Throughout 2023, we are pleased to introduce to you Indiana pro-life leaders under 40 who are making a big impact in our state. We hope you are encouraged by this new wave of leaders passionate about protecting life!
Antonio Marchi was a high school student, working a part-time job at a local pizza joint when his pro-life values came into full focus. Working alongside Antonio was a pregnant mom. She and her husband already had a few children at home, and they were excited to welcome another baby into their family.
But when they learned that their unborn baby had anencephaly, their outlook dimmed.
Anencephaly is a neural tube defect in which the baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. Babies who are born with anencephaly usually live a few hours to days before dying. The diagnosis is often cited among conditions for which abortion should be legal.
Antonio’s co-worker and her husband were heartbroken by the news. But Antonio watched as the mother bravely and lovingly continued her pregnancy.
“Watching my coworker grapple with her little one’s adverse diagnosis was heartbreaking,” Antonio said. “I felt a little glimpse into her pain each time one of the restaurant’s guests asked her a friendly question about when she was due. The way she affirmed the value of her little guy’s life amidst the challenges they faced became a powerful witness to me and countless others.”
She eventually gave birth, and she and her husband had the opportunity to hold and love their baby before the child passed away.
Antonio’s witness to the love of that mother and father was a watershed moment in his life. Across the years, Antonio would hold onto their example of selfless love as one of the underpinnings for his pro-life convictions.
Today, Antonio serves as the executive director of Right to Life Michiana, where he advocates for the lives of unborn children and connects mothers in need to helpful resources.
He has been involved with Right to Life Michiana as a member of its staff and board since graduating from the University of Notre Dame about eight years ago. But it was last summer that he was asked to take on the position of executive director for the organization.
His first day in the role was June 24, 2022—the day the Supreme Court released its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Whole Women’s Health Organization, thereby overturning Roe v. Wade.
Since that day, Antonio says the organization has been re-strategizing for the future. While assisting abortion-vulnerable women has been a longtime priority for the organization, he says Right to Life of Michiana is taking that priority to another level this year. Very soon, the group is expected to launch a mobile unit for, HerMichiana, an initiative that connects women to more than 200 resources.
Antonio says the Right to Life Michiana team regularly receives calls from expectant women in difficult situations. For a long time, the hope has been to walk alongside such women more directly. The group’s future mobile unit will allow it to do just that.
“By expanding the HerMichiana project, we hope to increase the level of personal care we share with women and to empower the community with the vast network of resources available here,” he said. “As the landscape changes post-Roe, where the threats go, the HerMichiana mobile unit will follow and meet abortion-vulnerable women with loving alternatives.”
As exciting as this development is, Antonio says this is just one of many projects Right to Life Michiana has in the works. The organization has a strong focus on public education, training pro-life advocates, and keeping tabs on developments across all pro-life issues, including physician assisted suicide.
But even as Right to Life Michiana grows and re-strategizes, Antonio sees a continuity in the work the organization began a half century ago.
“I have profound respect for the history of this organization,” he said. “Over 50 years ago, eleven people gathered around a kitchen table. They saw the looming threat of abortion prior to Roe v. Wade, and they cared enough to do something about it. Now that Roe v. Wade is overturned, the challenges have shifted, but our determination has not. In many ways, I feel that we are joining our predecessors back around the table to strategize, double down, and make the hard sacrifices it takes to fight for our most precious gift.”
Notes: This is part of a series on Indiana’s up-and-coming pro-life leaders. Stay tuned for more stories about young leaders who are paving the way for a pro-life future.
For help with a fatal prenatal diagnosis, such as anencephaly, please visit perinatalhospice.org.