GENEVA — Seven women gathered in the reading room at Geneva’s public library on Oct. 11 for the second meeting of the newly formed Finger Lakes Area Feminists Choosing Life.
Although the fledgling group is small, organizers are optimistic it will grow over time. Organizers Kathy Peters and Colleen Spellecy, both parishioners of St. Mary Parish in Waterloo, believe the group is capable of accomplishing great things even with slight numbers.
“You know Jesus did it with just 12 apostles,” Peters said. “We’re hoping that through time and education we can get more people to join our group or at least be supportive.”
The group, which held its first meeting in April, is a chapter of the statewide organization Feminists Choosing Life of New York. The state organization had formerly been known as Feminists for Life of New York and was a state chapter of Feminists for Life of America before that organization disbanded its state chapters earlier this year, according to a statement on the state organization’s Web site, www.feministschoosinglife.org.
Finger Lakes Area Feminists Choosing Life is still in its early planning stages, and members spent part of the Oct. 11 meeting outlining specific goals. The state organization’s mission is to address abortion’s root causes within the framework of a consistent life ethic and to move the public toward a pro-life, pro-woman way of thinking.
Spellecy, Peters and the other women at the meeting suggested ways to reach those goals and activities they’d like to see the group undertake.
“I would love to see a list compiled of pro-life doctors in this area,” Spellecy said.
One of the new group’s members offered to call local obstetricians and gynecologists and ask if they perform abortions, and then compile her results into such a list. Another new member recounted the frustration she felt when she found out the libraries in and around Geneva didn’t have any copies of Pro-Life Feminism Yesterday and Today.
The members decided to obtain some copies of the book, which features Rochester pro-life feminist Carol Crossed, and donate them to the libraries in Geneva, Penn Yan, Waterloo and other Finger Lakes-area communities. Finger Lakes Area Feminists Choosing Life also is hoping to organize a group of people who will travel to Washington, D.C., in January to take part in the 35th-annual March for Life, which is held each year to commemorate the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
Finger Lakes Area Feminists Choosing Life also welcomed two guest speakers to the Oct. 11 meeting. Kelly Vincent Brunacini, president of Feminists Choosing Life of New York, and Wendy McVeigh, vice president of the state group, came to bring the group members up to date on legislation the state group is currently lobbying for or against.
The group is lobbying against Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act because this bill would make abortion immune to restrictions and regulations, Vincent Brunacini said. At the same time, the group is lobbying in favor of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which would allow prosecution for two victims — a woman and her unborn child — when a pregnant woman is murdered in New York state.
“New York state needs to protect our right to carry to term as much as it protects a woman’s right to terminate,” Vincent Brunacini said.
Members of Feminists Choosing Life of New York also are lobbying for A.04430, the Fetal Pain Prevention Act, which would require abortion providers to give mothers information about fetal development and pain prior to performing an abortion, and A.02560, which would require parental notification for unemancipated minors seeking abortions, Vincent Brunacini said.
Local pro-life feminists had previously lobbied in favor of A.2915, the Umbilical Cord Blood Bill, which was passed by the state Senate and Assembly in June and signed into law by Spitzer in August. Umbilical-cord blood contains adult stem cells, which have been successfully used to treat at least 50 illnesses, according to information from the New York State Catholic Conference, the state bishops’ public-policy arm.
“That (legislation) will provide money for the private and public hospitals to bank umbilical-cord blood, and that is for ethical stem-cell research. I consider that a victory,” Vincent Brunacini said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information about Finger Lakes Area Feminists Choosing Life and upcoming meetings, contact Kathy Peters at 315-539-8006 or Colleen Spellecy at 315-539-3031, or e-mail them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.