Abortion advocates often dismiss the pro-life movement as populated by old white men intent on controlling women’s bodies. A simple look around the offices of any pro-life group or demonstration would dispel the slander. Since the beginning, the pro-life movement has been both populated and led by courageous, faithful women. In the last month or so we have celebrated the lives of four such women, three who passed away and one who was canonized in the Catholic Church.
The most famous of these is Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Mother Teresa gave a voice to the voiceless, from orphans to the unborn, and upbraided those who sat by and did nothing. The diminutive nun was a giant on the world stage, winning audiences with political, corporate, and religious leaders. She spoke truth to power, famously defending the unborn at the Prayer Breakfast in Washington whilst some of the most famous and powerful abortion supporters – President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, and Vice President Al Gore – sat by watching.
As we reported last month, Elsie Wayne, the former Conservative MP for Saint John (New Brunswick), stood up for the preborn child in the House of Commons and the steps of Parliament during the National March for Life. Like Mother Teresa, she could not understand how a woman could kill her own child. Wayne never wavered in his defense of the child in the womb and other moral principles she held dear. The plucky evangelical also delighted friends and disarmed opponents with her sharp wit, the proverbial happy warrior.
We report this month on the passing of two other important pro-life activists: Denise Hounjet-Roth of Saskatchewan and Phyllis Schlafly of Missouri. When they heard the call to pro-life work, these women continued doing their full-time work of devoted wife and mother – and in Hounjet-Roth’s case, teacher – while taking on a second career in political activism. Hounjet-Roth mounted takeovers of most Saskatchewan Liberal riding associations and helped win the Saskatchewan abortion funding referendum with the help of several friends from her kitchen table. Likewise, Schlafly defeated the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s; she recognized that it would entrench abortion and daycare as fundamental women’s rights in the radical feminist quest for a false equality. These two Catholic women were devout, knowing that their work was really God’s work.
Mother Teresa said the remarkable thing about the pro-life movement was ordinary people doing extraordinary things for God. Elsie Wayne, Denise Hounjet-Roth, Phyllis Schlafly, and, of course, Mother Teresa, did extraordinary things to defend the preborn and thus for God. May their example influence the next generation of pro-lifers.