By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
One thing that might surprise the editors of many women’s magazines is to what extent the pro-life movement is a movement of mothers.
This is not to negate the incredible contributions of pro-life heroes of the male persuasion, such as former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum…the late Congressman Henry Hyde…or current U.S. Congressman Chris Smith. Each of those men, through both legislation and language, has had a profound impact on the success of the pro-life cause at the national level.
And I do not mean to overlook the persuasive power of both men and women who are not parents but nonetheless are amazingly life-affirming…from the Sisters of Life to Lila Rose and Carol Tobias…and from Priests for Life to Pope Francis.
But I have yet to see a secular news report that credits mothers with spearheading many of the initiatives that save vulnerable lives, from the miraculous moment of conception to the tear-stained time of natural death.
Some of the mothers of the pro-life movement find time to devote to the cause of life amid the many demands of raising large families. Others balance pro-life work with family responsibilities and professional lives as attorneys, doctors, nurses, and business owners.
Some female leaders of the pro-life movement formed or grew their families through adoption. Some grieve children lost to accidents, illness, or miscarriage.
And there are some pro-life women today who lost their children to the tragedy of abortion. Most of them were pressured to have abortions they did not want. Others experienced a profound change of heart and mind about abortion after they began to grieve the children whose lives were taken at Planned Parenthood or another abortion facility.
Thus, when magazines that cater to a female clientele limit the definition of women’s rights activists to those who support legal abortion, they are missing much of the story. Because so many women across the country believe passionately in protecting the life of the woman within the womb…and sparing women from the heartache of abortion.
When I was a little girl, my mother took a lunch break each day to watch a soap opera called “All My Children.” Not actually knowing what the show was about, I envisioned that it revolved around one woman’s descendants–and that every main character was one of the woman’s children.
To those women who sacrifice their time to the pro-life movement, every child in danger of abortion is as precious to them as the children bonded to them by blood or adoption. These babies are, in spirit, all their children.
The mothers who march each January…who volunteer at pregnancy centers where all the services are free…who lead local chapters of National Right to Life…who devote their time and talent to serving as webmasters and legislative advocates…who serve in public office standing firmly on a right-to-life platform…power the pro-life movement.
The pro-life movement has always been, and will always be, deeply indebted to mothers. It is a movement born of a mother’s heart, to save those just a heartbeat away from premature death.