Thanking Mississippi and Texas
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While the ultimate fate of two important laws to protect the unborn is not yet known, the people responsible for this ground-breaking legislation deserve our thanks. Thanking them is what Priests for Life, the National Pro-Life Religious Council and several other pro-life groups plan to do on January 21st in Washington, DC.
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Texas Sen. Bryan Hughes is the author of S.B. 8, the Texas Heartbeat Act that has been saving lives in the state since Sept. 1. He and John Seago, legislative director of Texas Right to Life, which helped craft the law, will be honored at the National Prayer Service that takes place every year on the morning of the March for Life.
Heartbeat bills were not universally supported by the pro-life movement when the first such law was introduced in Ohio in 2011 because some thought the bills went too far to ever be successfully enacted. But the mastermind behind the bill, longtime pro-life activist Janet Porter, founder of the group Faith2Action, persevered in her belief that a beating heart was proof enough that the person inside the womb is alive and entitled to his or her right to life.
Eleven states have since passed Heartbeat Bills; it took Texas to get it enacted.
At the prayer service, Ms. Porter will be honored for her courage, foresight and commitment to the unborn.
Also to be honored at the interfaith service at Constitution Hall will be the Mississippi legislators -- Sen. Angela Hill, Sen. Joey Fillingane and Rep. Becky Currie -- responsible for the law that protects babies from abortion after 15 weeks' gestation.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments about the law on Dec. 1 in a case known as Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health. Supreme Court observers are united in their prediction that the pro-life majority Court will uphold the law. It's also possible that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that has led to the murder of more than 62 million unborn children will be overturned.
In addition to these honorees, all pro-life residents of Mississippi and Texas will be thanked for their efforts, their belief that we can protect the unborn and their faith in God.
Throughout the pro-life movement, reversing Roe v. Wade has been a key goal from the beginning. If Roe v. Wade is consigned to history, it will be a major step toward ending legal abortion in our nation, since it would allow the states to protect the unborn throughout their development. The good news there is that roughly half the states would move to ban abortion entirely and tens of thousands of lives, at least, will be spared.
The honorees at the National Prayer Service deserve our nation's thanks and that's why I hope everyone who is in D.C. for the March for Life will make plans to attend. Constitution Hall, at 1776 D St. NW, has room for everyone.
This year's service is the 27th annual and we have a great lineup planned. Danielle D'Souza Gill will be the emcee, and Mike Donehey of the popular Christian band Tenth Avenue North will perform. The National Pro-life Religious Council and Faith & Liberty are again partnered with Priests for Life to host the event. I will preach the sermon.
The service will run from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., leaving plenty of time for people to get into their March for Life positions. Prior to the service, at 7:30 a.m., Bishop Joseph Coffey of the Archdiocese for the Military Services will celebrate Mass.
Go to NationalPrayerService.com for more information.
We have much to pray for in our continuing fight to end abortion in our nation but this year we have more reason than ever to be hopeful, and thankful that lives are being saved. I hope you can join me to thank some of the people who made this possible.
Father Frank Pavone is national director of Priests for Life and the national pastoral director of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. The books he has authored include Abolishing Abortion and Proclaiming the Message of Life.
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