Leader optimistic about pro-life cause - Catholic Courier

Leader optimistic about pro-life cause

David Bereit, executive director of the American Life League, says he believes the nation is becoming more pro-life.

Among other signs, Bereit — whose group opposes abortion, euthanasia and other threats to human life — points to South Dakota’s ban earlier this year of all abortions as evidence that the pro-life cause is gaining support. He even welcomed recent news that pro-choice forces in South Dakota had gathered enough signatures on petitions to force a voter referendum on the ban this November.

The referendum will compel people to discuss the reality of abortion, Bereit said, adding that the procedure “always kills a child and many times hurts a woman as well.”

The political aspects of the abortion battle will be among the topics Bereit plans to discuss during a presentation at St. Joseph School Hall, 43 Gebhardt Road, Penfield, on Friday, June 16, at 7 p.m.

Although the American Life League, based in Stafford, Va., is not officially affiliated with the Catholic Church, Bereit said the not-for-profit organization adheres to the church’s teachings on abortion, artificial contraception and other life issues. In fact, the organization’s Web site (www.all.org) notes that one of A.L.L.’s projects is “Crusade for the Defense of Our Catholic Church.” One component of this crusade targets Catholic politicians, including New York state Gov. George Pataki, who are pro-choice.

Bereit said he also is optimistic that the nation is becoming pro-life because he believes scientific evidence weighs in favor of the pro-life cause. For example, he said, 4D ultrasound technology that is used to show pregnant women their babies highlights the humanity of the unborn, no matter how early the stage of pregnancy.

“When people see that child in the womb, they realize that this is not a blob of tissue, that this is a person,” he said.

Bereit also is national director of Stop Planned Parenthood International, or STOPP, another A.L.L. project, and said he plans to discuss Planned Parenthood’s role in the abortion debate during his presentation at St. Joseph. As a provider of abortions and of artificial contraception, Planned Parenthood is “an incredibly destructive organization to human life,” he said, adding that he opposes giving Planned Parenthood any role in young people’s sex education. He said he also believes Planned Parenthood — whose annual report shows it received more than $272 million in government grants and contracts during 2004-05 — should not receive any government funding.

“People of faith and conscience are being forced to underwrite an organization that is killing children in the womb and corrupting our young people in the schools,” he said.

Bereit said the final part of his talk will focus on what people can do to promote the pro-life cause. First, he suggested that they pray to God for guidance about what type of work they should do. He noted that there’s far more to the pro-life movement than picketing abortion clinics. For example, crisis pregnancy centers need volunteers, he said. Pro-life citizens also can provide pro-life information at health fairs, county fairs and schools, he said.

“I believe that most people, if they open their hearts, they will find a way that God can use them,” he said.

Bereit’s talk is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by Rochester ProLife, an activist group that operates the Focus Pregnancy Center at 86 University Ave. For information, call 585/218-4051, or visit www.RochesterProLife.org.

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