The first ever Pro-Life women’s conference is being held in Dallas, Texas this weekend. This conference lineup is indicative of how a new generation of young women are taking the reins of the pro-life movement and leading it into new horizons.
The conference is being hosted by former Texas Planned Parenthood abortion facility director Abby Johnson and her organization And Then There Were None (ATTWN). ATTWN is a one-of-a-kind pro-life ministry that reaches out to abortion facility workers, encourages them to leave the industry, and supports them in recovery and in searching for a new, life-affirming career. ATTWN has helped guide over 200 former abortion facility workers out of the industry, including 7 abortionists. This is just one new way pro-lifers are thinking outside of the box and meeting many different needs within the pro-life movement.
Leah Jacobson, founder and CEO of the Guiding Star Project, a 501(c)3 organization that seeks to provide holistic and comprehensive women’s health care across the country, will be speaking about health care in the feminist movement. Leah envisions Guiding Star centers as the pro-life, pro-women alternative to Planned Parenthood facilities, because Guiding Star centers focus on supporting women’s health rather than suppressing our natural biological functions. Leah’s centers represent an exciting new front for pro-lifers: not just protesting Planned Parenthood, but presenting a viable health care alternative that recognizes the dignity and worth of every person, born and unborn.
Laura Ricketts’ discussion of pregnancy loss and the pro-life movement will be an important contribution. One in four women will experience a pregnancy loss, miscarriage, or still birth. Sadly, many of these women suffer and grieve in silence and feel alone in their pain. How do we as a pro-life community minister to them? What resources are available to help them? How do we speak about miscarriage and stillbirth in a life-affirming manner that recognizes the dignity of the unborn child and the pain of the grieving parents? Laura has a lot of personal experience on this topic and will be sharing valuable resources for addressing this issue in the pro-life movement.
Rebecca Kiessling was conceived in rape and will be sharing her powerful story and the pro-life response to the ‘hard cases’. Her organization, Save the 1, focuses on bringing attention to the humanity of unborn children conceived in rape. So often children conceived in rape are conveniently bargained away in an effort to pass pro-life legislation. Rebecca and her organization put a face to those exceptions and fight for legislation that protects every unborn child, no matter how they were conceived.
Melissa Ohden and Claire Culwell, both abortion survivors, will share their remarkable stories of survival and healing, and how that relates to building a culture of life. Lauren Muzyka will share the secrets of success of Sidewalk Advocates for Life and how their peaceful, loving approach to sidewalk counseling is changing hearts of abortion-minded women.
Sadly, the Hispanic community is one of the largest targets of the abortion industry. In response, Astrid Bennett Gutierrez of The VIDA Initiative will be discussing the importance of activating Latina women in the pro-life movement. The Catholic Pro-Life Committee of Dallas is also sponsoring an entire Hispanic track of panels discussing ministry, outreach, and healing for the Hispanic community.
New Wave Feminists and Secular Pro-Life both represent alternative approaches and focus their outreach on groups that we don’t normally consider pro-life. They will be discussing ways to reach secular and feminist groups. Their non-traditional approaches bring a fresh perspective to the pro-life movement.
Star Parker will offer the keynote address Sunday morning, sharing her story of past abortions and post-abortion healing, as well as addressing the racist aspects of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. And there will be much, much more!
This conference is a significant opportunity to determine what the goals and vision of the true women’s movement, the pro-life movement, will be in the future. It is an amazing chance to learn about various pro-life ministries and outreaches, and how you can get involved in an area that fits your vocation and uses your talents. You can still sign up for the conference here. Some panel discussions will be live streamed throughout the weekend and videos might be available afterwards. Watch ATTWN’s Facebook page for more details.
Deirdre Cooper and her husband live in Tennessee with their six children. She is a public policy analyst for Texas Alliance for Life, one of the leading pro-life organizations in Texas, where she successfully lobbied for the sonogram law, Choose Life license plate, defunding Planned Parenthood, and HB 2. She is also a board member for And Then There Were None Pro-Life Outreach. She enjoys coffee, soccer, home schooling her children and playing board games with her family. The opinions presented here are her own.