Right to Life walk raises awareness of organization's stand against abortion

PLATTSBURGH Thirty-five years following the monumental U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion, the crusade to reverse the decision rages on. Members and supporters of Champlain Valley Right to Life, a local pro-life movement founded in 1971, turned out Sunday for the organizations annual March for Life. More than 100 walkers filled the Newman Center on Broad Street in preparation for the walk, much to the delight of organizers Bart J. and Wanda Gaffney. Weve been organizing this for about 13 years, said Mrs. Gaffney. These walks are really important. You have to have your face out in the public otherwise people forget about the issue. While the overall effect walks have on the mind-set of those who witness them can never truly be known, Mr. Gaffney said he has witnessed proof their actions are making a difference. We know it saves lives. One woman stopped her car and told us she once was going to have an abortion when she saw us and it made her change her mind, said Mr. Gaffney. She showed us her pride and joy, a baby of six months old, in the back seat. Additional women have joined the Gaffneys and the dozens of others on the annual walk, with their children in tow children who otherwise wouldnt be here had they chose to have an abortion, said Mr. Gaffney. That news is music to the ears of this years featured speaker, the Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, Pro-Life Missionaries to the World. The more people who witness the walk and come to the realization abortion destroys human life, said the Rev. Euteneuer, the better chance the world has to reverse and, in some countries, prevent the legalization of abortion. The progress weve seen has been more in the culture, and the culture seems to be changing a little bit, even though the process has been very slow, said the Rev. Euteneuer. We havent made very many gains in the political realm, but politics change when the culture changes. The Rev. Euteneuer said there has been, however, a noticeable hardening of sides on the issue of abortion, pitting those for and against the matter against each other. While some progress has been made, it still has drawn the battle lines much more clearly and forcefully, said the Rev. Euteneuer. Its not that youre getting more aggressive, its just that youre getting more forthright in standing up and speaking out about this. As something that affects all of society, the more of society that you can marshal on the side of life, the more youre going to have an impact on society in time, he added. In his six years of service to Human Life International and in his 20 years overall in the priesthood, the Rev. Euteneuer said he has heard many tales of regret from women who have had abortions and from those who have been involved in the process. The stories are extremely personal and saddening to the Rev. Euteneuer, and are ones he wished never had to be. Whenever someone participates in an abortion, whether being involved in it or having one, theres always some kind of desolation or destruction that goes on and later on, they always suffer, said the Rev. Euteneuer. Whether they regret it or not is a different story, but suffering often times leads them to that regret or repentance. When they get to that point, they can have a conversion of heart and turn around and be reconciled with God and with man and change their lives. The Rev. Euteneuer said testimonies from women who have regretted their decision to have an abortion has many times led other women to change their mind about the abortion of their own child. Ideally, a world without legalized abortion would be one he and people like the Gaffneys would like to live in, said the Rev. Euteneuer. Not only would he like to see the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the Rev. Euteneuer said he would also like to see a Constitutional amendment outright banning the practice. If that is written into our Constitution, then no state can tamper with it, said the Rev. Euteneuer. Thats the ideal scenario. Lacking that, I would like a total conversion of heart on the matter for all people. Even if you have laws against it, people still practice it because they havent had a conversion of heart. We need to preserve the sanctity of human life.

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