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    Honoring a Lifetime of Pro-Life Witness

    Supreme Knight Carl Anderson receives legacy award from the March for Life Education and Defense Fund

    Supreme Knight Carl Anderson addresses the Virtual Rose Dinner Gala after receiving the March for Life’s Pro-Life Legacy Award on Jan. 29.


    Carl Anderson has advocated for the dignity and rights of unborn children for more than 50 years. On Jan. 29, as he neared the end of his tenure as supreme knight, his decades of work for the pro-life cause were recognized by the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, which honored him with its 2021 Pro-Life Legacy Award.

    March for Life President Jeanne Mancini presented the award during the organization’s 39th annual Rose Dinner, held virtually this year.

    “No one has done more to advance the pro-life cause than Carl Anderson,” Mancini said. “He is a true pro-life warrior, and his work and tireless dedication to the cause is an example to us all.”

    In accepting the award, Supreme Knight Anderson said, “All of us have our own reason why we are part of this great pro-life cause. For me, it’s best summed up by the saying, ‘Whoever saves one life, saves the world.’”

    Under Supreme Knight Anderson’s leadership, the Knights of Columbus has become a preeminent defender of life in the United States and in many countries around the world — through education, advocacy and various charitable initiatives.

    But his pro-life advocacy began long before he was elected supreme knight in 2000. Anderson worked in government and public policy in the 1970s and ’80s and held several positions in the White House under President Ronald Reagan. During his years in Washington, he advocated strongly for pro-life policies, such as the Hyde Amendment, and helped develop the Mexico City Policy — which barred U.S. foreign aid dollars from being used to promote abortion overseas.

    Anderson stands with pro-life champion Dr. Mildred Jefferson at the fourth annual state convention of North Carolina Right to Life, Inc., in 1977. Also pictured are convention committee members Bill Eastwood and Emma O’Steen. Photo courtesy of National Right to Life Committee


    In addition, Anderson is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, appointed by Pope John Paul II in 1998 and reappointed by Pope Francis in 2017. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities since 2002, and Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family in 2008.

    As supreme knight, Anderson established the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative on Jan. 22, 2009, the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Since then, K of C councils have donated more than 1,300 life-saving ultrasound machines to pro-life pregnancy centers throughout the United States. Supreme Knight Anderson has called the initiative “the greatest humanitarian achievement in the history of the Knights of Columbus.”

    In his Rose Dinner remarks, he expressed confidence in the American democratic system to right the wrong of legalized abortion.

    “No matter how entrenched, no matter its claim to stability, in America no unjust law is sustainable,” he said.

    Roe v. Wade is not settled law, he continued, pointing out the strong bipartisan consensus to significantly restrict abortions, as revealed by the Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll — a survey of public opinion on abortion conducted annually since 2008.

    Supreme Knight Anderson also urged the pro-life movement to remain committed to its foundational principles: justice, truth, democracy and compassion for vulnerable mothers and children.

    “The strength to offer a helping hand and the courage to love another — especially when that person is in need — is often hidden from public view, but it is nonetheless very real,” he said. “A culture of compassion and love quietly permeates the pro-life cause. It is the wellspring from which all else flows.”



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