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PRIESTS FOR LIFE EXTEND HELPING HAND

(Report on the assistance pro-life leaders gave in the Now vs. Scheidler case, which dealt with the rights of protestors in front of abortion facilities.)

Pro-Life Action News June 99

Priests for Life have been partners with the Pro-Life Action League in helping to turn back the ignominy of abortion in the United States. In a bold show of solidarity, national director Father Pavone loaned Jerry Horn, the Priests for Life's senior vice president in charge of media and public relations, to the League for the trial last spring. Horn told Action News, "Ann and Joe Scheidler told me that the trial was beginning and they were wondering whether Father Frank would mind lending me out for media relations and witness coordination. Father Frank, who has been extremely interested in the trial, said, 'Absolutely, do whatever you need to do.'" Jerry has actually had a long history with the League and the Scheidlers. In 1990 he began a tour as its Assistant Director for Community Affairs. His pro-life effort extends back 16 years to when he and Norm Stone protested at an abortion clinic in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Among his many other accomplishments have been organizing the Walk America for Life and fund raising for the LIGHThouse, a large maternity home in Kansas City, Mo.

He has become a fixture in the pro-life community.

Joe Scheidler said of his friend, "He is feared by the abortionists, but all of us here at the Pro-Life Action League, along with pro-lifers throughout the nation, find Jerry to be a warm, kind-hearted person who truly cares about people. He even loves the abortionists."

Horn, who now lives n Fredericksburg, Va., moved out to Chicago for several weeks to handle logistics and media relations. "It was," he said, "one of the most exciting times in the pro-life movement since 1983. It was the culmination of so many things that we had all been about -- the media, interest and the opportunity to tell our story.

"Enhancing the excitement was the fact that it was almost like a reunion. Pro-life leaders, the pioneers from the 1960s and 1970s, were gathered together. It was such an honor and blessing to invite them out and participate in a news conference with them," he added.

Among those testifying were Dr. Jack Willke a past president of the National Right to Life Committee and now president of Life Issues Institute, Inc.; John Cavanaugh -O'Keefe, a pro-life legend and father of the Rescue movement; O'Keefe's sister, astrophysicist Lucy O'Keefe Hancock, founder of the ProLife Nonviolent Action Project; long-time pro-life warrior Christy Ann Collins Dickson; and former abortion nurse and now pro-life activist Joan Appleton.

Also, Sandra Cano "Doe" of the 1973 Doe v. Bolton case; Congressman Henry Hyde, perhaps the most important prolife leader in the U.S. House of Representatives; Wendy Wright, a friend of the League and one-time aide to Randall Terry; and Horn himself.

Horn said the most emotional moment of the trial came when Dickson and Appleton met face-to-face for the first time since the latter's conversion to the pro-life cause. Dickson had been a frequent protester at the Commonwealth Women's Clinic in Falls Church, Va., where Appleton was the head nurse in the 1980s. Appleton was responsible for arresting her 57 times.

Horn believes Appleton's conversion was the result of Dickson's prayers for her. The meeting of the two women as allies rather than adversaries was dramatic. And that rebirth, Horn says, is what the abortion movement is all about. Appleton is now head of the Society of Centurions, which helps former abortion providers heal their pasts.

The assistance provided by the Priests for Life in loaning Jerry Horn to the League is only one small example of the many fine works the Staten Island, N.Y. based organization has done since its inception in 1991. Father Pavone has been the national director for the past six years.

Father Pavone has written, "The purpose of the Priests for Life is not to add another structure or organization to the pro-life effort. Its purpose, instead, is to infuse a structure that already exists, the Church, with the vigor, enthusiasm, and the very best resources to carry out its mission of defending life."

It accomplishes this mission by providing programs which help priests to network among themselves, encourages them to be bold in their defense of life and seeks to integrate the clergy into the mainstream of the pro-life movement.

Plaudits for the Priests for Life have come from every corner of the world. One of those supporters was the late Mother Teresa, who wrote in 1995, "I hope that many Priests and deacons will join the 'Priests for Life.'"

"This association," she noted, "needs many members to educate and encourage all the priests and deacons who must all work together to stop the terrible war against unborn children."

For more information on the Priests for Life, contact them at P.O. Box 141172, Staten Island, N.Y. 10314; telephones: (888) PFL-3448 and (718) 980-4400, fax: (718) 980-6515; e-mail: pfl@priestsforlife.org; and the website is located www.priestsforlife.org.

Priests for Life in the News

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