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Karen Garnett of the nonprofit, pro-life organization Heroic Media told Church Militant that "protections and restrictions at the state level" are being pursued absent a constitutional amendment protecting the preborn's right to life. She claimed that since 2016, there have been enacted 1,076 such restrictions and protections for the preborn.
Garnett cited the example of legislation currently before the Texas House that abortion advocates fear could outlaw the deadly procedure in the Lone Star state. Texas House Bill 1515, the "Heartbeat Act," notes that Texas never repealed its laws restricting abortion — even after Roe v. Wade. If passed, the pro-life measure could ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected or as early as six weeks gestation, without regard for conditions such as rape, incest or fetal disabilities.
Garnett credits the Trump administration for restricting and defunding abortion at the federal level — protections Garnett said the Biden administration is reversing. Thanks to Trump's reshaping of the High Court, she said, pro-lifers hope to overturn Roe v. Wade, which, in 1973, allowed abortion nationwide. Once Roe is overturned, she said, state-level personhood protections should follow.
"It would be easy for pro-lifers in this 48-year struggle to get discouraged because the new administration is hostile to life and reversing the pro-life policies and protections put in place by the Trump administration, but all is definitely not lost," Garnett averred.
She said that at the state level, organizations such as Susan B. Anthony List and Americans United for Life are working with legislatures to pass as many pro-life protections as possible with the hope of eventually seeing them affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Other strategies, in the meantime, she said, include tracking the closure of abortion centers, helping expectant mothers find alternatives to abortion, helping abortion workers abandon the industry and fighting Planned Parenthood in the media and courts.
"This will continue without stopping; we are in it to end it," she affirmed. "Little battles are won every day. We'll continue winning battles until we win enough battles and win the war," Garnett said.
Garnett spoke of the thousands of pro-life advocates — who, with the public from across the United States, gathered online and in-person April 30 for the sixth annual National Prayer Luncheon for Life to honor pro-life organizations — particularly those "high-impact" groups.
The event awarded $85,000 in grants to fuel ongoing pro-life ministry and advocacy. The winners were:
Also celebrated at the luncheon included Focus on the Family, which helped provide 1 million ultrasounds leading to 465,000 women choosing life for their babies. Another honoree was Susan B. Anthony List, which helped pass 1,074 pro-life laws in state legislatures since 2016 and helped elect 31 pro-life women to Congress (19 for the first time).
The winning organizations were chosen by pro-life participants across the country in balloting that ended on April 23. The program and awards were broadcast online Friday during the in-person event in Texas. It is also posted online.
Speakers at the event included Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and executive director of Civil Rights for the Unborn; 40 Days for Life founder David Bereit, Thrive Nation president Bridget Van Means, and VIDA Initiative president Astrid Bennett Gutierrez. Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas, Texas provided the invocation. Garnett said that outspoken Bp. Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas is on the board of Heroic Media, which produces pro-life advertising and cosponsors the event.
Present at the event was Abby Johnson, a former manager of a Planned Parenthood abortuary who later repented and embraced the Catholic faith. After witnessing the killing of a 13-week-old unborn child in 2008, she was inspired to leave the abortion industry. Johnson's life story received a Hollywood treatment as the subject of the 2019 film Unplanned, which is based on her book. She is the founder and CEO of And Then There Were None.
Speaking with Church Militant, Garnett commended Alveda King for devising "Civil Rights for the Unborn" as the name of her organization:
What does this mean when it comes to abortion? It is civil rights, meaning the equal guarantees of social opportunities and protections under the law regardless of race, religion, or other personal characteristics. Yet this entire class of persons is denied their civil rights because of abortion. Even among those being denied their rights, especially the right to life, it is African Americans within that class who are really being discriminated against even more because the Black population makes up 13% of the overall population yet comprise 35% of abortions. Twenty million preborn Black Americans have lost their lives in the last 48 years. That is direct discrimination.
Garnett, who is a veteran of pro-life action and founding Executive Director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas, asserted that Planned Parenthood does 78% of its business in minority communities.
"We are lacking that clear definition of personhood in the 4th and 14th Amendments where the pro-abortion people say there are no clear personhood rights defined in the Constitution for the preborn. Yet we know they [the preborn] are created equal and have an inalienable right to personhood," she noted.
Garnett related her organization, Heroic Media, highlights measurable successes of pro-life organizations in "successfully saving lives and winning battles against the abortion industry."