By Carol Tobias, President, National Right to Life
Each year, pro-lifers in Oklahoma celebrate Rose Day at the state capitol. Participants enjoy music, usually from a school group, hear one or more speakers, and are encouraged to bring roses for their legislators. Wednesday, on the 23rd annual Rose Day, NRLC’s Vice President, Tony Lauinger, was honored for his pro-life work in Oklahoma.
Tony and his wife, Phyllis, are the proud parents of eight children and 14 grandchildren. They founded Tulsans for Life in 1973; Tony has been president of Oklahoman’s for Life since 1978.
In a recent World Magazine article, Tony related how he felt when, just months after his first child was born, the Supreme Court handed down its Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand. He stated, “It felt like I had been hit in the face by a 4×4.”
Year after year, Tony went to the state capitol to promote pro-life legislation, knowing it would be slapped down by pro-abortion legislators. Convinced that the legislators were not representing the views of their constituents, Tony kept the pro-life flag visible, reminding lawmakers about the unborn babies dying from abortion. Now, Oklahoma is one of the leading states for passing pro-life legislation, against both abortion and euthanasia.
Thanks to some skillful maneuvering by Kevin Calvey, NRLC’s Alternate Director from Oklahoma, NRLC Executive Director David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., and I were able to surprise Tony by attending the event. We had the opportunity to meet many of Oklahoma’s pro-life legislators, as well as Governor Mary Fallin, Lt. Gov Todd Lamb, and Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
Their words of praise for Tony were pleasant to hear, but not surprising. House Majority Floor Leader Pam Peterson told us that even if legislators disagree with Tony on the pro-life legislation he is promoting, “they do not doubt his integrity or his honesty.”
In presenting the commendation to Tony, Gov. Fallin stated that when she first ran for office in 1990, she was told there were two people in the state she had to meet– Dr. Anthony Jordan (a leader in the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma) and Tony Lauinger of Oklahomans for Life.
“Carol and I met person after person who not only praised Tony for all that he has accomplished, but also for how Tony has accomplished it and the kind of person his is,” Dr. O’Steen said. “We heard the words integrity, honesty, determination, kindness, and love used to describe Tony over and over again. The evident admiration and respect felt for Tony by those who have worked so closely with him in Oklahoma was very heartwarming to see.”
Dr. O’Steen concluded, “Unborn children are blessed to have such a Christian gentleman as Tony as their Ambassador and both Carol and I are certainly blessed that Tony is a part of our lives.”
Tony has served on the NRLC Board of Directors for 35 years and has been NRLC vice-president for 18 years. We thank the Rose Day committee for recognizing the invaluable contribution that Tony has made to the pro-life movement, in Oklahoma and nationwide.