Mark Gallagher’s Enduring Legacy

Editor’s note. This tribute to Mr. Gallagher was written by pro-life champion Chris Smith (R-NJ) and appeared in the Congressional Record June 6, 2017.

Mark Gallagher

Mark Gallagher

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the Gallagher family will lay to rest a beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather and great grandfather—Mark Gallagher.

I worked with Mark for many years in his capacity as the key U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops lobbyist for the poor and unborn. Mark was a quiet but extraordinarily powerful force. While the full reach of his impactful life can only be known to God, those of us who were blessed to know him witnessed the many ways his persevering work made a positive difference for the lives of the weakest and most vulnerable.

First hired by the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment in 1974, Mark formally took up the cause just one year after Roe v. Wade stripped the unborn child of all legal protection. He eventually represented the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as their lead lobbyist until his retirement in 2007. Over the course of those three decades, Mark played an integral role in every pro-life effort in Congress.

He educated an entire generation of lawmakers on the arguments for protecting the unborn, at a time when few others could be found on Capitol Hill with this expertise.

Mark’s skillfulness and serene demeanor was critical to the enactment of and defense of the Hyde amendment—the landmark amendment preventing federal funding of abortion that has saved the lives of at least two million people. Two million people who have been aborted instead survived because public funds were unavailable to effectuate their violent demise.

Mark was as concerned about the plight of women facing an unplanned pregnancy as he was about their unborn children. A former worker for U.S. anti-poverty programs like Catholic Charities, he was happy to take part in efforts to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Refundable Child Tax Credit.

A brilliant strategist for the causes he served, Mark was always selfless and self-effacing. Thanks to Mark’s mastery of intricate details of the rules of Congress, all the legislative recommendations of the Meese Report, i.e. the Attorney General’s commission to combat pornography, were enacted into law.

Beyond living out a Christ-like care for the vulnerable in the political realm, Mark also labored for souls, becoming a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church in 1996. Someday soon, America will protect the weakest and most vulnerable. And into eternity Mark Gallagher played a critical part in this all-important human rights struggle. We are grateful for the gift of his life and pray for his family in their time of grief.