Annual prayer service for the unborn will serve as rallying cry for life and freedom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Clergy members from dozens of denominations will gather here on Wednesday, Jan. 22, to demand an immediate end to the government assault on the unborn, their mothers and fathers, and on religious freedom.
“We are issuing a call for life and the religious freedom to defend it,” said Father Frank Pavone, President of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, which, along with other groups, will host the 20th annual National Memorial for the Pre-Born and Their Mothers and Fathers from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at DAR Constitution Hall.
“For decades, we have been protesting the government’s removal of protection for the unborn. That is why we hold this prayer service in the nation’s capital,” said Father Pavone. “And it is not surprising that a government willing to deny life will also be eventually willing to deny freedom. In the midst of this seat of government power, we will stand up in unity and affirm both life and freedom.”
Priests for Life, of which Father Pavone is also National Director, filed the fourth of more than 80 lawsuits against the “HHS mandate” that says employers must provide free contraception, abortifacient drugs and sterilization services to their employees. After a D.C. court ruled against Priests for Life, an emergency injunction was granted on New Year’s Eve that will protect Priests for Life from the mandate while the case is on appeal.
The National Memorial for the Pre-Born, held annually on the morning of the March for Life, brings together clergy and their congregations from across denominational lines. The event is the nation’s principal prayer service on the occasion of the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout pregnancy and throughout the 50 states.
“For many years we have been crying out for justice for the babies in the womb and for their mothers who are harmed by abortion,” said Dr. Alveda King, full-time director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, a niece of Martin Luther King Jr. and a plaintiff in the ministry’s lawsuit. “To force us to participate in a mandate that is totally opposed to everything we believe in would be very egregious to me.”
Among the co-sponsors of the event are Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, and Gary Bauer of American Values. Among the clergy leading prayers will be Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a leader of the nationwide Hispanic evangelical movement.”
The National Memorial is free and open to the public. Large groups can easily be accommodated. Catholics have the option of attending Mass at 7:30 a.m. in the same venue, located at 1776 D St, at 18th Street NW. For information, go to NationalPrayerService.com.
Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.