Archdiocese Local

Month of activities planned in support of pro-life initiatives

On Oct. 2, everyone throughout the archdiocese is invited to the Respect Life Month kickoff event at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Leawood, which will feature the story of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, once known as “America’s Abortion King,” who later became a pro-life advocate.  Additionally, the Holy Family School of Faith will lead a candlelight rosary. LEAVEN FILE PHOTO BY DOUG HESSE

by Marc and Julie Anderson

LEAWOOD — He worked to repeal anti-abortion laws and was one of the original founders of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws or NARAL (today known as NARAL – Pro-Choice America).

In 1973, he celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s pair of 1973 decisions, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which legalized abortion on demand.

Two years later, he regretted what he had done.

The man was Dr. Bernard Nathanson, once known as “America’s Abortion King.” During his lifetime, he claimed responsibility for performing and/or facilitating 75,000 abortions. Yet, his story didn’t end there.

On Oct. 2, everyone throughout the archdiocese is invited to hear Nathanson’s story as part of the Respect Life Month kickoff, which will be held at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Leawood.

The event marks the beginning of Respect Life Month, when the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates the dignity of human life and provides specific ways for people to get involved in fostering a “culture of life.” This year’s theme is: “St. Joseph, defender of life, pray for us” and ties in with the Year of St. Joseph proclaimed by Pope Francis, a year which ends Dec. 8.

Debra Niesen, the archdiocese’s prolife consultant, said the month opens with a half-day pro-life conference called “Liberated by Truth,” which consists of three talks by author and speaker Terry Beatley, one of the last people to interview Nathanson prior to his death in 2011. Beatley will share “the tactics and strategy [Nathanson] used to deceive Americans and specifically Catholics.”

“Most American Catholics are unaware that NARAL had a deceptive and intentional plan to deceive millions of Catholics. I promised Dr. Nathanson that I would make it common knowledge,” Beatley said. It’s a story “that every American should know.”

In addition to the half-day conference, the evening will feature the “Life Will Be Victorious” celebration beginning at 5 p.m. with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, current chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-life Activities.

After Mass, people are invited to stay for a complimentary meal and live music by the Noah Baniewicz Band.

Additionally, the Holy Family School of Faith will lead a candlelight rosary. The festivities will end with the showing of a pro-life film at 7:30 p.m. in the school gym.

Although people can certainly participate in all activities, Niesen said the day was designed to provide people with different options to observe Respect Life Month.

While the morning is geared specifically toward educating and equipping Catholics with tools to “help build this ‘culture of life’ here in the archdiocese and throughout the country,” Niesen said the evening offers people an opportunity “to come together in community” to honor the sacredness of every human life.

In addition to the kickoff, Catholics will have lots of chances to participate in Respect Life Month activities, including the 40 Days for Life prayer campaign, Life Chain events and “Value Them Both” amendment presentations within parishes.

For more information on Respect Life Month activities or to download resources for your parish, click here.

How to attend

To register for the “Liberated by Truth” conference, click here.

About the author

Marc & Julie Anderson

Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson are long-time contributors to the Leaven. Married in 1996, for several years the high school sweethearts edited The Crown, the former newspaper of Christ the King Parish in Topeka which Julie has attended since its founding in 1977. In 2000, the Leaven offered the couple their first assignment. Since then, the Andersons’ work has also been featured in a variety of other Catholic and prolife media outlets. The couple has received numerous journalism awards from the Knights of Columbus, National Right to Life and the Catholic Press Association including three for their work on “Think It’s Not Happening Near You? Think Again,” a piece about human trafficking. A lifelong Catholic, Julie graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School and Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka. Marc was received into the Catholic Church in 1993 at St. Paul Parish – Newman Center at Wichita State University. The two hold degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. Their only son, William James, was stillborn in 1997.

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