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TELEGRAM & GAZETTE

Worcester, MA

March 10, 2001

Life Action League to hold first dinner

By Kathleen A. Shaw

WORCESTER - The Rev. Frank Pavone, who heads the national Priests for Life organization, will be main speaker at the first Life Action League of Massachusetts dinner to be held at 6 tonight in First Assembly of God Church, off Lincoln Street.

Rev. Pavone also will deliver the homily during the 10:30 a.m. Mass tomorrow in St. Paul's Cathedral, High and Chatham streets.

The Life Action League is a new statewide group that intends to be active in anti-abortion issues and to consistently support pro-family values within the law, according to Laurie A. Letourneau of Shrewsbury. Ms. Letourneau said she will "definitely not be politically correct" and will speak her mind on issues.

Ms. Letourneau, who headed the Central Massachusetts chapter of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, said she still intends to work with that group, but said another organization was needed to perform other types of advocacy. Massachusetts Citizens for Life deals only with the abortion issue, she said. Many people in this area believed it was time to branch off and address other issues besides abortion, she said.

Ms. Letourneau said the new organization will support Problem Pregnancy, an organization that provides services to pregnant women to enable them to carry their children to term, rather than seek abortions. It is next to the Planned Parenthood clinic on Lincoln Street.

Ms. Letourneau, who volunteers at Problem Pregnancy as a counselor, said it had what she called "three saves" Thursday night, meaning three women who decided not to seek abortions.

The Life Action League wants to offer a program for teen-agers in the fall to discuss how premarital sex can lead not only to unplanned pregnancies, but also to sexually transmitted diseases, Ms. Letourneau said.

"The ignorance of teen-agers about these matters is appalling," she said.

She and other area activists decided to create the Life Action League to work on family-related issues with other groups such as the Christian Coalition and Massachusetts Family Institute.

Besides anti-abortion support, the group will work to defend marriage and against the legalization of homosexual unions, she said.

More than 400 people of different religious denominations are expected to attend tonight's dinner. "We aren't canceling because of the snow," she said.

"Many people think of the abortion issue as being a Catholic issue, but it isn't. It crosses all religious lines," Ms. Letourneau said.

She said she just finished compiling a computerized database of supporters that has several thousand names. "We intend to be effective in our efforts," she said.

Rev. Pavone has headed Priests for Life since 1993. At the request of the Vatican, he served as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which oversees and coordinates anti-abortion activities throughout the world. His television series, "Defending Life," is shown on the EWTN Network.

Ms. Letourneau said Life Action League is honored to have Rev. Pavone as a speaker for the group's first dinner.

"He is truly at the forefront of the pro-life movement in America, and his message of peaceful, productive activism will serve to inspire us as we strive to cultivate a culture of life," she said.

The Life Action League is incorporated as a 501C3 nonprofit organization, so it will have to be careful about political activity, she said.

Ms. Letourneau said she helped form the Life-Guard Political Action Committee last year to give money to political candidates who oppose abortion and support other views of that political action committee's supporters.

"We helped a number of candidates," she said, including state Rep. Mark J. Carron, D-Southbridge, and such pro-life legislators as state Reps. John P. Fresolo, D-Worcester, and John J. Binienda Sr., D-Worcester.

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org