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From left: Norma McCorvey, Lila Rose, Bryan Kemper ||Lorie Shaull, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.0 / Live Action, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 / via priestsforlife.org
By ChurchPOP Editor, April 14, 2018
David Bereit, founder of the amazingly successful prayer-based pro-life organization 40 Days for Life, just entered the Catholic Church this Easter. When I mentioned this to a friend, they were surprised to hear that he wasn’t already Catholic.
Indeed, while evangelical Protestants generally vote pro-life, on-the-ground activism seems to be dominated by Catholics. Of course, lots of people who join the pro-life movement are not Catholic – but many don’t remain that way.
Bereit is just the latest leader in the pro-life movement to convert to Catholicism.
Lila Rose was raised in a devout evangelical protestant family. She founded the pro-life organization Live Action in 2003 when she was just 15 years old. By 2009, she had joined the Catholic Church.
Bryan Kemper was baptized Catholic but his family didn’t practice the faith. As an adult, he was a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. In 2003, he founded a youth-oriented arm of Priests for Life called Stand True, and in 2011 he came back to the Catholic Church.
Abby Johnson was an Episcopalian Christian who ran a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. After personally witnessing an abortion in 2009, she changed her mind on abortion and became pro-life (which she recounts in her book Unplanned). In 2012, she joined the Catholic Church.
And this is just the more recent crop of converts.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson founded NARAL and helped lead the push for legalized abortion in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States. He ran one of the largest abortion clinics in the world and personally performed thousands of abortions. But due to the advent of ultrasound technology, he changed his mind on abortion and joined the pro-life movement just a few years after Roe v. Wade, the infamous 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Decision that erroneously ruled that abortion was protected by the Constitution. In 1996, he was baptized Catholic by Cardinal John O’Connor himself in New York City’s St. Patrick Cathedral.
And then there’s the most amazing convert of them all.
Norma McCorvey had her crisis pregnancy situation exploited by pro-abortion activists and was thrust into American politics as “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade. In the 1980s, she revealed her identity and was hailed as a hero of the pro-choice movement. In the mid-1990s, she changed her mind through an unlikely friendship with the protestant Christian pro-life activist Flip Benham and was baptized a protestant Christian in 1995. Now active in the pro-life movement, she converted to Catholicism in 1998.
And there are certainly more examples.
The Catholic Church has been against abortion for two thousand years. While many non-Catholic Christians as well as non-Christians oppose abortion, the pro-life movement is full of Catholics. What this means is that when people start working in the pro-life movement, they end up working alongside Catholics and forming friendships they might not have had otherwise.
And when people are shown the beauty, consistency, and vitality of true Catholicism, in contrast to commonly held stereotypes, it seems many people end up wanting to join.