At CPAC, articulate pro-life women discuss ‘hard questions for hard cases’
March 3, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – This past weekend’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) featured a lively panel on sanctity of life issues. This panel, entitled “Hard Questions for the Hard Cases: How to Defend Life” featured four articulate pro-life women. The panelists included Alison Centofante, the Director of Strategic Communications at Live Action, Emily Berning, the President and Co-Founder of Let them Live, and Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach, a newly elected Republican Congresswoman who represents the 7th district of Minnesota. The panel was moderated by Kelly Jane Torrance, the Associate Editorial Page Editor of the New York Post.
As the title indicated, the panel intended to give CPAC attendees information about how to best defend unborn children – particularly those conceived in difficult circumstances. The first question involved how to best engage people who were not religious. Congresswoman Fischbach commented on developments in ultrasound technology. She stated that “science is showing us so much about the humanity of the unborn.” Berning, whose non-profit provides financial assistance to pregnant women in need, emphasized that they make it a point support all women. “We wanted to switch up the narrative and make sure we were reaching beyond the church,” she said.
The next question dealt with pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother. Centofante stated that, “Abortion is the direct killing of that baby. It is violent. It is terrible.” Regarding specific situations where a pregnancy poses a risk to the life of the mother, Centofante said that the world’s leading OB-GYNs, including some former abortionists, state that the goal should always to save both mother and child. She added that either an early delivery or an emergency C-section are better options for a woman facing a life-threatening pregnancy. Congresswoman Fischbach also warned attendees to be wary of pro-life legislation that contains “health” exemptions. This is because health can be “defined broadly” and limit the ability of pro-life laws to protect preborn children.
Torrance then asked the panelists about unborn children diagnosed with serious disabilities. Here the panelists emphasized that these children are human beings worthy of legal protection. Centofante related a story about two pregnant sisters whose unborn children were both diagnosed with disabilities. One chose perinatal and palliative care and one chose abortion. In the aftermath “one has memories and other has a secret,” she said.
“Abortion is traumatizing,” added Behring. “It is not an easy solution.” Centofante also added that is “not one person’s job to decide if another person’s life is fulfilled.” She added that “90 percent of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. These are amazing children!” She urged pro-lifers to “step up and defend this demographic.”
The final question posed by Torrance asked the panelists how to respond to the argument that pro-life laws do not result in fewer abortions, but more abortions in unsafe circumstances. In their responses, the panelists emphasized that legal abortions are often unsafe. Congresswoman Fischbach stated that abortions are not safe for either the baby or the woman. She added that many women who obtain abortions have complications including perforated uteruses. She complained that supporters of legal abortion opposed a bill she introduced in the Minnesota State Senate that would license abortion clinics like other medical facilities. “The media refuses to cover instances where the abortion industry fails.”
Added Centofante, “Tanya Reeves died!”
Toward the end of the panel, the panelists emphasized the support that was available for pregnant women in need. “Circumstances are temporary. Abortion is permanent,” said Berning, “Circumstances do not define you as a mother or define you as a person.” Berning added that pro-lifers can give women more options and can help with finances and emotional support. Centofante echoed these comments saying that “Pro-aborts are the only ones saying that you cannot do it all.” She also mentioned the resources available to pregnant women stating that “All the things we do, we do for free.”
The moderator Kelly Jane Torrance concluded the panel by commending the panelists. She stated that “You lovely ladies answered every question with aplomb.” Because of the strong and insightful comments of all the panelists, Torrance felt that “minds were changed.”
Michael J. New is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America and an Associate Scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_J_New.