16. Frank Pavone priestsforlife.org AFAJ 03/13
ADVOCATING FOR THE DEFENSELESS – AFA is grounded in the biblical belief that human beings are created in the image of God, valuable and worthy of respect and dignity in all areas of life. Involvement in the pro-life movement has been a natural outflow of that core belief.
Having devoted his life to pro-life work since 1993, Fr. Frank Pavone has been a prominent leader in communicating these principles. As national director of Priests for Life and president of the National Pro-life Religious Council, he has worked tirelessly to provide education on abortion.
He is involved with the aftercare of men and women traumatized by abortion as national pastoral director of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and Rachel’s Vineyard post-abortion ministry.
Pavone travels extensively for pro-life causes and produces programming for both religious and secular radio. As an outspoken advocate for Terri Schiavo, he often visited at her bedside during her last days. Pavone is author of four pro-life books and recipient of numerous awards and honorary doctorates.
AFA Journal: Since the 1973 Roe v Wade decision, how has the nation changed its view on the sanctity of human life?
Fr. Frank Pavone: Many who have been through abortion have been voicing their experiences through efforts like the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. And, as a result, people have come face to face with abortion. It has become less abstract and more concrete and experiential.
The more people have seen the devastating impact of abortion on America, the more conflicted they have become. We see that reflected in changing public opinion. The number of abortions is at the lowest point since Roe v Wade; the number of abortion facilities has declined; the number of physicians who do abortions has gone down. And both federal and state laws have increased dramatically, making it more difficult to get an abortion while providing some protection for the unborn child.
AFAJ: What about euthanasia and assisted suicide?
FP: There’s certainly a direct connection. If you can choose to do away with your innocent unwanted child, the flipside of that is that you can choose to do away with your innocent, unwanted parent or grandparent. If we don’t prevent any further erosion of our laws and policies when it comes to protecting the vulnerable, the ill, and the elderly from euthanasia, then it’s going to follow the same trajectory.
AFAJ: What are some of your greatest accomplishments and joys?
FP: I have had tremendous satisfaction and joy in being part of some big political victories. And of course, there is the joy that I have in seeing the faces of prolife activists as I travel. A great satisfaction for us all is that we actually come to see the lives that have been saved and hear from the moms and dads of babies who have been saved. And in some cases, we meet those children in person. It is confirmation that there is no more important work on earth.
AFAJ: Define success for the future.
FP: We want to succeed in two ways: Securing legal protection for these babies – which we are well on the way to achieving; and creating stronger networks of concrete help to anyone who is pregnant and feels afraid. We’re going to reassure and give her the resources she needs so that she will never feel the only way to solve her problems is to abort her child.
17. Flip Benham operationsaveamerica.org AFAJ 05/98
Rev. Philip (Flip) Benham served as national director of Operation Save America (formerly Operation Rescue) from 1994 to 2014. OSA unashamedly uses biblical principles to take up the cause of children in the womb.
Benham was a saloon owner until his conversion in 1976, followed by seminary and 12 years as a pastor. In the mid-1990s, Benham opened the national headquarters of Operation Rescue next door to A Choice for Women, the abortion clinic that employed Norma McCorvey, otherwise known as Jane Roe of the Roe v Wade case that led to widespread legalized abortion.
OR volunteers prayed outside the clinic, and Benham often chatted with McCorvey during her smoke breaks. The love of a young child (the daughter of an OR employee) softened McCorvey’s heart, and she eventually came to Christ and fought for the pro-life cause until her death in February this year.
In 1998, the AFA Law Center defended Benham who was given a one-year sentence (six months suspended) for leading a pro-life demonstration outside a Lynchburg, Virginia, high school.
18. David Daleiden centerformedicalprogress.org AFAJ 11/16
As a citizen journalist, David Daleiden has been researching the abortion industry for over a decade. In 2013, he founded the Center for Medical Progress to investigate bioethical issues.
Daleiden developed and executed an investigation documenting Planned Parenthood’s potentially illegal sale of body parts from aborted babies. The project stretched over a period of more than two years and resulted in the release of undercover videos featuring senior level Planned Parenthood executives confessing to unethical and illegal actions, as well as actual footage of aborted baby bodies morbidly treated as mere specimens to part out. The left and mainstream media repeatedly rehearsed claims that the videos were edited or “fake.”
The videos rallied pro-life Americans, prompted a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted babies, inspired state investigations, and fueled a push to stop Planned Parenthood funding through Medicaid reimbursements in several states. Lawsuits filed against Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt in Texas have been dropped, but similar charges are pending in California.
19. Wales Goebel walesgoebelministry.org AFAJ 06/03
Wales Goebel and his wife Jean began working full-time with troubled teens in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1967. He shared Christ’s love with high school and university students during a time when sexual promiscuity and drug abuse were rampant.
In counseling students, he found a number of girls struggling through trauma and shame after abortion. He was burdened and decided he had to do something to prevent girls from succumbing to abortion, which they were told is a simple, harmless procedure.
In 1980, the Goebels opened the first Sav-A-Life center, a place where pregnant girls and women could go to receive non-judgmental love, care, biblical counsel, and truth about the abortion procedure and its destructive consequences. The number of Sav-a-Life centers grew to 65 in the U.S. and several countries.
Countless women and families have been helped since its inception 37 years ago, and through the example set by Sav-a-Life, many pregnancy resource centers have been formed. Twelve years ago, the centers moved under the umbrella of the CareNet network, and it is estimated that 30,000 babies have been saved through the Sav-a-Life ministry.
20. Kristan Hawkins studentsforlife.org AFAJ 01/16
Kristan Hawkins started the first pro-life group in her high school, counseled in a crisis pregnancy center, and was asked to take on the presidency of the West Virginia Teens for Life. She also started the first pro-life group at Bethany College in West Virginia, where she majored in political science with aspirations of becoming a pro-life activist. In 2006, she launched Students for Life of America.
Since then, the number of campus pro-life groups has grown from 181 to nearly 800. SFLA also facilitates legal protection for a growing number of pro-life students who face discrimination.
“It’s no secret that college-age women report more abortions than any other age group,” Hawkins says. Hence, her passion for that demographic.
In addition to leading SFLA, Hawkins travels the country speaking to students and adults. She and the SFLA team have also opened several successful investigations into Planned Parenthood. Other SFLA programs include Med Students for Life, Law Students for Life, and Pregnant on Campus, an initiative that connects pregnant students to community resources.
Hawkins’s activist lifestyle has garnered her numerous awards, including the Susan B. Anthony Young Leader Award.
21. Gianna Jessen giannajessen.com AFAJ 03/06
“… you’re going to meet the president in Pittsburgh,” the caller told a startled Gianna Jessen. “He’s going to sign the bill you testified in favor of.” Indeed, Jessen had testified before Congress on behalf of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, and she met with President George W. Bush when he signed the bill into law in 2002.
Jessen survived an abortion in 1977 at a California Planned Parenthood. It was intended that she be expelled from her mother’s womb dead – burned to death by the saline that was injected into the uterus. But she was alive, and a nurse had her transferred to a hospital. Only two pounds, Jessen was kept alive. She had cerebral palsy, and doctors said she would never move beyond a vegetative state.
But she was walking with a walker by age three. Today, she runs marathons. Jessen began publicly sharing her story in the early 1990s and has traveled the world speaking up for the voiceless and sharing her Christian faith in an expansive variety of venues. She has continued to testify before the U.S. Congress, the Australian Parliament, and the British House of Commons.
22. Abby Johnson attwn.org AFAJ 11/13
Abby Johnson worked for years as director of a Texas Planned Parenthood facility, believing she was helping women by reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies and, subsequently, the number of abortions as well.
Meanwhile, a local pro-life group prayed outside the clinic for Johnson, and she began to see Planned Parenthood’s true intent as abortion quotas continually rose. In 2009, assisting with an ultrasound guided abortion, she was horrified to watch a baby fight for his life before being violently destroyed.
Everything changed that day. Johnson reached out to the group who had prayed for her, and she soon began telling the truth about what happens behind the whitewashed walls of Planned Parenthood.
“The thing most hidden by the abortion industry is that women regret their abortions,” she told AFAJ.
In 2012, she and her husband started And Then There Were None, a nonprofit to help clinic workers transition out of the industry with practical, financial, legal, emotional, and spiritual help. ATTWN has helped more than 330 abortion clinic workers, including seven abortionists, leave the industry. Johnson’s best-selling book Unplanned shares Johnson’s story, and she continues to write and speak in support of life.
23. Alveda King alvedaking.com AFAJ 02/15
The niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Alveda King sees the pro-life movement as a continuation of the struggle she experienced first hand during the volatile civil rights movement. Both her father, Rev. A.D. King, and her uncle were murdered for heroically standing for justice.
She has carried on their legacy in her fight for the unborn. She is pastoral associate and director of civil rights for the unborn for Priests for Life. She told the AFAJ that, with repentance, the human race will come together as brothers and sisters.
“Abortion and racism are both symptoms of a fundamental human error,” she explained. “The error is thinking that when someone stands in the way of our wants, we can justify getting that person out of our lives. Abortion and racism stem from the same poisonous root – selfishness.”
She has served in the Georgia House of Representatives, and is a best-selling author and recipient of numerous awards for her work for the cause of life. King also serves as a voice for post-abortive women through the Silent No More awareness campaign and works diligently for racial reconciliation.
Other articles in the 40 FAITHFUL series
We Salute You
God’s church in ministry
God’s first institution
God and government
God’s view of sexuality