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National Pro-Life Religious Council




CONTACT: Jessica Atteberry, for America 21, Tel. (615) 331-3203,

WASHINGTON, D.C. - January 19, 2003 - America 21 and the National Pro-Life Religious Council join forces this week asking pastors and religious leaders of America to minister, during Sanctity of Human Life Week, to members of their congregations who have suffered the abortion experience.

"Our first duty is to call people to repentance," said Father Frank Pavone, president of National Pro-Life Religious Council. "In doing so, we likewise heal the wounds that abortion inflicts on mothers, fathers, surviving siblings, and the entire family. Abortion springs from despair and can lead to despair. The Gospel we preach is one of hope, that leads to life."

The National Pro-Life Religious Council will forward the America 21 Sanctity of Human Life Week Action Alert to their membership of pastors and ministry leaders throughout the country and into virtually every major religious organization. The action alert points to the 30 year mark since Roe v. Wade, the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States legalizing abortion in America, to be a catalyst to bring these leaders to action.

"Sanctity of Human Life Week presents a special opportunity for pastors to minister to all women and men who have been profoundly hurt by their abortion experience," said Jennifer O’Neill, actress, former Cover Girl Model and a woman coerced into abortion. "I know some pastors might be reluctant to take a public stand in revealing the ravages of secret shames and lies for fear of opening old wounds, but let me assure you, as someone forgiven by God’s incredible mercy, the blessings outweigh any such concerns."

According to America 21 President J. Thomas Smith, research confirms that as many as one third of a church’s entire congregation has been impacted by abortion. In addition, Smith added, 43 percent of women 45 and under have had at least one abortion (Alan Guttmacher Institute).

America 21 is set to launch the Action Alert email with a special video-taped message from Jennifer O’Neill carrying a charge to pastors to become involved with the message of healing and restoration during Sanctity of Human Life week. O’Neill also shares her personal story of loss, guilt and the restoration she later experienced. O’Neill will also be involved in events surrounding this special week in Washington, D.C., including the Ninth Annual Memorial for the Preborn sponsored by the National Pro-Life Religious Council to be held on Jan. 22 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the U. S. Senate Dirksen Office Building, ground floor, room G-50 (Senate Auditorium) at Constitution Ave. and First St., N.E., on Capitol Hill, and a special women’s gathering of The Silent No More Campaign, for which she is the national spokeswoman, on the Supreme Court steps that evening from 5-8 p.m. where O’Neill will give the personal story of her abortion experience.

"America 21 exists to inform, educate and activate pastors nationwide on issues of public policy that impact the church," said Smith. "The statistics so strongly point to the fact that an overwhelming number of our church goers have been or are currently affected by the pain of abortion, that to remain silent would be to neglect our own congregations. This is not a sin that resides outside of the church and we hope pastors and ministry leaders will offer hope and healing on this solemn observance."

America 21 is a 501©(4) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to inform, educate, and activate Christian conservatives and mobilize them to influence national policy. With offices in Nashville and Alexandria, Va., America 21 was founded in 1989 by a multi-denominational group of pastors and business people dedicated to being a catalyst for revival and reform.

The National Pro Life Religious Council is a Christian coalition which acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and is called to affirm and witness to the Biblical standard of the value, dignity, and sanctity of human life. NPRC member groups include: Alpha Omega Life (Orthodox), CEC For Life (International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church), Conservative Congregational Christian Conference Lifewatch (Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality), Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, Lutherans for Life International, National Clergy Council/Faith and Action, National Organization of Episcopalians for Life (NOEL)*, National Right to Life Committee, Inc., Presbyterians Pro-Life, Priests for Life, United Church of Christ Friends for Life.

Jennifer O’Neill is an internationally acclaimed actress, film and television star, successful spokeswoman, composer, author, artist, speaker, proud mother of three, and grandmother of four. Her entertainment industry career boasts 28 feature films, including the classic, Summer of ‘42, and a 30-year position as spokeswoman for Cover Girl Cosmetics. Additional biographical information:

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For more information and/or interview availability with America 21 president J. Thomas Smith, contact Jessica Atteberry Public Relations,, (615) 331-3203, or on-site Wednesday at (615) 969-5586.

*NOEL was renamed Anglicans for Life in March 2007

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