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A Pro-Life Voice


by Columbia staff

Knights join Hundreds of Thousands in Washington for the annual March for Life

Photo by Nick Crettier

Photo by Nick Crettier

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson stood before thousands of people assembled on the National Mall Jan. 18 for the 46th March for Life and delivered a message of hope — and a promise.

Citing the most recent Marist Poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, he said that 3 out of 4 Americans want substantial restrictions on abortion (see p. 27).

“I promise you this,” the supreme knight stated. “The day is not far off when you will return, not for a demonstration, but for a victory parade down Pennsylvania Avenue!”

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, recognized the Knights of Columbus for its work toward that goal. The Order has played an instrumental role in the pro-life movement from the beginning, and it has provided organizational and financial support for the March for Life since the first march in 1974.

The crowd cheered as Mancini declared that the Knights had recently placed its 1,000th ultrasound machine in a pregnancy care center (see p. 26).

“We know that life is ‘Unique from Day One,’” Mancini said, referring to the theme of this year’s march. “Ultrasound machines give us a window to the womb and show us this in a very tangible way.”

In a surprise appearance, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, also addressed the rally.

“We gather because we stand for life. We gather because we stand for compassion,” the vice president said.

His remarks were followed by a video message from President Donald Trump, who affirmed that “every life has meaning and every life is worth defending” and that “every child is a sacred gift from God.”

Co-chairs of the U.S. House of Representatives’ pro-life caucus, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), also addressed the crowd, as did Katrina Jackson, a Democratic state representative from Louisiana. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) announced the establishment of the first-ever pro-life caucus in the U.S. Senate.

Other speakers at the rally included Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., and former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson.

Following the rally, as participants moved from the National Mall toward the Supreme Court, thousands held “Love Life, Choose Life” signs distributed by local Knights, and dozens of K of C council banners waved above the sea of pro-life placards.

Among the marchers were hundreds of Knights representing college councils.

“Just seeing the sheer number of people, especially young people, is inspiring,” said Jimmy Ryan, grand knight of University of Notre Dame Council 1477. “It’s great to see so many students who recognize that we have this pro-life voice, which is going to make a difference.”

1,000th Ultrasound Machine Dedicated

Photo by Christopher Frost

Hundreds of thousands of babies have had a chance at life thanks to the Knights of Columbus ultrasound Initiative. Since the program was first launched Jan. 22, 2009 — the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade — state and local councils have placed more than 1,000 life-saving machines in pro-life pregnancy centers.

“One of my proudest moments as supreme knight came when I learned that we had placed our 1,000th ultrasound machine,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. In a message of thanks to those who made the milestone possible, he called the initiative “the greatest humanitarian project in the history of the Knights of Columbus.”

The 1,000th machine, donated by Father Herman J. Veger Council 5561 in Warrenton, Va., was unveiled Jan. 14 at the Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in nearby Manassas. Until late 2015, the building was the site of Amethyst Health Center, which provided abortions. a group of local Catholic entrepreneurs then formed the BVM Foundation — in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary — to purchase and transform the center into a life-saving clinic.

“What we have now is the antithesis of an abortion clinic,” explained Jim Koehr, a member of the BVM foundation and of Council 5561. “We have a clinic that doesn’t try to fix one life by ending another life.”

Mother of Mercy Free Clinic, which is operated by the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington and staffed by volunteer health care professionals, serves low-income men and women without health insurance in the Manassas area. It offers medical care, mental health counseling, and emergency services for those facing eviction in addition to pregnancy and adoption services.

Koehr asked Council 5561 to fund an ultrasound machine for the new clinic, even though the council had just donated an ultrasound machine to the Warrenton Pregnancy Center. His brother Knights stepped up and raised more than $20,000 for both units — the 999th and 1,000th machines donated by the Knights around the world.

At the Jan. 14 unveiling and dedication in Manassas, Supreme Knight Anderson said, “Today represents a very concrete way in which millions of lives are changed for the better by the Catholic community coming together and volunteering together. What greater legacy can a person have than to save a child’s life?”

The impact of the ultrasound machine was immediate. On the same day it was dedicated, a pregnant woman arrived at the clinic seeking an abortion. One of the center’s volunteers convinced her to return the next day for an ultrasound appointment.

“God had a purpose for that 1,000th ultrasound,” said clinic director alexandra Luevano. “To be at the clinic that was once was a place of death and is now a place of life.” — Reported by Andrew Fowler, a content producer for the Knights of Columbus Communications Department

Americans Support Substantial Restrictions on Abortion

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, addresses the rally before the march. Photo by Matthew Barrick

THE ANNUAL K of C-Marist poll on U.S. attitudes toward abortion again revealed that large majorities of Americans support substantial restrictions on abortion and would like to see Roe v. Wade reinterpreted to allow such restrictions.

Conducted in January by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, the survey found that 75 percent of Americans say abortion should be limited to — at most — the first three months of pregnancy. This includes most of those who identify as Republicans (92 percent), Independents (78 percent) and Democrats (60 percent). It also includes more than 6 in 10 (61 percent) who identify as pro-choice.

“The majority of Americans — in both parties — support legal restrictions on abortion,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Two-thirds of Americans want Roe revisited to allow for state regulation of abortion or to ban it altogether. The majority of the American people deserve to have their opinions heard.”

The survey also found that 62 percent of Americans oppose abortions in cases of Down syndrome, and nearly 59 percent would ban abortion after 20 weeks, except to save the life of the mother.

Despite these findings, a number of states, including new York, Virginia and Vermont, have recently proposed or enacted laws to allow lateterm abortions, up to the moment of birth. In response, U.S. Reps. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.) reintroduced the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection act in early February.

In a message to members, Supreme Knight Anderson expressed support for the legislation. “I think we can all agree,” he wrote, “that a newborn child has a right to the best care possible, no matter what the circumstances of his or her birth.”