The Rev. Frank Pavone said young people should be insulted by Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Pavone, national director of Priests for Life of Staten Island, N.Y., spoke at the Respect Life Banquet 2001 on Sunday at the Amarillo Civic Center.
The banquet is the major fundraising effort for the Diocese of Amarillo Respect Life Ministries, which provides services as crisis pregnancy support, chastity education and Rachel's Vineyard, a spiritual retreat for women who have had abortions.
Pavone asked people who were born from 1973 forward to stand up. After they stood, he said he thought they would continue to be "effective witnesses for life."
"Roe v. Wade is an insult directly to you - it's a personal insult," Pavone said. "Because Roe v. Wade says of you that you were not a person when you were in your mother's womb.
Under the law, he said, they were not recognized as individual persons when they were in the mothers' wombs.
"So when you stand up for the unborn, you're standing up in a special way for yourself," he said. "And you're saying, 'I'm a person today, I was a person when I was born, and I was a person before that, as well.' You have a particular message to give for Roe v. Wade in the pro-life movement today."
Pavone is the recipient of the 2001 Proudly Pro-Life award to be awarded by the National Right to Life Committee in April. This award is shared by former honorees such as Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II and former President Ronald Reagan.
Pavone, who has preached against abortion throughout the world, said a lack of respect of life can explain why school shootings have occurred in the country in the last few years.
"When we have tragedies in the United States of America, where students are shooting students all over the country, people get up and they begin to wonder why," he said. "They begin to raise all these questions, all of these complicated mysteries - why are our students killing one another? The answer is, my dear friends: we have taught them to do so. Roe v. Wade has taught them to do so. Children will not stop killing children until parents stop killing children."
Pavone said people who believe in "pro-life" movement need to continue in their "pro-life" work and to be more courageous about their views -- and make them known to those who disagree.
"They will say to us, 'Look, you live your life, you let her live hers,'" he said. "And what we stand up and say is, 'Don't tell us that that (unborn child) is none of our business, because that child is not just her (the mother's) child, that child is my brother, my sister. I am responsible for that life that does not just belong to someone else.'"