 March for Life

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Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

THE THEME of the 2018 March for Life — “Love Saves Lives” — is more than just a catchy slogan. It reflects the countless ways that compassionate pro-life work is making a real difference. Here are just a few examples: • Project Rachel is a diocesan-based confidential and sacramental healing ministry that serves women and men suffering in the aftermath of abortion. Founded in 1984, it offers pastoral counseling, support groups, retreats and referrals to licensed mental health professionals. • • The Sisters of Life is a contemplative/active religious community of women founded in New York in 1991 by John Cardinal O’Connor for the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life. Apostolates include providing housing and practical assistance for pregnant women in need, post-abortion healing, retreats

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“Let us who are gathered here today to witness to the blessing of human life commit ourselves to shattering the isolation of a culture which finds death a solution to the difficulties of life. ... Let us commit ourselves to the rehabilitation of the value of solidarity. Love requires solidarity.” Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, superior general of the Sisters of Life, Walk for Life West Coast, Jan. 24, 2009

TOP: Photo courtesy of the Gospel Herald Society — LEFT: Photo by © Renata Grzan Wieczorek / — RIGHT: Photo by Slav Zatoka

Helping Women Choose Life WHILE THE NUMBER of abortion facilities in the United States, now around 700, declines, the number of pro-life pregnancy centers is growing. More than 1,100 pregnancy centers in the United States now offer ultrasound services in addition to the traditional model of counseling and material aid. About 100 additional centers are converting to a limited medical model each year, and many clinics are expanding to provide comprehensive health care services from a pro-life perspective.

“As an adoptee and adoptive parent, I know deeply and personally how adoption unleashes purpose. It is an act of love, hope and justice. It helps restore what was broken. The abortion industry promotes the myth of the ‘unwanted child’ to justify the slaughter of innocent human life — unplanned equals unwanted equals unloved. It’s a lie. And that myth is shattered every day by courageous birth moms and millions of adopted children and their families who prove there is no such thing as unwanted.” Ryan Bomberger, founder of the Radiance Foundation

Since the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative was launched in 2009, state and local councils have helped place some 900 ultrasound machines in qualified pregnancy centers using matching funds from the Knights’ Culture of Life Fund. The Order is well on the way to placing more than 1,000 ultrasound machines by the 10th anniversary of the initiative in 2019. Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson announced this goal at the 135th Supreme Convention in August 2017, estimating that the machines would save 1 million unborn children by encouraging abortion-minded pregnant women to choose life. • JANUARY 2018

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“I am standing here with you today as a wife, a mother, and yes, as an abortion survivor who is a pro-life activist. … If the abortion had succeeded, my husband would be without his wife; our children would never have been born. Abortion doesn’t just end a life; it changes lives for generations.” Melissa Ohden, founder of the Abortion Survivors Network

Patricia Heaton, American actress and model, 2017 OneLife LA speaker

“I stand with you in defense of the voiceless, the preborn, who are our most precious gifts. … We as men must stand up for the lives of the innocent and their mothers in crisis. We must rise up and lead the charge.” Benjamin Watson, Baltimore Ravens tight end; husband and father of five children

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“Fellow college students, this is not someone else’s problem. Indifference is not an option. Ending abortion is our responsibility.” Katrina Gallic, University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Photo by Spirit Juice, Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Photo by Rachel Gallic, Photo by Matthew Barrick

“A woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy also deserves to experience unplanned joy.”

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“To be pro-life is to be pro-woman, and to be pro-woman is to be pro-life. The abortion industry doesn’t want you to believe this truth. … The March for Life has a simple message about pregnant moms and their babies: We love them both! And our message is winning.” – Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly, chair-

TOP: Photo by Tom Serafin — LEFT: Photo courtesy of Hannah Rose Allen — RIGHT: Photo courtesy of Brandi Swindell

man of the Board of the March for Life

“I am a mother of six living children, and I am a grandmother. I am also a post-abortive mother. I join the voices of thousands across America who are Silent No More. If the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is to live, our babies must live. Our mothers must choose life.”

“It’s important to mobilize women who embrace ending the violence of abortion and who stand for human rights and justice for all. The voice of pro-life men, women and families matters and truly makes a difference.” Brandi Swindell, founder and CEO of Stanton Healthcare

Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr. JANUARY 2018

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Life, We Stand on Guard for Thee On Parliament Hill and across the provinces, Canadians stand together in defense of life by Colleen Rouleau

ens of thousands gathered May 11, 2017, for the 20th National March for Life in Ottawa, Ontario — a sea of smiling faces stretching from the Centennial Flame to the Peace Tower at the steps of the Canadian Parliament. Participants at the annual event, which coincided with Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, both celebrated the value of all human life and peacefully protested the country’s radical policies regarding abortion. “We are one of the very few countries in the world, along with China and North Korea, that have no law restricting abortion,” explained Jim Hughes, who is president of Campaign Life Coalition, the political arm of Canada’s pro-life movement. “Many Canadians are unaware of this fact.” On May 14, 1969, the Criminal Law Amendment Act legalized access to abortion at accredited hospitals when approved by a committee of physicians. The Supreme Court of Canada, in its 1988 R v. Morgentaler decision, deemed that provision unconstitutional and nullified all laws regulating abortion. About a decade later, Hughes drew inspiration from the late Nellie Gray, founder of the March for Life in Washington, D.C. “She said to me, ‘Canada should march for life too,’” he recalled. Following discussions with Basilian Father Alphonse de Valk and others, Hughes helped organize the first official national march in 1998. 30 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


Photo by Jake Wright


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TOP: Photo by Jean-Marc Carisse — RIGHT: Photo by Jake Wright

“Christ says, ‘If you receive a little child in my name, you receive me.’ That is why abortion is such a terrible evil, because in refusing the little child we are refusing Christ himself. … If you do not want the child, I want it. Give it to me.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, Ottawa rally, Sept. 17, 1988 The Knights of Columbus has been a significant ally of the event from its infancy, assisting with funding, organization and participation. K of C state deputies and numerous Knights across the country have also helped organize smaller marches in the provincial capitals. “I am very grateful to the Knights of Columbus for their commitment, leadership and support,” said Hughes. Over the past 20 years, the National March for Life has evolved into a three-day event, beginning with a candlelight vigil on Parliament Hill the eve of the march. “Eighty percent of participants are under the age of 30,” Hughes noted. “It is a joyful event.” Today, more than 100,000 abortions are officially reported each year in Canada. But the national march reflects the growing numbers of citizens who are affirming, through word and action, the value of all human life. Hughes recalled Mother Teresa’s words to him when she was a keynote speaker at a 1988 pro-life rally on Parliament Hill: “The beautiful thing about the pro-life movement is that it’s ordinary people doing extraordinary things for God.”♦ COLLEEN ROULEAU writes from Edmonton, Alberta.

Opposite page: Supreme Director Graydon Nicholas of New Brunswick, joined by his wife, Elizabeth, and Ontario state officers, speaks at Parliament Hill prior to the Canadian National March for Life in Ottawa, May 11, 2017. • Ontario State Treasurer Marcel Lemmen (left) takes part in the 2017 National March for Life with his daughter, Grace, and wife, Charlene. Also pictured is District Deputy Randy Hingston of Granottier Council 2092 in Owen Sound, Ontario. JANUARY 2018

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Marches for Life

Go Global Undaunted by challenges, the international pro-life movement grows in strength and solidarity


he March for Life began in the United States, but it’s now a global phenomenon, with marches in countries as diverse as Mexico, Poland, Nigeria, France and Australia, to name just a few. According to Niamh Uí Bhriain of Rally for Life in Dublin, “The March for Life in the U.S. has definitely inspired many people throughout the world to come together and stand up for life.” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education & Defense Fund in Washington, D.C., noted that pro-life leaders from numerous countries have attended Washington’s march. “They go home and, in an enculturated way, build something that’s unique to their local community,” she said. Inspiration and enculturation make each different prolife march unique — from the bagpipers and impromptu Irish dancing in Dublin, to the joyous and peaceful, but comparatively sedate, “LifeFest” in Birmingham, U.K., to the full-on pop concert atmosphere in Lima, Peru. This growing international movement is also notably youthful. 32 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


Paul Forget, a pro-life leader from Belgium, observed, “March for Life in Brussels is organized by young people, really young. The average age of our organizers is 23, like me. We represent a new generation that believes life must be defended.” John Smyth of the Pro-Life Campaign in Ireland agreed. “It is such a youth-driven movement,” he said. “It’s going from strength to strength.” And it’s the same phenomenon everywhere — with the exception of Africa, where the young are indeed pro-life, but so is the older generation. Obianuju Ekeocha is the founder of Culture of Life Africa, which helps organize pro-life marches throughout the continent. “Our groundbreaking marches attract many people: young and old, strong and frail, rich and poor,” she said. “With remarkable African vitality, verve and vigor, they sing, dance and pray, witnessing to the sanctity and dignity of life, motherhood and marriage. Our marches are a powerful testimony of the unanimous pro-life stance in the typical African society.”

Photos courtesy of international pro-life march organizers

by Corinna Turner

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◀ The first Paris “Marche Pour La Vie” took place in 2005, and the 2016 march drew some 50,000 participants. One of the primary partners in the march is the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, which works on behalf of people with genetic intelligence disorders. Since 1975, abortion up to 12 weeks gestation has been legal in France. ► Members of the One of Us Federation, a European association of 25 pro-life organizations, are pictured at the Budapest Forum May 17, 2017. Among numerous initiatives to protect human life in its most vulnerable stages, in 2014, One of Us conducted a petition to protect unborn life by banning embryo-destructive research. Signed by nearly 2 million citizens, it was one of the largest citizens’ petitions in the history of the European Union. As Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Oyo, Nigeria, put it, “In Africa we have a saying: There is always room for one more child!” Nevertheless, while many African countries have laws against abortion, they are coming under immense pressure from Western organizations. “The enemy of life has financial means to achieve a great success in the Western world,” said Virginia Coda Nunziante of March for Life Italy. “Now they are striving to ‘colonize’ Africa in this way. Indeed, we are in a globalized world and this is a global fight.” One of the blessings brought by the spread of the March for Life movement is the feeling of unity and solidarity, both nationally and internationally. “It is one family — a united voice in different countries across the world,” said Ben Thatcher, one of the directors of March for Life U.K. “We can help each other, we can learn from each other and we can achieve more together.” In the United States, to be vocally pro-life is not unusual, but in many countries — even pro-life nations such as Ireland, Poland and Peru — people who believe in the right for life often feel alienated or even threatened. At the 2016 March for the Sanctity of Life in Warsaw, Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warszawa-Praga described attending the march as “an act of bravery.” Carol Maraví, spokesperson for the March for Life in Lima, also described the pressure pro-lifers feel: “We are under attack and need a march to be the face of our prolife movement.” A march shatters the lie that pro-lifers are alone. It also encourages networking and new friendships, sending

participants away buzzing with excitement, new confidence and a heightened commitment to help women and unborn babies. In France, despite an atmosphere of aggressive secularism, a pro-life or pro-family march has taken place in Paris every year since 2005, with the exception of January 2016, when the march was canceled due terrorism. Last year, the march was back and bigger than ever, with more than 50,000 turning out to support life — making it the largest march in continental Europe. Still, the pro-life movement in France is facing unprecedented levels of opposition. In February 2017, the French Parliament approved a bill criminalizing various forms of pro-life witness as “obstruction to abortion,” shocking observers around the world. “The purpose of this law is to punish any information that might dissuade women from having an abortion,” explained Nicolas Sévillia of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, which helps organize the Paris march. “This law is a scandal, since any objective information about the reality of abortion is by nature dissuasive!” Thierry de la Villejégu, executive director of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, asked, “Will all the marchers for life be condemned for illegal interference against abortion?” Regardless, preparations for the Jan. 21, 2018, march are well underway. “This year, the theme will be light — the light of life, in opposition to the darkness of death,” said Sévillia. “To see the light means to be lucky enough to live.”♦ CORINNA TURNER is a Carnegie Medal-nominated British Catholic author. JANUARY 2018

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PHILIPPINES The Walk for Life pro-life marches, spearheaded by the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines, began in Luzon in 2009 and have since spread to Visayas and Mindanao. The 2017 marches in Quezon City, Antipolo City, Iloilo City, Davao City and Bacolod City drew an average of 5,000 participants each. Abortion is illegal in the Philippines; the marches serve to affirm human dignity and promote Catholic teaching. 34 ♌ C O L U M B I A ♌


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MEXICO The Mexico City March for Life began in 2012, and the 2017 event drew some 13,000 people. In 2007, elective abortion up to 12 weeks was legalized in the federal district of Mexico City. The legality of abortion varies in the other states of Mexico.

UKRAINE POLAND Beginning in Warsaw in 2009, marches for life in Poland are now organized in 140 cities. Last year, some 200,000 people participated across the nation to promote teachings on family, love and responsibility and to affirm the value of human life. A 1993 act banned abortion in Poland outside of extraordinary circumstances, replacing Soviet-era legislation broadly allowing abortion.

The second pro-life march affirming the importance of the family took place in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, in 2017. Organized by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations with aid from local Knights, the event drew several thousand participants. The cities of Khmelnytskyi and Ivano-Frankivsk also host marches. JANUARY 2018

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IRELAND The All-Ireland Rally for Life and the National Vigil for Life take place in Dublin in alternating years. Both have focused recently on protecting the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution, which recognizes the right to life of preborn children. The 2017 rally drew some 80,000 participants.

ENGLAND CZECH REPUBLIC The National March for Life and Family takes place annually in Prague. The 2017 march drew more than 5,000 participants and was accompanied by an appeal by the prime minister for the state to offer more support for families, rather than offering abortion. Elective abortion was legalized in 1957, when the former Czechoslovakia was under Soviet control

ITALY The annual Marcia Nazionale per la Vita in Rome protests the 1978 legalization of abortion in Italy. The march draws 15,00020,000 participants. 36 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


March for Life UK first took place in Birmingham in 2012, aiming to revive the pro-life marches and rallies that took place in the United Kingdom in the 1970s and ‘80s. Abortion up to 24 weeks gestation was legalized in the United Kingdom by the Abortion Act of 1967.

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NETHERLANDS The March for Life in the Netherlands first took place in 1992 in Amsterdam. The march was moved to The Hague, the Netherland’s primary seat of government and one of the host cities of the United Nations. The 2017 march drew 15,000 people. Abortion is included the Netherland’s national health coverage

SWITZERLAND Switzerland’s first Marsch fürs Läbe took place in 2009. The annual event, which draws several thousand participants, was banned in 2017, but organizers plan a 2018 march in Bern, the Swiss capital. Elective abortion up to 12 weeks gestation was legalized in Switzerland in 2002.

SPAIN Annual pro-life marches take place across Spain, including in the capital, Madrid. In 2017, some 100,000 people took part nationwide. The marches occur at different times every year, adapting to current political and social events. In Spain, abortion is legal in some circumstances up to 22 weeks gestation.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo by Claudiu Pantea

ROMANIA The first national Romanian march for life (Marșul pentru viață) took place in 2011, and in 2015, the event became the March for Life Romania and the Republic of Moldova. By 2017 the march included 287 cities across the two nations, with 110,000 participants in Romania alone. Abortion was legalized in Romania by the communist regime in 1958, restricted in 1967-1989 and reinstated in 1990. JANUARY 2018

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BELGIUM The March for Life Brussels had its start in 2010 and draws some 4,000 participants. The march affirms human dignity from conception to natural death in the face of national policies that increasingly encourage a materialist view of the person. It is meant to reopen the debate on abortion, as well as on euthanasia, which was legalized in 2002.

GERMANY The first March for Life in Germany took place around 2000. Since taking the name Marsch für das Leben (March for Life) in 2010, the event has grown. The 2017 Berlin march drew some 7,500 people. Abortion is technically unlawful in Germany, but broad exceptions in the law made it widely accessible.

NIGERIA The Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri organized the country’s first pro-life march in June 2013. Led by Archbishop Anthony Obinna, it was devoted to the theme Protecting Human Life from Conception to Natural Death and attracted thousands of participants. In June 2014, 11 bishops led a larger march in Abuja, with similar events multiplying across the country since that time. 38 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 38

UGANDA Regional pro-life marches began in 2010, organized with assistance from Human Life International. The first march in Budaka attracted 2,000 participants, with similar turnout in subsequent marches in Arya, Soroti, Mbale and Tororo. The most recent march in 2016 drew 3,000 participants in Wakiso, near Kampala. Abortion is illegal except for medical reasons, but international population control groups are exerting pressure on the government to loosen restrictions.

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PERU Since 2002, the annual Marcha por la Vida in Lima has been held March 25, the Day of the Unborn Child. The Archdiocese of Lima has organized the march since 2013, each year welcoming more than 100,000 participants. The most recent march in 2016 attracted over 750,000 — the largest event in Peruvian history. The event was canceled in 2017 due to catastrophic flooding. Peru permits abortion in cases where the mother’s life or health is at risk.


PERU: Photo by Carlos Garcia Granthon/Pacific Press/Alamy Live News — SOUTH KOREA: Photo by An Hee-young 

Beginning in 1994, annual marches have been held in Seoul. Other pro-life marches and events take place throughout the year, with the next large event slated for March 8. Abortion is illegal in the Republic of Korea though not uncommon; since 1973, there have also been legal exceptions.



An annual pro-life rally (now March for Life) in Brisbane and the March for the Babies in Melbourne both developed in 2009. Four thousand people took part in the 2017 Brisbane March for Life, coinciding with the vote on an abortion decriminalization bills, which were withdrawn. In Australia, abortion laws are determined by state governments.

The first March for Life in Tokyo took place in 2014. Initially spearheaded by a single individual, the Tokyo March is growing in a country largely unaware of the pro-life movement, and in 2017 the march drew 150 people. Laws enacted in 1948 and 1949 legalized abortion in Japan. JANUARY 2018

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Knights of charity Every day, Knights all over the world are given opportunities to make a difference — whether through community service, raising money or prayer. We celebrate each and every Knight for his strength, his compassion and his dedication to building a better world.

Members of St. Anthony Claret Council 10090 in San Antonio stand with staff of the Gabriel Project of San Antonio, a pro-life outreach ministry that supports pregnant women and young families. After buildings on the grounds of St. Anthony Claret Catholic Church, one of which housed the ministry’s supplies, were destroyed by arson, Council 10090 held a diaper drive to help replace the resources that were lost. More than 5,000 diapers were collected.



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FATHER JOHN PAUL LEWIS Archdiocese of Oklahoma City Father Al Waleczek Council 8204

Photo by McNeese Stills + Motion

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a priest. The Lord blessed me with tremendous examples of priestly love and service throughout my life. When I was 13, God showed his love for me in a powerful way. I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma and was confronted with the idea that I might die soon. Having no control over the situation, I turned to the Lord, telling him, “You’re going to have to take care of me.” After surgery, when the doctors told me I was going to be OK, it was as if Christ were saying, “I am giving you your life back. Now I want you to give it to me.” From that moment, I knew that the Lord wanted me to be a priest, and I have found nothing but joy in serving him ever since.

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