July 3, 2013
|U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas addresses the National Right to Life Committee Convention held at the DFW Hyatt Regency June 28. Sen. Cruz told the attendees that without life there is no liberty or pursuit of happiness.|
Laraine Methke attended the 2013 National Right to Life Convention at the DFW Hyatt Regency Hotel on June 28 with renewed determination. Days earlier, the St. Joseph parishioner watched from her Arlington home as pro-abortion advocates shut down the legislative process in the Texas Senate and prevented passage of a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks.
The bill, Senate Bill 5, also required abortion centers to meet the same standards required of hospital-style surgical centers and mandated that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital near their facility. Following Fort Worth State Sen. Wendy Davis’s 10-hour filibuster to block the bill from passing on June 25, scores of pro-abortion advocates yelled and screamed, interrupting the legislative process and preventing a vote from being completed by the midnight deadline.
Heeding the call of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, presiding officer of the Senate, who asked supporters of the pro-life position to fill the state capitol’s gallery and “stand up for life,” Methke traveled to Austin July 2 to support new legislation introduced to restrict abortions. A pioneer of the pro-life movement in North Texas, she founded Arlington’s Right to Life chapter in the early 1970s and shared her home with unwed mothers in crisis.
“I’m going to take part in activities in the gallery,” promised Methke, who hoped to be part of a significant pro-life presence during the latest special session called by Texas Governor Rick Perry. “Every life is important. Every life matters to God almighty, and if you’re really pro-life you can hear the souls of those babies crying.”
Texas’ contentious abortion bill was one of the hot topics discussed during the 43rd National Right to Life Convention which opened with the theme, “40 Years of Roe v. Wade is 40 Years Too Many.” The June 27-29 meeting brought together pro-life supporters from across the country to learn, grow, and reenergize.
One thousand participants, representing every state, heard from more than 100 speakers who addressed topics ranging from prenatal testing to medical treatments using adult stem cells. Father Frank Pavone, founder of Priests for Life, presented a workshop on increasing pro-life effectiveness in religious denominations. Bobby Schindler, brother of Terri Schiavo, a woman at the center of a prolonged legal battle involving life support, spoke about his late sister’s legacy.
During a morning prayer breakfast, attendees heard from Doug Keck, chief operating officer and executive vice president of EWTN. He told the audience that the media network’s founder, Mother Angelica, imbued the venture with love of the child Jesus.
“That fits so well into the pro-life message,” Keck said, noting the network has increased its coverage of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., and now broadcasts Canada’s Walk for Life.
Twenty-five exhibitors, including Presbyterians Pro-Life, the Heritage Foundation, and Nurses for Life, offered information pamphlets, videos, and books.
“What happened with Texas Senate Bill 5 provided the perfect storm to put the abortion issue on the forefront of everyone’s mind,” said Derrick Jones, communications director for the National Right to Life Committee, (NRLC) Inc. “When we chose DFW (as a convention site) two years ago, we could not have predicted that. It drew a lot of media attention to the convention.”
|Pro-life advocate Chet McDaniel promotes his book, I'm Not Broken, at the NRLC convention. McDaniel, who was born without arms and with shortened legs, addressed the convention on June 27, challenging the pro-choice argument that deformed children would be denied a quality of life.|
Remarks made by Gov. Rick Perry, during the convention’s opening session garnered national news coverage. The governor vowed to make passage of the abortion bill a top priority during a second special legislative session and called the unruly behavior of pro-abortion advocates “mob tactics.”
“We witnessed the extremes the pro-abortion forces will resort to in order to further their cause,” Perry said. “Even if they lose at the ballot box, even if they come up short in an attempt to stall on the Senate floor, they will resort to mob tactics to force their minority agenda on the people of Texas.”
The use of parliamentary stalling tactics to defeat legislation are nothing new, he admitted, “but what we witnessed Tuesday was nothing more than the hijacking of the democratic process. This is simply too important a cause to allow the unruly actions of a few to stand in its way.”
The following day, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz buoyed the spirits of convention goers by praising their dedication and commitment.
“This is a room of warriors. This is a room of patriots. This is a room of men and women willing to sacrifice on their knees in prayer and stand up for the unborn,” he told the enthusiastic, flag-waving crowd. “Thank you for your commitment to the most vulnerable among us. Thank you for the courage of your convictions.”
As the U.S. prepared to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, he reminded the audience that the right to life is the foundational right upon which all other rights stand.
“Without life, there is no liberty. Without life, this is no pursuit of happiness,” Cruz explained. “To take life is the ultimate power and the ultimate deprivation of our God-given rights.”
The senator cited other countries like Portugal, which bans abortions after 10 weeks and Germany, Spain, and France where the procedure is banned after 14 weeks.
“Yet, here in the United States, you see passionate protestors insisting for the right to take the life of the child up until the very moment of birth,” Cruz pointed out.
To win the battle, you must first win the argument, he said, quoting the late Margaret Thatcher.
“We need to win hearts and minds,” Cruz insisted. “We need to persuade our fellow Americans that there’s nothing more precious than an infant child. And that every infant has a right to breathe and live.”
The senator’s words struck a chord with Angie Hester of Colleyville as she waited to hear comments from Lt. Gov. Dewhurst at the convention’s Saturday session.
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but what’s on the top? Life!” the University of Dallas alumna enthused. “I was pleased to hear what the governor and senator had to say. I came to hear words of encouragement and they delivered.”
The NRLC’s communication director, Jones, said organizers tried to design a diverse convention program that touched on an array of life issues.
“Our goal is to send our grassroots leaders back to their local communities reenergized and ready to put what they’ve learned into action,” he said. “They left the convention educated and motivated.”
Some dedicated pro-life workers join protest marches. Others quietly pray in front of abortion centers. Gary Cangemi changes hearts and minds about abortion with a cartoon character. The talented graphic artist is the creator of “Umbert the Unborn.” More than a million fans look forward to the regular antics of the precocious, pre-born baby boy as he anticipates life and all its potential from the comfort of a mother’s womb.
Laraine Methke attended the 2013 National Right to Life Convention at the DFW Hyatt Regency Hotel on June 28 with renewed determination. Days earlier, the St. Joseph parishioner watched from her Arlington home as pro-abortion advocates shut down the legislative process in the Texas Senate and prevented passage of a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. The bill, Senate Bill 5, also required abortion centers to meet the same standards required of hospital-style surgical centers and mandated that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital near their facility. Following Fort Worth State Sen. Wendy Davis’s 10-hour filibuster to block the bill from passing on June 25, scores of pro-abortion advocates yelled and screamed, interrupting the legislative process and preventing a vote from being completed by the midnight deadline.