ALL’s Associate Program
by: Leslie Tignor
Rather than focusing on just one Associate group this week, we’ve prepared a summary of activities involving a number of our Associates over the past several months. There are so many wonderful people involved in our Associate groups and all of them have been doing tremendous work!
The beginning of spring marked the launch of our year-long tour of the country to meet, recognize, thank, and provide support to all of the pro-life organizations that make up the ALL Associate program. Our director of outreach, Rey Flores, began day one in Dallas, Texas, where he was joined by STOPP director Rita Diller. They met JoAnn Murray of STOPP of Dallas, Gerry Brundage of Texoma Pro-Life Association, Gail Kleinschmidt from the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth, and many dynamic leaders from a number of local churches. While participating in several welcoming events and meetings, Rey signed up four groups to sponsor National Pro-Life T-Shirt Week and five to sponsor The Pill Kills campaign.
Moving on to Waco, Rey and Rita met with John Pisciotta and at least 10 other ardent prayer warriors, sidewalk counselors, and other supporters of Pro-Life Waco. (For more on the work of Pro-Life Waco, see the Associate article here.)
On the last leg of the Texas trip, Rey and Rita met with members of Houston Coalition for Life in the shadow of the largest Planned Parenthood facility in Texas. Christine Melchor and Suzanne Miral explained their outreach and provided a tour of HCL’s customized mobile crisis pregnancy center. Later that last day, Rey and Rita met with Judy Vatterot at The Foundation for Life, a crisis pregnancy center established in Houston 36 years ago!
The next part of Rey’s journey took him to America’s heartland where he met Steve Zach of STOPP of Omaha, Mary Ratigan from the Pregnancy Resource Center of Beatrice, and Mike Dycus with Central Nebraskans United for Life. Rey noted in his summary of the trip that, as he travels around the country, he meets more and more people committed to the pro-life movement: “[T]here have been many dedicated pro-life warriors, chipping away at the stone of the culture of death, some for over 20 years. Though their names may not be known nationally and they are not the ones being sought after by the media outlets when abortion or contraception is the hot topic, these are the people nevertheless that have made the most difference.” (For more on Steve Zach, see the Associate article here.)
At the time of this writing, Rey is visiting with Associate groups in New York and New Jersey. We’re looking forward to hearing about his adventures there! In the meantime, there have been a lot of other very busy Associate groups:
Children of God for Life announced on Monday, April 30, the stunning news that PepsiCo will not use aborted fetal cell line HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney) in its contractual agreement with Senomyx to develop flavor enhancers for its beverages. COG for Life’s executive director, Debi Vinnedge, hailed PepsiCo’s decision as a major breakthrough and achievement by thousands of concerned consumers who have been writing and boycotting PepsiCo beverages since last May. A letter from PepsiCo’s vice president of Global Public Policy, Paul Boykas, stated that, “Senomyx will not use HEK cells or any other tissues or cell lines derived from human embryos or fetuses for research performed on behalf of PepsiCo.” Debi’s press release is here.
“With the success of the pro-life boycott against PepsiCo, relieved pro-lifers all over the country were cracking open cans of Mountain Dew, but few were more gratified than twelve-year-old Gene Rosa, who was in the midst of an effort to end Pepsi consumption in every Catholic school in his diocese.” Read Gene’s story inspired by the boycott here.
How is personhood connected to slavery, Native Americans, the disabled, and the preborn? A brand-new, groundbreaking animated video from Pro-Life Wisconsin makes the connection in a visually entertaining way.
“We aimed to engage viewers through the use of animation, and this video really is the first animated video to discuss personhood,” said Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin. “This video is especially important given the high rate of abortions in Wisconsin and the United States. We must work toward the day when all babies, at all stages of development and in all circumstances, are protected in law. And that legal protection will occur through personhood,” Hamill concluded. The video is available on Pro-Life Wisconsin’s YouTube channel here.
Gerry Thibodeau (PLEA – Pro-Life Education Association) reports that, on May 15, Maine governor Paul LePage signed a 2013 budget bill that cut state funding of the Maine Family Planning Association (FPA) by $400,000. FPA is Maine’s largest abortion provider and also provides funds for Planned Parenthood. When budget cuts were being considered by the legislature, Leslie Sneddon, PLEA’s vice president, led a delegation of PLEA members to Augusta—including past presidents Ron Stauble and Gerry Thibodeau. Each testified during budget hearings held jointly by the Appropriations and Health and Human Services Committees in support of the governor’s $400,000 cut to FPA. No other pro-life or religious organization appeared before the committees in support of the cuts.
Congratulations to all of our Associate groups and everyone who benefits from their persistent pro-life witness!
For more information on the Associate program, please visit the program page at www.all.org/associates.