Over the weekend, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser participated in the 2011 Faith and Freedom Conference held in Washington, D.C. Marjorie joined pro-life/ pro-family leaders for two panels entitled Pro-Life Women and Catholic Citizen Action. Driving both discussions was the ongoing effort across the states to defund Planned Parenthood of taxpayer dollars.
During the pro-life women panel discussion, Dannenfelser was joined by Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch of Wisconsin and former State Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana. Dannenfelser set the tone by giving a brief overview of the original feminists and suffragists—including their pro-life stances. Pro-life women in office today are, in fact, the inheritors of the true feminist mantle of empowerment and protection of life.
As Dannenfelser noted, it is these pro-life women who are “standing up in the halls of Congress and in the governorships across the country to fight Planned Parenthood where they live.” Former Indiana State Representative, and Congressional candidate, Jackie Walorski gave an update on the effort in Indiana to defund Planned Parenthood. She rallied the crowd by saying, “I am from the great State of Indiana and we did just defund Planned Parenthood in our state. It can be done!”
Of course, she also summed up the difficulties facing those standing “alone against Planned Parenthood.” Walorski vowed her state’s efforts would prevail even in the face of a “direct attack from Barack Obama and the White House who has been on the front pages of every major publication saying, ‘Indiana, I’m coming after you.’” Perhaps more importantly, Walorski noted, “Even though the majority of the people in the State of Indiana do not want their tax money connected to abortion, even though the majority rules, this president and this opinion of this administration is to take all the Medicaid money away now from the State of Indiana and leave the most vulnerable people completely out there helpless because the government is trying to make a political point and score points in our state.”
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch of Wisconsin also spoke about her state’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. She stated emphatically that it was unacceptable that, “in 2009, [Planned Parenthood] got $12 million in federal and state matching money from Medicare.” Kleefisch proceeded to inform the crowd about the Joint Committee on Finance’s herculean effort to ensure that Planned Parenthood’s funding was drastically cut. She summed up her comments by stating, “We need to renew our commitment to protect the unborn. We need to renew our commitment to protect our most vulnerable citizens…because we need to protect the person hood of the littlest and the most vulnerable among us.”
At the afternoon panel discussion, Catholic Citizen Action, Marjorie joined, Matt Smith and Deal Hudson of the Catholic Advocate, Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage, and Larry Cirignano of the New Jersey Faith and Freedom Coalition. While the discussion was broader in nature than the morning panel, once again, the pro-life, pro-family leaders discussed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. Specifically, the leaders called on citizens to take a leading role in pressuring their representatives to take action against groups like Planned Parenthood by organizing their friends, family, and like-minded Church members.
The pro-life movement and pro-life women were well represented at the 2011 Faith and Freedom Conference. If you were unable to attend the conference, please take the time to watch the full pro-life women panel here. The full Catholic Citizen Action panel can be viewed here.