In the midst of a motorcycle rally and a fraternity conference at the Marriott Hotel in New Orleans, hundreds of pro-lifers arrived for the 45th National Right to Life Convention, July 9-11. The three-day event hosted over 60 workshops and general sessions, including speeches given by the 2016 presidential candidates: Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Rick Santorum and Gov. Bobby Jindal.
As the New Orleans streets crowded with tourists in beads, family reunions and streetcars passing back and forth, pro-lifers declared to be a voice for the voiceless. This weekend meant business in regards to learning of the new discoveries and accomplishments of the National Right to Life and pro-life movement.
Fr. Terry Gensemer spoke at two workshops with members of the National Pro-Life Religious Council (NPRC), an organization for which he serves on the Board of Directors. The NPRC seeks to unite Christian denominations to affirm the sanctity of life through Biblical truths and traditions. Between the two sessions, he discussed the need for pro-life church leadership and how to overcome pro-life apathy in the church.
Fr. Terry encouraged listeners to speak to their pastors who are silent about right-to-life issues from the pulpit. To questions regarding how to respond to a resistant pastor or priest, Fr. Terry said, “Show them what’s written in your church’s canon, your denomination’s principles about abortion. Let your pastor know that the sanctity of life is important. You’re part of the church.”
He also emphasized the importance of youth participation in pro-life activities and events. Raising up the next generation to be strong, pro-life leaders is a necessity for the movement to continue.
A National Teens for Life Convention followed a track of workshops for young adults. This involved testimonies from pro-life leaders, education on abortion facts and what teens can do for the movement.
Other workshops varied from topics such as pro-life outreach, social media, medical ethics, legislation and more. A session on Adult Stem Cell Research covered the successes of this science as beneficial, life-affirming and more successful than Embryonic Stem Cell Research, which hasn’t made any significant progress.
Dr. Patricia Gensemer, who attended many of the scientific sessions, commented, “The media portrays pro-life researchers and doctors as somehow out of touch or less intelligent. However, the presentations I attended were clearly from professionals in the top of their field, articulate and highly-informed.”
Another session proved how medical journals push the proof of the Abortion-Breast Cancer link under the rug. Findings in China and other areas, where abortion is more prevalent, are proving the connection.
CEC for Life’s intern, Hayley Bifulco, said in regards to this session, “The amount of research that goes on behind the scenes is awesome. I really want to see it come to the forefront and ahead of what the media and society tries to sell.”
Outside of the session rooms, tables from different organizations provided literature and merchandise for the convention participants. Groups included NPRC, Stand True Pro-Life Outreach, Priests For Life, EWTN, Real Choices Australia, Louisiana Right To Life and several others. This gave an opportunity to share the stories of what others across the nation are doing to defend life and how pro-lifers can support one another.
Sarah Howell, Fr. Terry’s assistant, said, “I met several people at the Convention who have been in this movement for a very long time. Their commitment and legacy is inspiring, and something I intend to uphold, as my own generation comes alongside these leaders and continues building a culture of life.”
Throughout the event, speakers reminded everyone that they are a voice for the voiceless. It is up to the people to advocate for the preborn, educate others and never stop fighting for the right to life.