By TIM PINKHAM
MONTGOMERY—Pro-lifers need to win over abortion supporters
with love, said Father Frank Pavone, who spoke Tuesday night at the annual
Daviess County Right-to-Life banquet.
About 270 people attended the dinner, which was held at the
Pavone, 36, has been national director for Priests for Life
since September 1993. He said he has an outreach to 30,000 priests, plus 10,000
lay people from various denominations.
"Don't confuse the evil with the persons doing it," said
Pavone, about those who run abortion clinics. "They're not our enemy, they're
our brothers and sisters. It's because we love them we want to rescue them from
the evil they are in."
Pavone, who has his headquarters in Port Chester, N.Y., said
he came with a message of hope and encouragement. "I believe sooner than any of
us believe we will be gathered together like this to celebrate victory."
The reason for his optimism, Pavone said, was the verdict was coming in on
whether or not a nation can live with abortion on demand. He said the abortion
industry mentality was collapsing under its own weight.
Pavone gave three reasons to support his belief the tide is
beginning to turn against abortion.
First, with 4,400 abortions performed each day in America, he
said thousands of women who have had them have come to regret their actions. He
said data is being collected from women to show how it has ruined their lives.
Support groups have been formed for those who have had abortions.
"You can't keep talking about women's rights and not talk
about what is destroying them," said Pavone.
Second, all promises by abortion engineers have crumbled.
Pavone said women's health has not been served by legalized abortion. He said an
investigation is warranted into why the rate of illness has increased among
women for several diseases since abortion was legalized nationwide in 1973.
Third, many of those who used to perform and support abortion
are now pro-life. Pavone said the Society of Centurions has been formed, which
is an organization of former abortionists. He said Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a
former abortionist who became strongly pro-life while remaining an atheist, is
now preparing to be baptized into the Catholic Church.
Pavone also told the audience three ways they can have an
impact locally and on a state-wide basis.
First, he said pro-lifers need to build relationships with
those in the abortion industry. He said these people know they are helping
destroy babies, but because their lives have been so trampled upon they are
willing to trample others.
"You need to show them their life is sacred, as all life is
sacred," said Pavone. "The power of love will bring them out."
Second, establish good relations with the media and challenge them to relate
the facts, he said. Pavone said abortion is the most common surgical procedure
in America, but the media never shows it on television. However, other
surgeries are commonly shown.
Pavone said legislators should also be exposed to information
about the dangers of abortion for women. He urged his audience to keep after
reluctant legislators and not let up.
"How can a public servant turn the other way when part of the
public is being destroyed?," asked Pavone.
Third, the American public is mostly conflicted over
abortion, said Pavone. They have gotten the message from both sides, but he said
they can't hold to both positions forever. They can't believe abortion is wrong
because it takes a life, yet also believe sometimes it'sbe pro-woman. It's not we who love
babies versus those who love women. It's babies and women versus an exploitative
Pavone said pro-life citizens have a moral obligation to get
involved in the political process and vote. He also encouraged ministers of all
denominations to speak out on abortion.
The priest also said pro-lifers need to be careful with the
language they use. He said a pregnant woman is not "going to be a mother," she
already is a mother. She is not "expecting" a baby nor does she "have one on the
way," but the child is already here.
Two special guests spoke briefly at the dinner.
George Witwer, publisher of the Bluffton newspaper, is a
Republican candidate for governor in 1996. He said it was God's will for
pro-life forces to win.
Beth Hostettler is the wife of U.S. Rep. John Hostettler
(A-Eighth District). She said they both believe life is protected by the Fifth
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Priests for Life in the News