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Archives Policy event draws crowd

April 3, 2019

By Colleen Miner
Diocesan director, Respect Life Office

Albany – More than 1,200 people from around the state recently gathered to discuss public policy at an annual Legislative Day.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (albanyupdate.com), a state organization that educates and activates evangelical Christians regarding matters of public policy, and New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation (newyorkfamilies.org) co-sponsored the annual event on March 19 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. The theme was “A New Season: Where Do We Go From Here?”

“New York has entered a new season of governmental authority,” said event organizer Jason J. McGuire, executive director of NYCF. “Political power resides with those who do not share our values, and it’s reflected in the tragic turn our state is taking. By approving legislation like late-term abortion expansion, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his allies have launched an all-out assault on the beliefs held by evangelical Christians and other socially-conservative New Yorkers. With objectionable proposals like paid surrogacy, legalizing prostitution and recreational marijuana under consideration, it is clear that too many Albany politicians intend to continue aggressively imposing their morally bankrupt agenda on the Empire State. In this new season, it is crucial that Christian voters provide a robust and effective voice of opposition.”

The day featured a variety of speakers and topics including Walt Heyer of SexChangeRegret.com and Garth Van Meter of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Stephanie Woodward of the Center for Disability Rights spoke about physician assisted suicide, and Gianna Jessen spoke about her experiences as a late-term saline abortion survivor and prolife advocate.

Attendees also heard from elected officials Sen. Pat Gallivan, Sen. Daphne Jordan, Sen. Rob Ortt, Sen Chris Jacobs, and Assemblyman Andy Goodell. They shared the need to get back to family principles and to take our state back with logic and reason, and that RHA was the darkest day in this legislative body. During a panel discussion, Kathleen Gallagher of the New York State Catholic Conference and Kate Maloney of Students for Life spoke about the future of NY’s Pro-life Movement.

Woodword and Jessen, the two “disabled” presenters, shared their thoughts about being labeled “disabled.” Stephanie Woodward, a 30-year-old lawyer, who works with NY Alliance Against Assisted Suicide and uses a wheelchair, and Gianna Jessen, a 40-year-old who has cerebral palsy due to the saline solution that was meant to kill her, both embrace their “disability” with humor and joyfulness.

Woodward shared that when people approach her stating that they will pray for a cure, she answers, “I’m fine (in my wheelchair), please pray that my student loans are paid off!”

She urged people to make activities accessible and to respect the dignity of each individual, “do not group us all together.”

When she enters a church, she likes to participate where she wants. She dislikes when there is one wheelchair section.

“Our diversity is who we are,” she said.

Jessen said that she is a constant reminder of what people want to forget, especially those who work in the abortion industry, and she is often met with hostility.

“I survived abortion, I can survive Twitter,” she said.

Jessen stated that she is never invited to women’s marches and asked, “if abortion is a women’s right, where are mine?”

Jessen’s said her life has been a progression of miracles: she was not killed by the saline abortion, the doctor was late to Planned Parenthood that day, the nurse called an ambulance to have her transported to the hospital when she was accidentally born alive, then she was adopted by loving parents.

“I am here for His services and I’m having fun,” she said.

She paused to offer advice to post-abortive women: If you hear that voice saying “‘Your sins are too big, you are condemned’, then you are listening to the wrong voice!”

At the end of the day, rolls of “Repeal Late-Term Abortion Act” petition signatures were delivered to Governor Cuomo’s office. Over 20,000 of those signatures were from the Catholic Action Network. More deliveries will be made throughout the legislative season.

Register today for the Catholic Action Network at nyscatholic.org to receive ‘Action Alerts’ and have your voice heard in Albany.


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