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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 8, Number 6
Nov. - Dec. 1998


We Are Winning the Pro-Life Battle

More Tools for Victory

Access: The Key to Pro-Life Victory

Fr. Frank Pavone Confirms Former 'Jane Roe' of Roe vs. Wade

Abortionists Leaving the Abortion Industry: A Psychiatrist's View

Victories in Communication

Positive Signs

A Spirit of Confidence and Joy


Sacrament of Confirmation
IN THIS ISSUE (shown above):
Fr. Pavone confirms Norma McCorvey,
former 'Jane Roe' of Roe vs. Wade


We Are Winning the Pro-life Battle

The theme of this issue is We are Winning the Pro-life Battle. All around us are measurable signs of victory for the pro-life cause: measurable, but often easy to miss. Here we uncover just a few of them for you, with the hope that you will investigate them further and that you will redouble your efforts to keep doing whatever pro-life work you have been doing, knowing that it is bearing fruit.

More Tools for Victory

Priests for Life is pleased to collaborate with the Culture of Life Foundation. As one of the newest efforts in the pro-life movement, "the mission of the Culture of Life Foundation is to provide the leadership, factual research and financial resources to promote a universal commitment to protect and nurture all human life from conception until natural death" Mission statement). The Life Research and Communications Institute is a project of Culture of Life. "Our research," the institute says of itself, "will cover many disciplines: medicine, biology, law, theology, sociology, and economics. We seek to communicate the best material from each of these disciplines in understandable form." Visit their website at

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Access: The Key to Pro-life Victory

Kate Michelman, Director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, recently said, "Abortion opponents will achieve their goal without ever having to overturn Roe vs. Wade" (Dallas Morning News, October 4, 1997). She was commenting on the abortion industry's greatest problem, the shortage of abortion providers. On ABC World News Tonight on January 16, 1998, abortionist Ed Boaz said, "We've seen a turn-off of physicians coming into this field."

A collection of hundreds of such quotes has been compiled and is now available free to you by calling 1-800-401-6494. Simply ask for Access.

Yet Access is not only a collection of quotes. Mark Crutcher analyzes what it means for the abortion industry and the pro-life movement. Ironically, the abortion industry is withering up because of choice: the free choice of doctors not to offer the procedure. Furthermore, the lack of availability of abortion does not drive women to illegal procedures; rather, it reduces the abortion rate, thus showing that the decision to buy an abortion is relatively marginal, that is, more driven by want than need. Fewer abortions, in turn, means less money pumped into the pro-choice effort, since we know that abortion providers send much of this money to their political friends. Finally, this trend combined with an aggressive effort on our part to bring abortion malpractice lawsuits before the courts can literally close down the abortion industry in a very short time. Read your copy of Access, and future issues of this newsletter, for more details.

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Fr. Frank Pavone Confirms
former "Jane Roe" of Roe vs. Wade

Monday, August 17, 1998 was another day of victory for the pro-life movement as Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" plaintiff of the Roe vs. Wade decision, made her profession of faith in the Catholic Church and received her Confirmation from Fr. Frank Pavone and her First Holy Communion from Fr. Ed Robinson, OP, in Dallas, Texas.

In a post-Communion reflection, Fr. Frank told Norma that because, as Vatican II states, the Lord by His Incarnation united, in some fashion, every human being to Himself, this includes every pre-born baby. "In giving you His Body, therefore, he has given back to you all the babies who were aborted because of what you did," he said to Norma in a moment filled with emotion. "He has restored to you all the children over whom you have wept. He has reconciled them to you, and given you peace."

In her press release about becoming a Catholic, Norma called Fr. Pavone "the catalyst to bring me into the Catholic Church." Norma has her own website at

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Abortionists Leaving the Abortion Industry:
A Psychiatrist's View

Dr. Philip Ney is a practicing child and family psychiatrist in Canada, where he directs the International Institute for Pregnancy Loss and Child Abuse Research and Recovery. His research has uncovered many links between abortion and child abuse, and revealed how abortion affects surviving siblings in many other ways. He also coordinates an international group of men and women who used to provide abortions and now have stopped. They are called the Society of Centurions. An American branch of this society has just been formed, and is coordinated by Joan Appleton, who used to provide abortions in Falls Church, VA. The Centurions' brochure states, "When Christ died, this Centurion dropped his sword and fell to his knees exclaiming, 'Surely, this was an innocent man!' Those of us who have participated in the killing of unborn children are the Centurions of today. We have dropped our swords against the unborn child." Joan claims that there are indeed thousands of such men and women in our midst.

In his book, The Centurion's Pathway: A Description of the Difficult Transition for Ex-Abortion Providers or Facilitators, Dr. Ney interestingly describes the unborn child as modern society's scapegoat, and the role of the abortionist as that of the one who led the scapegoat into the wilderness. In a recent interview with Fr. Frank Pavone during the taping of Priests for Life's newest Defending Life TV series, Dr. Ney explained,

"In the Old Testament the congregation came and confessed their sins to the priest, the priest put his hands on the head of a little goat, a perfect little goat without spot or blemish, and then somebody was designated to lead this goat in to the wilderness where it had to die. And if you read the New Jerusalem translation, he is a "fit man, standing by." You have to ask yourself, now here is a good guy, he is obviously a reputable fellow, what is he doing there? Does he want this job? In any case the priest says, "You are going to do this for the rest of the congregation." So now he becomes the executioner for the scapegoat. And so now these people who do abortions are the executioners of the scapegoats which are the little unborn children. And all of society's unresolved problems and grief and anger get funneled unto these unborn children and somebody has to do them in. And these people are interested, they are standing by, and usually they are fit, they are not stupid and they know what they are doing to some extent. Now most of these people have had really traumatic backgrounds themselves, that kind of edge them in this direction."

The experience of the abortionist, furthermore, as described in the book, is "I've been had--I hate it and I resent the fact that people count on me to do a procedure that none of them would ever stoop to do" (p.2).

For more info, contact the Society of Centurions of America, PO Box 75368, St. Paul, MN 55175, Phone 651-771-1500, Fax 651-771-6967.

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Victories in Communication

The Caring Foundation is currently marketing TV ads which have been preceded and followed up with professional research that indicates a shift both in public opinion on abortion and a lowering of the actual abortion rate where the ads have been shown.

The studies behind the development of the ads incorporate "right-brain research." As Paul Swope of the Caring Foundation describes, "The right side of the brain is thought to control the emotional, intuitive, creative aspect of the person. Whereas most research involves analytic, rational questions and thus draws responses primarily from the left side of the brain, "right brain" research aims to uncover the underlying emotional reasons why we make particular decisions or hold certain beliefs...The summary report of the study bears the intriguing title "Abortion: The Least Of Three Evils-Understanding the Psychological Dynamics of How Women Feel About Abortion." The report suggests that women do not see any "good" resulting from an unplanned pregnancy. Instead they must weigh what they perceive as three "evils," namely, motherhood, adoption, and abortion."

A key element in implementing this research, then, is to present our pro-life position in the overall context of a woman's self-perception of her identity, her well-being, and her fulfillment. Saying no to abortion is not only good for the child; it is what is best for the woman. Here is one of the latest ads:

[A young woman is jogging through city streets. It is raining. As she runs, her inner thoughts are made audible.] "Everyone's telling me how I should feel. . . . It's not like I planned to get pregnant. Not now. [Referring to angry boyfriend, shown in brief flashback.] Telling me how to feel, what to do, then not sticking around when it really counts. So now it's all up to me. But abortion? Not me. I have to live with myself. [Pause. She runs into distance, skies clearing.] We'll make it. Yeah, we'll make it just fine."

As Mr. Swope explains, 'The ad's three objectives are to engender admiration for carrying a pregnancy to term, to present a woman who serves as a role model, and, in a nonconfrontational way, to put abortion in the negative.

It is significant to compare these objectives with the comments made by women in focus groups who were asked for their response:

"That's just like me back then. Cold, rainy. It says a lot. She's very determined. It gives me a good feeling. Within herself she's strong."

"Hits home. True to life. . . . I feel her strength. It is okay to keep the baby."'


Priests for Life is currently exploring applications of this research to the preaching of the pro-life message. In fact, the approach we have long advocated in our seminars embodies many of the conclusions of this research. As we preach, we must certainly convey the content that abortion is wrong and must never be done. Yet the "feel" that we strive to communicate is "We are with you." That is what a woman tempted to abort, or one grieving over an abortion, needs to experience from the Church. The Church's concrete response of providing welcome into a community of believers who provide both examples of motherhood and overcome the sense of loneliness that can lead to abortion is one of the factors that makes this message real.

We will continue our reflections on this. Meanwhile, for more info, contact The Caring Foundation, 10 Park Ave., Derry, NH 03038, or call 1-800-783-4903.

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Positive Signs

Because 1998 marked the 25th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, a number of new surveys of public opinion on abortion were taken. They show positive signs of pro-life progress. For example, a New York Times/CBS poll conducted in January of this year showed that since 1989, those who support generally available legal abortion have slipped from 40 to 32 percent. Those who say it should not be permitted have risen from 18 to 22 percent. Other analyses show that in the last four years, the number of abortion facilities in our nation has dropped by some 40%. On a local level, the number of states that passed pro-life measures showed a dramatic increase in 1997 over previous years.


You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as you pray the Liturgy of the Hours:

November intention: For those who have dedicated themselves to full-time pro-life work.

December intention: That confessors may have gentleness and wisdom in dealing with penitents who have committed abortions.


Full-Time Priests

Priests for Life asks you to pray for priests who, in union with their Ordinaries, discern the call to a full time pro-life apostolate. We are willing to discuss the possibilities of working with us.

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The Spirit of Confidence and Joy

Fr. Frank Pavone

Some people like to describe themselves as "realists." They see aspects of reality that people who are overly optimistic miss.

It is important to be realists, but we need to carry realism to its full measure, and take account of all reality, including that which is unseen and supernatural. The problem with some forms of realism is that they stop at the realism of the problems of life, and miss the reality of grace. That's the formula for discouragement.

Doing pro-life work demands complete realism. And part of that complete picture is the reality, presence, and activity of the Holy Spirit, to whom the year 1998 is dedicated in the Church's preparation for the Jubilee of the Year 2000.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of confident joy. Joy is not the result of everything going our way. That kind of contentment is extremely fragile, because at any moment, any of the things going our way can begin going a different way.

Joy, on the other hand, is born of a deep inner awareness that our lives are in God's hands, that we are intent on pleasing Him, and that nothing short of our own rebellion can ever separate us from Him. Were we to lose all things, to possess God is to possess all. Being convinced of that, and actually possessing Him, brings joy.

Joy in our pro-life work is born of the fact that all we do is motivated by love: love for preborn children, their mothers and father, and love also for those who oppose what we stand for, whether they be in government, media, or the abortion industry itself.

Confident joy springs from the fact that this mission we have of restoring a culture of life is God's mission before it is ours. It is a mission we receive from the One who has all power to fulfill it and chooses to fulfill it through us.

How, then, can we not be confident? It is the Holy Spirit who fills us! It is the same Spirit who breathed over the waters and brought forth life out of chaos and darkness. It is the same Spirit who has spoken through the prophets, the same Spirit who descended upon the womb of Mary, the same Spirit who anointed the Lord Jesus and raised Him from the dead! The same Holy Spirit who sent the apostles sends us, and He has lost none of His strength. This, indeed, is the same Spirit who descends on bread and wine to transform them into the Son of God, and who will descend on our own tombs to raise us from the dead!

I am sometimes asked whether I become depressed dealing with abortion all the time. I would, I reply, were it not for one fact: I am proclaiming the victory of life. Let us do so together, with all the joy and confidence that the Holy Spirit brings.

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Gospel of Life Communications Is Formed!

Anthony DeStefano

Whenever Fr. Frank celebrates the live Mass on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the Priests for Life main office is flooded with phone calls from viewers all across the country asking us if we have audiotapes of him speaking on issues other than pro-life.

Well, the mission of Priests for Life, as you know, is to focus exclusively on overcoming the evils of abortion and euthanasia. But in order to meet the overwhelming demand of our members and supporters, we are proud and excited to announce the formation of GOSPEL OF LIFE COMMUNICATIONS! Now, for the first time, GOSPEL OF LIFE COMMUNICATIONS is making available to the general public a landmark series of audiotapes, featuring Fr. Pavone speaking on a multitude of Catholic subjects, including: Christian apologetics, ecumenism, Catholic teaching on faith and morals, the sacraments, prayer, the liturgical seasons and Feasts, the saints, lessons from the Old and New Testaments, and much, much more. Taken together, the completed audio collection constitutes a treasury of Christian commentary. For more info on GOSPEL OF LIFE COMMUNICATIONS, call us at (718) 668-9350, write to us at PO BOX 60411, Staten Island, NY, 10306, or email us at (Coming soon, our web site:


Happy Anniversary to Fr. Frank!

Because he knows that there are so many courageous leaders and heroes in the pro-life movement, Fr. Frank Pavone doesn't usually like to include anything self-congratulatory in these pages. However, we would like to point out that this fall, Fr. Pavone celebrates both the ten-year anniversary of his priestly ordination (November 12), and his five year anniversary as the director of Priests for Life (September 1)! "Thank you, Fr. Frank; God bless you, and we wish you many more years of service to the Church and the pro-life movement!" --Anthony DeStefano


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