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Women Worlds Apart


Life and death. Being and nothingness. Sublime and ridiculous. ... It's tough finding words to convey the contrast between two gatherings that took place March 23-25 in Washington, D.C.

Women Affirming Life, Inc. (WALI) and the NCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities co-sponsored a conference entitled "The Feminine Genius and the Culture of Life," in celebration of WALI's tenth anniversary.

Across town (but measured by its ethos, light years away) the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) held its annual conference of clinic owners/activists.

The WALI Conference featured Catholic women from virtually every walk of life who are making a difference in their communities, professions, even countries, as advocates and exemplars of Catholic pro-life, pro-family feminism. And that's no oxymoron! Two days of inspirational and information-packed talks and "networking" culminated in Eucharistic Celebration at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, presided over by His Eminence, Cardinal Bernard Law. Fittingly, the occasion marked the Solemnity of the Annunciation, celebrating Mary's "yes" to God and to new life.

The PPFA conference began with congressional lobbying and continued with strategizing on how to distract the public's attention from the violent, ugly and painful truth about abortion. PPFA's conference culminated with a banquet celebrating the "right" of women to say "NO!" to God and new life. "Maggies"-- and doesn't the name lend a charming Irish air to Margaret Sanger?--were awarded to folks in the media, entertainment and politics who've been especially helpful in promoting the "right" to terminate the lives of children by abortion. Among Maggie recipients were "Cider House Rules," Teen People magazine, the "Vagina Monologues," and TV shows "West Wing" and "3rd Rock from the Sun."

John Irving, author and screenplay-adaptor of "Cider House Rules," returned the compliment at the Oscars on March 26 by proclaiming that Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) were the "real heroes of the evening." The highest honor of the PPFA gala, the Margaret Sanger 2000 Award, went to Nafis Sadik, population control advocate and executive director of the United Nations Population Fund. It was Sadik who urged the 1994 U.N. Population Conference in Cairo to press for expansion of population control "policies" and abortion worldwide. 

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