October 10, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - I met Kortney Blythe Gordon in February 2011 when she came to Athens, Georgia to lead a training session for our fledgling Students For Life group. She showed up on a Saturday morning, cheerful and ready to talk. She led us through the basics of group organization and leadership, ideas for activities, practical advice, and tips from her experiences with many pro-life groups and events throughout the country. After the session, we all went out to Chik-Fil-A where she chatted with us for more than an hour about ideas for the semester and about life in the pro-life movement.

We were all encouraged by her warmth and enthusiasm. Kortney’s passion for helping unborn children and their mothers was infectious. I remember her speaking with pride about her uncle’s sidewalk counseling ministry, and the dozens of babies he had saved over the years. And I remember her showing us a picture of herself holding a set of twins that had been spared from abortion through her personal efforts. I also remember her speaking with excitement about her then-fiancee and her upcoming wedding. The energy from that event propelled us into what turned out to be a challenging but very rewarding semester doing pro-life work at UGA.

Kortney gave us lots of good advice, and through Students For Life she provided us with lots of helpful materials. But the most important thing she brought to us was her presence. She was a personal contact with the national pro-life movement. She showed us that we were not alone, that there were people throughout the country working hard to put an end to the daily execution of thousands of unborn children. I can tell you that anyone who has been involved in a pro-life group knows how easy it is to feel isolated and paralyzed by the apathy or hostility of those on your campus. Kortney modeled for us a dynamic and gracious pro-life presence, bold but kind, passionate and unafraid about protecting the unborn. I’ve enjoyed seeing her posts on Facebook since then as she ran around the country from college to college and group to group, planting and nurturing young pro-life leaders and showing them that the work they do matters. I liked thinking about the hope and enthusiasm that she was bringing as she planted each new group.

Kortney was a full-time pro-life leader. She was on the front lines against opponents with very deep pockets and the support of the political and cultural elite. She could have been making more money doing less challenging work at any number of jobs. But she chose to devote her life to speaking up for those who truly have no voice, unborn boys and girls. She did it with a joy and enthusiasm that can only come from living a message of hope. As someone pointed out to me recently, no little girl grows up wanting to have an abortion. It is only despair that could drive a mother to turn against her unborn child. The pro-choice movement accepts that despair and even celebrates it. The pro-life movement does not. The pro-life movement reaches out to mothers and fathers and says “This is not the end. There is hope for you and hope for your child.”

That’s what Kortney’s life said, and she lived that message to the end. She died yesterday in a fatal car accident on her way home from presenting at a pro-life conference in Georgia, attended by pro-life groups from UGA, GA Tech, Mercer University, and other colleges. Her unborn daughter Sophy died with her. Another Students for Life of America staffer, Jon Scharfenberger, was seriously injured in the crash.  The last day of Kortney’s life was spent speaking, working, and traveling on behalf of the unborn. She lost her life in the very act of inspiring others to speak up for those thousands of unborn children who lose their lives every day. I met her only once and I miss her already. I know that the many others she inspired, comforted, and aided who will miss her too. My thoughts and prayers are with her widowed husband Ben, her family, and all her friends.

Kortney and Sophy are in the hands of the Love that knit them both together in the womb. In trust of that Love we pray:


Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon them,
May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed,
Through the mercy of God, rest in peace, Amen.