The sold out Pro-Life Summit to End Abortion was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan over the weekend to discuss the future of the pro-life cause in the wake of the recent elections.
The summit, which was organized by Dr. Monica M. Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, was held at Christ the King Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was attended by hundreds of people.
Speakers called for resistance to President-elect Barack Obama’s pro-abortion rights agenda, which includes plans to provide federal funding for domestic and international abortions and to reduce restrictions on the fatal procedure.
Bishop Earl Boyea, the new bishop of Lansing, addressed the gathering and asked that pro-life activism always be carried out with love that can “win the heart.”
Other speakers included Priests for Life President Fr. Frank Pavone, Prof. Janet Smith, radio talk show host Al Kresta, Ed Rivet of Michigan Right to Life and National Director of the Pro-Life Action League Joseph Scheidler.
Speakers agreed about the success of the Obama campaign’s Catholic outreach effort, saying it was well-planned, well-executed, and properly funded.
“If pro-life Catholics want to respond successfully over the next four years, they must undertake a similar level of national coalition-building that can influence chanceries and parish communities,” said Catholic political commentator Deal Hudson, who also spoke at the event.
Hudson said the 2008 election had changed his mind about the role of clergy in “Catholic political strategy.”
He reported that previous Catholic outreach efforts had focused on Mass-attending laity and did not actively seek to enlist friendly priests and bishops.
However, he claimed, in 2008 Catholic Obama supporters promoted their message inside parishes through study groups and seminars.
Several speakers at the summit advocated the creation of a parish-level effort to correct the misinterpretation of episcopal documents on the duties of Catholic voters. However, they emphasized that this should not recruit clergy to a Republican Party effort, but must encourage and support pro-life candidates in both parties.
Father Pavone noted that several speakers at the National March for Life on January 22 will host a group of former abortion doctors who will speak from the steps of the Supreme Court about their regrets about performing abortions.
No groups of doctors gather to say they regret not performing abortions, Father Pavone noted, arguing that the nature of abortion itself helps lead people to abhor it.