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More than 50 pro-life leaders from across the archdiocese received legislative updates, lobbying tips and inspiration at a Federal Legislative Seminar sponsored by the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office on Sept. 17 at St. Joseph Parish in Needham.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Raymond Flynn, and Loretta Fleming, of the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA) in Washington, gave participants much to think about and follow-up on in local pro-life efforts.
Ambassador Flynn summarized the frustration and challenge in Catholic efforts to promote the Gospel of Life. “We’ve got the best possible message… rooted in truth,” he told the group “but we don’t have courageous political messengers.”
Commenting on the lack of visible, Catholic, pro-life elected officials at the state and federal levels he said, “Nobody wants to stand up to the plate… we need to develop pro-life leaders.” Flynn hopes that a new organization, Your Catholic Voice, will encourage more Catholics to bring their faith perspective into the public debate on the life issues.
Fleming, field coordinator for NCHLA, followed Flynn’s remarks with in-depth insights and materials on pending federal legislation, the intricacies of the federal legislative process and how pro-life measures have been stymied from passage. She noted that there have been many votes on pro-life issues in this session of Congress, eight in the Senate and nine in the House, ranging from partial birth abortion to cloning to the use of federal funds for international family planning organizations that promote abortion.
Senators Kennedy and Kerry voted pro-abortion on each of the eight votes. On the House side, eight of the 10 Massachusetts Congressmen (John Olver, James McGovern, Barney Frank, Marty Meehan, John Tierney, Edward Markey, Michael Capuano and William Delahunt) also voted pro-abortion on every measure. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield had two pro-life votes out of nine. Rep. Stephen Lynch of South Boston was the only Congressman who voted pro-life in a majority of the bills (five out of nine votes).