by Myrna Maloney Flynn, MCFL President
"Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility." – Eleanor Roosevelt
No one said it would be easy, this mission of ours. Perhaps it’s because we’re months into a pandemic, we’re having to relearn life, the unsettling unknown requires more energy, or the drumbeat surrounding the November election has already got us marching at a pace that feels more appropriate for the chill of September, not the typical sunny slowdown of May. The word “exasperated” came up in a remote learning session my daughter and I worked on last week. Her teacher’s failed attempt at wit notwithstanding, I had to admit I couldn’t come up with a better adjective to describe my mood.
I’d just read about a new documentary featuring a “deathbed confession” by Norma McCorvey, otherwise known as “Jane Roe” in the 1973 Roe vs. WadeSupreme Court case. Following the decision that legalized elective abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, and which has resulted in more than 60 million American lives lost, McCorvey not only revealed regret for participating in the case but became an outspoken pro-life advocate. In the new film, however, she apparently claims her advocacy was false, and that she was motivated solely by money from those who wished to use her to advance the right to life; such a delicious entree for the media to serve up.
Conversely, the media kept a lid on something a little more difficult to stomach: the $80 million in CARES Act funding which 37 Planned Parenthood chapters improperly applied for and received from the Small Business Administration. The money is part of the coronavirus-related Paycheck Protection Program, meant to assist employers and provide support for their employees during pandemic-related shutdowns.
To qualify, an employer, which may include a nonprofit incorporated as a 501c3, must have fewer than 500 employees. It’s simply up to each applicant to truthfully declare that stipulation is met. In total, Planned Parenthood employs about 16 thousand, but the 37 clinics applied separately, claiming each was its own small business, conveniently unrelated to its billion-dollar parent. Because MCFL is both a 501c3 and a 501c4, we knew we’d be ineligible and didn’t apply.
I know, I know. It pays to be honest. But I can’t blame Planned Parenthood for giving in to the temptation. A couple million dollars to advance a mission sounds good to me, too. And if that organization’s mission was exclusively to offer cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing—or to fund a single mother’s education, childcare expenses, medical bills, or rent—the amount of government funding or how it was obtained wouldn’t be as concerning.
But we know the truth. We know the annual numbers: 340,000. Too many lives. Too many women each year believe, because of what they are told, that they have no better option.
But we know the truth. It’s our job to speak it, however we can. A pro-life friend, until recently mostly private about her belief, told me this week she proudly ordered a choose life license plate for her car, defiantly saying, “I’m stepping it up!”
We remember this week and Memorial Day those men and women who died so that we might live freely. May we honor them daily by recognizing our responsibilities: to use our freedom of speech to respectfully educate others, to lovingly sacrifice our time for women who need us, and to defend those who cannot defend themselves.
It’s not easy, this mission we’re on. At times, it feels exasperating. But no matter where the national conversation might take us, or which diversion happens to be the topic of the day, the truth remains.
As always, thank you for all you do to support Massachusetts Citizens for Life.
By Myrna Maloney Flynn, MCFL President
Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.
-- Luke 6:38
This week, I had the pleasure of talking for the first time with one of MCFL’s longtime supporters. We planned to “meet” over a video call* and, as I thought ahead to our conversation, I knew there was one thing I wanted to find out: why he is so committed to the pro-life mission. So staunch is his support that he answered my question before I had a chance to ask it.
He told me he’d been adopted and, as he got older, realized what his birth mother must have gone through, the magnitude of her sacrifice, and the impact of his adoptive parents’ decision. “If Roe v. Wade had been around, I might not be here,” he said. “This issue will always be at the core of my being.” Then, elaborating on all his parents provided for him over the years, he explained his consistent MCFL support. “Their [human rights] pro-life work continues, even though they’re not here anymore, through me.”
This pandemic prevents us from rallying at the State House or gathering for our spring events, yet my colleagues and I continue to advance MCFL’s mission to “restore respect for human life and defend the right to life of all human beings, born and pre-born.
Our Board members and staff are writing op-eds, posting the undeniable truth of prenatal development on social media, and applying nonstop pressure on our elected officials. We are investigating questionable practices that are considered the “norm.” Our volunteers are informing women of the better option, recruiting new members, and, of course, donating.
None on our team want anything in return for their gifts. Yet I fully expect that they will one day find goodness packed, shaken, and poured into their laps.
This Tuesday, May 5, provides you with an opportunity to bolster our work—work that is significantly more challenging due to the coronavirus. I understand pandemic-related fallout is affecting people in a variety of ways. But, if you can, I humbly ask that you consider making a contribution to our state’s oldest pro-life organization during Giving Tuesday, somewhat of a “new” national holiday. You don’t have to wait until Tuesday though. Take a moment now to visit our website.
Thank you for whatever gift you are able to make. And thank you for the support you provide simply by being an ally—one who will read this and reaffirm in your heart the value of human life and the work we do to protect it.
For those following the story of Baby Hope, an update: the five-month-old once again astounded her doctors in Boston last week, when a preoperative MRI revealed that, over the last few months, most of the brain tissue that had been in an external sack at the back of her head went back inside her skull. According to her mom, Joy, “The doctor is amazed and hasn't seen anything like it.” Surgeons operated successfully, and indications are that there was little, if any, damage to brain tissue. “She looks great,” Joy told me. “She will still have battles ahead of her, but they have gotten a lot easier.”
I wish you a week filled with gifts, whether they are eagerly anticipated or unexpected. May they overflow, inspire, and multiply.
*Though it has become the go-to video conferencing tool for organizations and individuals alike during Covid-19 lockdowns, Zoom, and its leaders, ardently support abortion rights and Planned Parenthood. In June 2019, for example, its CEO signed onto the national “Don’t Ban Equality” campaign, which called attention to workplace “restrictions” to “comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion.” Google Meet is an easy-to-use Zoom alternative. However, through its support of the United Way, Google indirectly supports Planned Parenthood.
By Myrna Maloney Flynn, MCFL President
As far as this business of solitary confinement goes, the most important thing for survival is communication with someone . . . It makes all the difference. -John McCain
Joy’s text said the package arrived just in time. I'd sent her several issues of MCFL’s member magazine featuring her daughter, Hope, who was diagnosed at 12 weeks gestation with an occipital encephalocele, meaning her brain developed outside of her skull. Joy and her husband were told their child was “not compatible with life” and were advised to abort. Now five months old, Hope defied the odds. As I write this, the family is on their way to Boston for Hope’s first surgery this week. They wanted to make sure our magazine got to family and friends before they left.
Please keep Hope, her doctors, and the Dupells in your thoughts and prayers.
About an hour after I sent my April 11 email, in which I shared the compelling story of a Springfield teen who’d recently chosen life for her son, I received a response from a new MCFL member and volunteer named Faith Delaney, who wrote, “MCFL helped me when I was pregnant at age 23, unwed, and my boyfriend wanted me to get an abortion. I was pro-life and followed my beliefs. . . My son is now 32, I went to law school, and have a successful practice in Merrimack Valley. I will donate again but would like to speak to teens when we are allowed to gather.”
Our summer magazine issue will include Faith’s story, along with several other timely, informative, and inspiring pieces. We have chosen to highlight the women of Massachusetts’ pro-life movement, past and present. I got a sneak peek at the contents last week; the issue's going to be one of our best.
The magazine is just one MCFL membership benefit. Members receive voting privileges, ultimately electing the organization’s Board members at our Annual Meeting (due to the pandemic, this will likely be held in the second half of 2020). And when MCFL heads to Beacon Hill, we go on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves, but we also represent our members at the State House and fight on their behalf. In fact, despite the shutdown, my team and I continue our first-of-its-kind strategic lobbying effort with partner organizations and will soon deliver this united message to state representatives on behalf of our thousands of supporters: “Say No to ROE!”
Perhaps the benefit most coveted by our members, though, are the advance event invitations they receive to our well-known and much-anticipated gatherings.
- Members in 2020 will have first dibs on a seat at a November 10th Harvard debate between international pro-life activist Stephanie Gray and campus abortion rights supporters;
- Our members are already looking forward to one of MCFL’s most influential traditions, the Massachusetts March for Life, to be held November 7;
- Members out west will welcome Alveda King on October 15 to celebrate our postponed Mother’s Day Dinner;
- And, of course, MCFL members receive advance invitations to our premier event: the annual fundraising banquet, to be held on Thursday, September 17 at the Four Points Sheraton. It is my honor to announce Melissa Ohden as our keynote speaker.
Melissa is the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion in 1977. Despite the initial concerns regarding her future after surviving the attempt to end her life at approximately seven months gestation, Melissa has not only survived but thrived. She is a Master’s-level prepared social worker, the author of You Carried Me: A Daughter's Memoir, and the founder and director of The Abortion Survivors Network. Melissa is a frequent contributor to pro-life news outlets and a regular guest on radio and television programs around the world. Fulfilling the purpose that she believes God set out for her when He saved her from the certain death of the abortion attempt, Melissa is truly a voice for the voiceless.
If you’re an MCFL member, then you can relate to the value membership brings. If you’re not, I hope you will join today—to experience our events in a new way, to expand your knowledge though our magazine, to influence MCFL’s leadership and, with your powerful vote, propel this phenomenal organization toward a forward-thinking, vibrant, lifegiving new decade.
I wish you a wonderful week! As we each continue our confinement, I hope you receive all varieties of communication from friends and family, as I have, that make you laugh, prompt a good deed, elicit a prayer, and ensure our common survival.