Massachusetts Citizens for Life board member Father David Mullen addresses the 34th annual Interfaith Assembly for Life held at historic Faneuil Hall Jan. 14. The assembly is held each year on the Sunday before the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
BOSTON -- “We don’t make money saving babies, but Planned Parenthood makes money killing babies,” Massachusetts Citizens for Life board member Father David Mullen told those gathered for the Interfaith Assembly for Life, held at historic Faneuil Hall Jan. 14.
MCFL used the occasion of its annual gathering to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe vs. Wade decision to announce the establishment of a capital campaign to ensure the future of the organization’s pro-life work.
Over 125 people attended the 34th annual Assembly for Life, an interfaith rally held every year on the Sunday before the March for Life in Washington D.C. filled with prayers, songs, speeches and exhortations designed to bolster pro-life supporters.
“It is important that we witness to life as we approach the anniversary of a very sad day,” said Father Mullen, who is pastor of St. Brendan Parish in Bellingham.
“We can’t give up,” stressed Joseph Reilly, president of MCFL.
“Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton are not bad constitutional law. They are not constitutional law and that’s a fact,” he emphatically declared as the assembly broke into spontaneous applause.
Attorney Philip D. Moran, president of the Pro-Life Legal Defense Fund took up the subject of the constitutionality of the Roe decision in his keynote address.
“We gather once again to mark the anniversary of two of the worst decisions ever wrought upon the American public by the Supreme Court of the United States,” he began, adding that “those two cases created a course of conduct by which nearly 50 million unborn children have been put to death.”
Moran said that prior to those Supreme Court decisions, abortion was illegal in most states.
“Justice Blackmun created a bad decision out of thin air, which was really a national piece of comprehensive legislation that reversed the law in all 50 states,” he continued.
Moran then went on to compare the 1973 Supreme Court decisions with “the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court” prior to Roe vs. Wade: the Dred Scott case.
In the 1857 Dred Scott decision the Supreme Court declared that all blacks -- slaves as well as free -- were not and could never become citizens of the United States.
“Interestingly, there are great parallels between the two cases,” he stated.
“Both cases held that the human subjects were essentially non-persons,” he said. In addition, both cases argued that opponents “should not try to impose their morals” on others.
The parallels also continue in the societal circumstances, Moran added.
“Dred Scott was decided just before the 1860s, one of the most turbulent decades of American society in the 19th century, which saw a savage Civil War and the assassination of one president and the impeachment of another. Roe vs. Wade was decided just after the 1960s, one of the most turbulent decades of American society in the 20th century, which saw savage civil strife in the streets of America’s cities and the assassination of one president and the proposed impeachment of another within a few years,” he said.
Moran went on to underscore that more than 50 million abortions have been committed in the past 34 years since the Supreme Court decisions.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the real issue before us today is not the complete disregard for the beauty of human life that exists today. The real issue is what are we going to do about it?” he asked.
“It is very important to keep up the fight for the dignity and sanctity of human life in the face of the pressures of those who would superimpose upon us what Pope John Paul II called ‘the culture of death,’” he said.
Moran urged the pro-life supporters not to lose hope, but to realize that often “change is realized by people just like you and me, people who made the decision of what they will stand for and what they won’t stand for any longer.”
Using examples of people such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa, Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan who accomplished formidable tasks, Moran declared that “the human will is unconquerable, but the will to win, the will to succeed and the will to control can only be harnessed when you decide what you want and you believe that there is no challenge, no problem or no obstacle that can keep you from achieving your goal.”
“If Lech Walesa, John Paul II, the people of Eastern Europe and Ronald Reagan could end Communism by virtue of their will to win and that unconquerable human spirit, then you and I, and all of the people in our great country who know in our hearts that abortion and the culture of death are wrong and evil, then we can by that same will to win and that same unconquerable human spirit, by education and persistence, bring down the oppressive and hateful walls of abortion and the culture of death that have grimly surrounded the soul of our nation for the last 34 years,” concluded Moran.
Following Moran’s address, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Raymond Flynn urged everyone to get involved in the political arena.
“We have to get more politically involved than we ever have,” he stressed.
“Pro-life may not have the support of our politicians, but I assure you pro-life policy has the support of the American people,” Flynn added.
Echoing Flynn’s sentiment, MCFL board member Mildred Jefferson exhorted all those in the audience to “join MCFL and become a frontline for political movement.”
“Join now and march with the army that will never sound retreat,” she said. “Because if we do, there are people that will die.”
In her address to the assembly, Marie Sturgis, executive director of MCFL announced the organization’s Capital Development Campaign and urged supporters to donate generously.
Sturgis said the funds raised will help support professional lobbying efforts. In addition, donations will be used to expand pro-life education with the development of the college educational trust fund, a fund to be used in order to support pro-life groups on college campuses as well as support student participation in “Collegians for Life” activities.
In his closing remarks, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley reiterated the importance of being the “bastion of defense of the culture of life.”
“As a country we have become callous to the value of human life,” he said, adding that the poor and marginalized members of society become the “losers in this ethical sea change.”
The poor, the elderly, the sick and the unborn do not “pass the utility test,” and therefore their lives are considered less valuable, he said.
However, he said, this view forces us, as a society, to “tinker with our own identity” of who we are as persons.
The cardinal concluded his remarks thanking those who attended the rally, those who fight to “uphold the gospel of life.”
Speaking to The Pilot following the rally, Father Michael Kon of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Allston said the rally always helps to motivate him for another year of supporting pro-life issues.
“I come every year to be with good honorable people and to get the facts about what’s actually going on in politics,” said Father Kon.
Catherine Bowdren of Somerville agreed. “We have to keep up the fight for life,” she said.