By Chelsea Shields, Legislative/PAC Director, Wisconsin Right to Life
Last weekend was Wisconsin Right to Life’s State Conference, an annual gathering of hundreds of pro-life activists from around the state for right-to-life training and fun. Attendees had the chance to catch up with pro-life friends while hearing from a slate of compelling speakers like Burke Balch and Mary Spaulding Balch from National Right to Life, to Matt Bowman from the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Our Teens Essay Contest winner, Braeden Adamson, shared the compelling story of his parents’ fight to protect the right to life of his sister Leila, who was born with Trisomy 18. They stood up for her right to life both when they were pressured to abort Leila, and when they were pressured by their hospital to deny her lifesaving care. Their fight for his sister, who is now four years old, has inspired Braeden to pursue a career in the medical field, where he will clearly be an excellent addition!
If the conference itself wasn’t enough of a life-changing experience, the chance encounter of our keynote speaker certainly was.
Dave Sterrett, the founder of Disruptive Truth ministries and the author We Choose Life, was at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell airport preparing to fly back home. He had shared at our State Conference how important it was to share the truth about abortion with love – and little did he know that his message will be put to the test.
Because while he was at the airport, he realized that on his flight was none other than Planned Parenthood’s President and CEO, Cecile Richards. Dave described the encounter in a Facebook post, writing:
”Today, as I was packing for my flight back to Dallas, I sensed I needed to carry a copy of one of my Christian books…Well, I saw the lady sitting near me. I just met Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood. I walked up to her, introduced myself and told her that I was pro-life. On this morning of Divine Mercy, I tried to be kind. I gave her a copy of my book…I told Cecile that the book has stories from my friends like Jewels and Ramona who left the [abortion] industry. Cecile asked, Why do you call us an industry?” I said, “You perform 300,000 abortions every year.” She said, “We provide safe healthcare for women.” I said, “Cecile, there is nothing safe about taking a Sopher clamp in a D&E (dismemberment abortion) and crushing down on…” That’s when she interrupted…Will you pray today that God will have mercy on her and change her like he did with Dr. Bernard Nathanson?”
Dave’s encounter with Cecile Richards was certainly a huge inspiration to all of us at Wisconsin Right to Life! We know that Dr. Bernard Nathanson was an abortionist in the 1970’s and was a pioneer of the pro-abortion movement, who later learned the truth of life and became one of America’s greatest pro-life advocates. We firmly believe that the same type of conversion could happen to Cecile Richards, or any other pro-abortion leader for that matter.
Should Richards become one of the many people who’ve left the abortion industry to stand for life, we would welcome her with open arms. We would welcome anyone victimized by the abortion industry who comes to understand the truth of life.
After our conference, Wisconsin Right to Life supporters and activists truly felt changed, and ready to spread the truth of life in love. It may be challenging, but we won’t ever be afraid to speak out on behalf of life. We know that this is how we will win hearts and minds to favor life!