Congresswoman bursts into tears at March for Life press conference
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 4, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life congresswoman broke in tears as she discussed abortion, support for women in crisis pregnancies, and how pro-life is pro-woman.
Speaking in front of dozens of reporters and pro-life advocates on Capitol Hill, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-MO and a former teacher, described how one of her students was pressured by her mother to have an abortion – shortly after the girl miscarried her child.
"It was all I could do to restrain myself. I just wanted to embrace the girl," Hartzler said, as tears poured down her face. "It's so important that we get to the friends and the parents with accurate information. ... Sadly, [the student] didn't have a friend" to go to when she became pregnant.
Hartzler was one of six speakers at a press conference announcing the March for Life theme of 2016: "Pro-Life and Pro-Woman Go Hand in Hand!" She was joined by March for Life president Jeanne Mancini; Helen Alvare of Women Speak for Themselves; Feminists for Life's Serrin Foster; Leann Baumer of Assist Pregnancy Center in Falls Church, Virginia; and Mary McClusky, who is the assistant director of Project Rachel Ministry with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"A woman's capacity for motherhood is a gift, not a liability," said Mancini. "Life empowers women. Capacity for life empowers women."
Mancini accused Planned Parenthood of being " basically profit-driven" and said the abortion giant "offers very little actual health services to women, and further lies to them about their number-one product: abortion."
"We know today that abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women," said Foster in her remarks, noting that feminists originally opposed abortion, and that her group was founded one year before Roe v. Wade.
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Alvare praised the energy of the pro-life movement. "You need things like [the March for Life], in addition to all the reason and all the lawsuits and all the legislation [that] make an idea a movement," she said. Alvare went on to note how women affiliated with her group challenge the orthodoxy at women's magazines and elsewhere that pro-abortion points of view represent those of women.
Foster spoke of the importance of education for young women, noting that a Gallup poll found that education changes how women view abortion. She said that "in high school, girls were 47 percent pro-life, and 37 percent called themselves pro-choice. ... By the time they graduated [college], 73 percent supported abortion," said the activist.
McClusky spoke about how women recover from the harms of abortion through Project Rachel. "Your child can be entrusted to God's loving care," she told mothers. "And you're not alone."
"These ministries have been around since the pro-life movement began," she said, describing a common perception that "just as the Church condemns the act of abortion, that it also condemns individuals who have been involved in an abortion" as "mischaracterizations" that are "dangerous."
Baumer told LifeSiteNews during a question-and-answer session that "close to 98 percent of our clients, even clients who go on to choose abortion, tell us they would recommend our services to a friend or family member."
Responding to accusations by the abortion industry that pro-life centers don't help women, Baumer said that "we're obviously speaking to the needs of women. We're meeting them where they are. We're providing services that abortion providers aren't."
"Often, that's time, that's accessibility, that's a personal face, and that's something women value in the midst of a pregnancy decision."
After the press conference, Heartbeat International's Peggy Hartshorn, whose group represents approximately half of America's 2,500 pro-life pregnancy centers, 250 adoption centers, and 450 maternity homes, told LifeSiteNews that "no woman should ever have to face an unexpected pregnancy alone."
"When we come alongside a woman with information and compassionate support, she is empowered to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved. Pregnancy centers, medical clinics, and other pro-woman non-profits set the true standard for compassion and support because we believe every woman deserves love and support during an unexpected pregnancy."