Pro-life leaders are seeking a meeting with President-elect Obama to “establish a foundation” for cooperation in building a culture of life which “honors equality and human rights and ends abortion.”
A December 17 letter seeking a meeting has been signed by Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition; Brandi Swindell, Founder and President of Stanton Healthcare; Deborah Frantzich of Rachel’s Vineyard; and Day Gardner, President of the National Black Pro-life Union.
“The thoughts and prayers of the pro-life community have been with you since your historic victory,” the letter professes.
“Since social justice and compassion begin in the womb, it is essential that we purpose in our hearts to end the pain and tragedy of abortion in our lifetime,” it adds.
Calling on Obama to fulfill his promise that all viewpoints will be heard and respected in the White House, the coalition promises to send an advisory delegation to Obama composed of women who run medical clinics for those in “challenging pregnancies” and for post-abortive women who have been “wounded and diminished” by abortion.
“It is important that you hear from professionals in the field who daily reduce the number of abortions through their labor of love and sacrifice,” the letter adds, saying Obama should also hear first-hand stories from a “growing chorus of women” who suffer because of their abortion.
Writing in a press release, Rev. Mahoney explained the motivations behind the letter.
“President-Elect Obama has never sat down face with members of the pro-life community that represent the values embraced by millions of Americans. He has never heard the narratives of women who have been bruised and diminished through abortion,” he claimed.
"Mr. Obama has never heard the personal stories from thousands of dedicated professionals that have laid aside personal ambition and financial gain in order to serve women who find themselves in challenging pregnancies. He has never heard from faith and human rights leaders that are devoted to standing for social justice and ending the tragedy and violence of abortion. “
Swindell also said it is important to hear the stories of those considering an abortion and also the stories of those who help them.
“We cannot be considered a just and compassionate nation if we do not provide and protect the most defenseless and vulnerable in our society,” she said.
“Mr. Obama talks about hope and change and we admire that. However, that message of hope and change must extend to all Americans and include those who have no voice of their own. Those are the over 50,000,000 innocent children who have been aborted since Roe V. Wade."
CNA spoke with Rev. Mahoney in a Thursday phone interview.
He said his effort had “absolutely” reached out to Catholic organizations such as Priests for Life.
“Should the meeting happen, and we hope and pray that it will, our delegation will clearly have a strong Catholic representation.”
Mahoney commented that Obama has repeatedly said he wanted to reach out to those with different views
“Just today he expressed that same issue when many in the gay activist community and progressive community expressed outrage that Rev. Warren would be delivering the invocation at the Presidential Inauguration.”
“He reiterated how important it was to hear from those with different views.”
“We have a fairly good opportunity for the president-elect to reach out to us,” Mahoney continued.
However, he noted that some of Obama’s “greatest supporters” are those who are strongly favor abortion rights.
“Will the president-elect sit down with women who have been bruised by abortion?” he asked, also questioning whether he would meet with those who assist crisis pregnancy situations.
“We have to move forward, taking the president-elect at his own word.”
“I don’t want to go in with any preconceived ideas. In New Hampshire in January, he said he would sit down with the pro-life community. We tried to work that meeting, and couldn’t. But I think now is the right time.”
“If President-elect Obama is interested in reducing the number of abortions, in speaking to people opposed to abortion, now is the time.”
Let’s hope these are serious words and not promises that will be broken after the inauguration.
Rev. Mahoney explained to CNA how the pro-life delegation could work with Obama on abortion.
“The main body [of the delegation] would be those who work in medical clinics and crisis pregnancy centers, and with women who are post-abortive.
“First of all, we would tell him about the tragedy and horror of abortion. We would let him hear these women’s compelling stories and we would let him know that we can work together not just to reduce abortion, we must end abortion.”
Rev. Mahoney compared ending abortion to racism.
“We do not want to reduce racial attacks, we want to end racism in America.”
“I don’t think he has heard from a woman who has been diminished or bruised by abortion, or from those who work in pregnancy centers,” Rev. Mahoney added.
“I think that we would clearly stress the educational part, that social justice begins in the womb.”
“From that I think we would move to the more strategic part: how can we work together, and can we work together?”
Naming one specific request, he said he would ask Obama to release federal funds for a study on complications suffered by women who are post-abortive.
“There has never been a federal study to examine that,” Rev. Mahoney remarked.
“Can there be bridges we can build, practically, to end abortion? Building bridges is important,” he told CNA. “I think it’s important for him to hear from us. I want to believe that the president-elect will meet with us.”