DROGHED, Ireland, March 21, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – She was young, beautiful, talented, and confident. The 19-year-old had just won the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest that launched her into immediate fame, an exploding pop career, and the promise of every success. Forty-four years ago to this day, the world was her oyster.
But Rosemary Scallon, Ireland’s sweetheart best known as Dana, did not let her 1970 win go to her head. Instead of rejecting her Christian faith as she was eagerly embraced by the world, she found herself longing to deepen her relationship with God.
Winning was “part of my faith growth,” she told LifeSiteNews in an interview in Ireland earlier this month. “I realized there was a God and I was taking steps towards an adult relationship with him.”
Dana found time to marry and have children while releasing chart-smashing hits and producing her own television series.
But difficulties with her first pregnancy helped Dana realize just how precious was the new life she carried within. She expressed her feelings at that time in a tender song called “Little Baby yet Unborn.”
“Little baby yet unborn, in my womb so safe and warm,” run the lyrics of her motherly lullaby. “Are you a girl, are you a boy, little gift that brings such joy.”
It was during Dana’s second pregnancy — while she was once again contemplating the beauty of the new life within — that she felt what she called an “absolute need to be actively involved in pro-life work.”
But it wasn’t until hearing the testimonies of post-abortion women at a pro-life conference in Kansas City that Dana was “confronted with the reality of what that very neat little word ‘abortion’ means.”
Dana heard women testify how abortion had shattered their physical, mental, and emotional equilibrium. She heard of depression, feelings of unworthiness, guilt, anger, shame, sorrow. She heard women grieving for their children lost to abortion.
“I was devastated. I cried for three days and three nights,” she said.
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“And they talked about their children, from the moment of their abortion counting the years forward. One would say: ‘My John would be six.’ Another would say: ‘My Mary would be thirty.’ ‘My Catherine would be twelve.’”
“Their child was before them every day, in the faces of other children – at birthday parties, school picnics,” she said.
Witnessing the pain of these women, Dana knew she could remain silent no more about abortion.
“I realized that by my silence, I contributed to women not knowing what she was losing [through abortion, resulting in the] death of a child, the deep wounding of a mother and family.”
“I knew I had to be actively involved. I had to speak out so that no woman would ever be able to say as they said to me: ‘We didn’t know. We didn’t understand.’”
Dana never forgot the faces of the women sharing their grief and pain at the conference. She began to find ways to include her newly strengthened pro-life convictions in her speaking engagements and music.
Her hit song “We are One Body,” chosen as the theme song for the 1993 World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado, directly mentions the unborn.
“Can you hear them crying, can you feel their pain? Will you feed my hungry, will you help my lame? See the unborn baby, the forgotten one, they are not forsaken, they are not unloved,” Dana sang for the late Pope John Paul II at the event, leading over 280,000 people with her stirring words and melody.
In 1997, Dana entered politics with a nomination to run in the Irish presidential election.
Not forgetting the faces of the women, she ran her campaign on defending life from conception and protecting Christian family values, both enshrined in the Irish Constitution and both being undermined by a heavy-handed European Union. Dana managed to beat out one of Ireland’s major political parties — earning 14 percent of the vote — but did not win the election.
In 1999, Dana became elected as a Member of the European Parliament, a position she held until 2004. During this time, in spite of intense opposition, she courageously defended her country’s constitutional protection of the unborn and constitutionally-backed marriage law that defined marriage as between a man and woman.
Dana continues through her music and speaking engagements to work for peace, Christian family values, and respect for life.
“I love to sing, but I love people,” she said.