“When Women Lead” was the theme of the 4th annual Prolife Women’s Conference, held in New Orleans June 21-23.
With a sold-out crowd of 800 attending, it was the largest such gathering ever. The conference was founded by former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson and her organization, And Then There Were None, and came on the heels of the huge success of her movie, "Unplanned."
In an interview for EWTN, Johnson explained that “coming together at assemblies,” conferences, and meetings was a normal part of the Planned Parenthood culture, which led to unity on messaging and strategy. But when Johnson became prolife, she realized this was missing for prolife women. Johnson strategized with other women leaders and the inaugural Pro Life Women’s Conference was held in 2015, described “as a three day event by women and for women to proclaim that women's empowerment cannot be attained by the oppression of other human beings.”
Joyful sisterhood was the overwhelming spirit at the Ponchartrain Convention Center just outside of New Orleans, and compassion for those suffering the loss of children through abortion or miscarriage. There were panels on prolife medicine and fertility awareness; safe haven laws; adoption; non-profit best-practices; and the legal rights of sidewalk counselors.
One of the most powerful moments came during a panel about post-abortion healing.
Pat Layton, author of "Surrendering the Secret," moderated a panel of 5 women who spoke about their abortion experiences and the freedom they found in healing. At one point, Layton said, there is no healing without freedom, and that comes from testimony. She said let’s take a day to be brave: “This is a brave moment. If you are someone who has experienced abortion in your past, raise your hand.” Nearly half of the 800 women present raised their hands.
This is a powerful truth Planned Parenthood doesn’t want you to know: Many of the women who are fiercely dedicated to bringing America back to a culture of life are spurred on by their own abortion experiences.
As a conference participant and speaker Deanna Falchook wrote, "There are books being written, new nonprofits being formed, movies coming out, and thousands of post-abortive women speaking out. The weird thing about pro-life women is that they are more powerful than all of the armies of pro-choice marches because they carry the weapons of truth: abortion does not empower women."
The 800 women in New Orleans united across the political, religious, and cultural spectrum to save lives and bring comfort, and this kind of leadership has recently been harnessed to disprove the myth that prolifers “only” care about the preborn.
Destiny Herndon De La Rosa, founder of the New Wave Feminists, returned to her home in Dallas from New Orleans fired up with a new mission. As she had done before, she decided she would drive down to the border with relief supplies — diapers, bottles, feminine products — to bring relief for the women and children there in desperate need. She reached out to her prolife sisters (and brothers) to join her.
Abby Johnson and And Then There Were None (ATTWN) joined immediately, committing as well to traveling to the border to join in the mercy mission. While New Wave Feminists raised money, ATTWN set up an Amazon gift list for supplies. In just a few days, New Wave Feminist raised over $15K, and a similar amount came in for the goods on an Amazon list set up by ATTWN.
Some of the prolife groups got pushback for this effort. Herndon De-La Rosa insists: “It’s not a political issue, it’s a people issue. And so if we care about the human dignity of the child in the womb, then we also care about the human dignity of the migrant.”
Abby Johnson responded to such comments by saying “Helping Innocent children at the border with basic needs, such as clothing and food, should be the least controversial thing we do.” (For a devastating eyewitness account of conditions at the border from a President Trump supporter, read Dr. James Dobson’s “Visit to the Border: An Open Letter.”)
The journey to McAllen and El Paso Texas is set for July 13, and the total raised in aid and supplies is over $110,000. All raised in a few weeks by people whose willingness to help should make America proud.
Maria McFadden Maffucci is the editor of the Human Life Review, www.humanlifereview.com, a quarterly journal devoted to the defense of human life, founded in 1974 by her father, James P. McFadden, Associate Publisher of National Review. She is President of the Human Life Foundation, based in midtown Manhattan, which publishes the Review and supports pregnancy resource centers. Mrs. Maffucci’s articles and editorials have appeared in the Human Life Review, First Things, National Review Online, National Review, Verily, and Crux. A Holy Cross graduate with a BA in Philosophy, she is married to Robert E. Maffucci, and the mother of three children. Her interests include exploring opportunities for individuals with special needs. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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