Life issues

Scholarships honor those who have been involved in movement

The four scholarships awarded to winners of the Respect Life Apostolate’s annual Creative Writing Contest are named after individuals who have made significant contributions to the pro-life movement in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

The establishment of the four scholarships dates back to the 1980s, according to Maureen Kane, program coordinator for the Respect Life Apostolate. Each are worth $1,000. Winners may use them to attend the Catholic high school of their choice. Those who choose to attend a public high school will receive a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond.

Living the virtue of chastity

Annual creative writing contest presents young Catholics with a chance to shine in their understanding of living a chaste life.

A highlight of the archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate’s activities is the annual Creative Writing Contest.

“The goal of the essay contest is to invite eighth-graders to reflect on the many blessings of the virtue of chastity, as well as the relationship between chastity and abortion, before they enter high school,” said Christina Heddell, interim director of the Respect Life Apostolate.

Project Rachel annual retreat planned

Project Rachel, the Catholic Church’s ministry to those who have suffered trauma from an abortion experience, will hold its annual women’s retreat on Saturday, May 2.

The retreat, directed by the Sisters of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart, will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 6 p.m.

The theme is “He Sent Forth His Word and Healed Them,” from Psalm 107:20.

Project Rachel annual retreat planned

Project Rachel, the Catholic Church’s ministry to those who have suffered trauma from an abortion experience, will hold its annual women’s retreat on Saturday, May 2.

The retreat, directed by the Sisters of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart, will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 6 p.m.

The theme is “He Sent Forth His Word and Healed Them,” from Psalm 107:20. 

SLU pro-life group names endowment

St. Louis University's Students for Life organization has announced the naming of the Virginia D. Murphy Endowment for Pregnant and Parenting Student Assistance.

The announcement was made last month at a talk given by Alveda King, daughter of the late civil rights activist A.D. King and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The endowment, established last fall, will provide resources for SLU students who face the challenges of an unexpected pregnancy and parenting, so they can stay on the path toward earning a degree. Funding will help students cover the costs of tuition, housing, prenatal care,child-care and other areas. The endowment is named after the late Virginia Murphy, a SLU alum and longtime advocate for the defense of the unborn. She was a member of St. Pius V Parish in South St. Louis.

Coerced abortion bill among legislation in Mo.

Several years ago, "Terry" visited the Pregnancy Resource Center in North County because she suspected she was pregnant.

After receiving a positive test result, Terry confided to the counselor there that while she did not want to have an abortion, she was afraid her father would want otherwise.

Several hours after her visit, Terry called the center in tears. She had locked herself in the bathroom after her father became angry when he learned about her pregnancy. He was throwing things, and she was scared. In the background, the counselor could hear the father pounding on the door and yelling.

In a follow-up call, the counselor learned that Terry ended up having the abortion. The young woman said her father had told her that if she didn’t abort, he would "beat the baby" out of her and proceeded to assault her.

Her story is one of numerous tales of area women who have been coerced into having abortions, according to Pat Drury, center manager at North County PRC. A bill proposed before the Missouri legislature is aimed at putting a stop to the practice.

SB264, sponsored by Sen. Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, would make it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion. The legislation enhances penalties for many already existing crimes, if the object is to coerce a woman into having an abortion. Those crimes can include kidnapping, assault and harassment.

The bill also would change the laws on consent requirements for obtaining an abortion.

Earlier this week, a group of senators had launched a filibuster against the bill. As of Review press time, it had not been reintroduced for debate.

A companion bill, HB46, handled by Rep. Bryan Pratt, R-Blue Springs and sponsored by Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O’Fallon, recently passed the House.

The coercion bill is one of several pro-life measures being supported by the Missouri Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops, and other pro-life organizations.

Deacon Larry Weber, executive director of the Catholic conference, called the legislation "encouraging" and urged Catholics to contact their senators to ask them to support it.

"We’re hopeful and we’re working very hard to get it passed this year," said Deacon Samuel Lee of Campaign Life Missouri, a local pro-life lobbying organization.

Drury said that roughly 80 percent of women who visit the North County PRC are considering abortion, "not based on their heart’s desire but because someone is pressuring them," including a parent or boyfriend.

"The reality is that they are being coerced," she said. Several other bills circulating throughout the Missouri legislature have received support from the Catholic conference, including HB10, sponsored by Rep. Allen Icet, R-Wildwood, which would allocate funding for the Alternatives to Abortion program.

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