Meanwhile, Albrecht began to appreciate how women were being pressured into abortion.
“I could see this problem was more than just ‘this baby’,” said soft-spoken Albrecht.
So she and fellow Catholic Kim Syren founded Birthright – to help expectant mothers in crisis choose life for their babies by providing friendship and material support, like housing and clothing.
Eventually, Birthright was folded into Catholic Social Services’ Pregnancy Support program. And Albrecht continues on with Project Rachel, helping mothers suffering after abortion.
Mirroring the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, other early pro-life advocates took the abortion debate to Anchorage clinic doors in the 1980s. Local pro-lifers organized peaceful sit-ins to slow the abortion business in Anchorage and raise awareness of what was going on inside. Ninety-two people joined the first sit-in, making it the largest civil disobedience event in the history of Alaska. A photo of the arrest of Jesuit Father George Endal, in his 80s at the time, made the front page of the Anchorage Times.
On the sidewalks were “sidewalk counselors,” pro-lifers specially trained to engage with the abortion-minded and help them find life-affirming options.
Still, today, members of the Legion of Mary, a Catholic lay apostolate, continue to pray on the sidewalks several times a week and offer help to women outside Alaska Women’s Health, P.C. – an abortion facility on Lake Otis Parkway.
Most young adults are pro-life
Thirty years later, in an age where the term “partial-birth abortion” is familiar and where prenatal ultrasounds are commonplace, the American people — including young adults — are increasingly pro-life.
A 2010 Marist College poll showed that nearly 60 percent of the nation’s 18-to-29-year-olds consider abortion morally wrong. Just 20 percent of that group thinks abortion is morally acceptable.
Thousands of pro-life young adults demonstrate against Roe v. Wade in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Their numbers impress even Nancy Keenan, president of the pro-abortion advocacy group NARAL, who in Newsweek Magazine observed, “There are so many of them, and they are so young.”
(Story continues below)
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These youth are founding and running groups like Live Action, the undercover investigative group that films exposés on Planned Parenthood, the nation’s billion-dollar abortion business. Its now famous director Lila Rose, who delivered the keynote address for this past November’s Alaska Right to Life fund-raiser, is just 22 years old.
There are Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust; Medical Students for Life; and Stop the Abortion Mandate Coalition, a national coalition organized to stop government funding of abortion in health care.
In Anchorage, Christine Kurka initiated a local chapter of 40 Days for Life. The campaign is a biannual, international event in which participants stand vigil in front of abortion clinics across the country and pray and fast for the end to abortion. Since its 2007 start, the group’s headquarters reports 3,592 unborn babies saved from abortion as a result.
Kurka also is volunteer coordinator for Alaska Right to Life. She organizes the group’s activities at the Alaska State Fair and its annual fund-raiser. And she has been on the board, which consists mostly of young adults, including her 23-year-old brother Christopher.
Changing hearts and minds
Kurka appreciates the courage and devotion of her pro-life predecessors. And she agrees that a presence outside abortion clinics keeps the focus on “real issues.”