By Martha Schieber
The skies were ablaze with a storm that rolled through the Greater Kansas City area Friday night. However, the brightest light came from the inside of the Overland Park Convention Center, where 700 Vitae Foundation supporters were gathered to hear former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina encourage everyone to fight for the most fundamental issue—the right to life.
Event emcee, Lamar Hunt, Jr., said we must fight this issue, this spiritual battle, with everything we have. “Vitae has undertaken a study of the Planned Parenthood brand and will use this information to help the pregnancy center brand. This is an organization that is in service of the human person and not its destruction,” Hunt stated.
Fiorina led off her keynote address with an endorsement of Vitae’s work. “I’m here tonight because I’ve seen the work of the Vitae Foundation, and I believe in the work they are doing. I urge you to support them in their life-saving mission of helping women in need,” she stated.
Not a person to shy away from the abortion issue, much like she was on the campaign trail, Fiorina continued to take on the hypocrisy of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.
“This is an organization that claims a life has no value, then puts a value on a brain, a lung, eyes. That those are sold for profit is stunning—the moral degradation that that represents,” Fiorina stated.
The former Hewlett Packard CEO told the crowd that she’s taken a lot of heat for being pro-life. People just expected a female CEO from Silicon Valley to be pro-choice. She told of being at a football game in Iowa and being pelted with condoms. People would yell, “Why do you hate women?” When Fiorina would take the time to talk to individuals and offer facts, it would usually leave them speechless, unable to argue their point. It even happened with Whoopi Goldberg!
“Facts stop people cold. We can change hearts and minds, but we have to be willing to engage over and over and over. We must not stop talking about this. We have to keep talking,” Fiorina stressed. “It’s important to tell our stories.”
The former presidential candidate shared that she was raised in a faithful family, but nothing in her personal experience caused her to think about it. Then at age 22, a dear friend of Carly’s decided to get an abortion and asked her to come with her to a Planned Parenthood facility. She went and observed her friend’s abortion experience. It mirrored what Vitae found in its recent research study on Planned Parenthood.
“She was given no choices, no options, no compassion, and no support. It was pretty cut and dried,” Fiorina shared. “What I saw was not only physical pain. I also saw emotional suffering and spiritual suffering. The truth is, my friend was never the same again.”
Seven years later she met her husband, Frank. She would learn that his mother had been told by her doctors to abort him because of her advanced age and two previous difficult pregnancies. Fiorina’s mother-in-law was a woman of great faith and courage. She chose to bring her son into the world, and she spent a year in the hospital following his birth.
“I have thought, often, how difficult life would be if my husband had not been brought into the world. Then later on in my marriage, I learned I couldn’t have children of my own and realized in a really profound way what a precious gift from God life actually is,” Fiorina stated.
During the event, every person received a special card that had Pregnancy Help Center information on it. “This is a game changer,” noted Vitae COO Anne Carmichael. She showed a map of the country where Pregnancy Help Centers (PHCs) outnumber abortion facilities 4 to 1, yet most women don’t know they exist. “When someone you know is pregnant, give this card to them. Tell them you’ll go with them to a center.”
Carmichael noted that Kathy Edwards and her staff at Rachel House went from three locations to five in an effort to keep the doors open at two other PHC locations in the Kansas City area. Advice and Aid, led by Ruth Tisdale, wasn’t satisfied with being in the same medical park with the largest abortion clinic in Kansas and most of Missouri. They moved right next door! Additionally, Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic has a new director and they have plans to open a second center in Olathe.
“Eighty-two percent of women who had an abortion said if just one person would have reached out to help they would have carried their baby to term,” Carmichael stated. “This is what will move us to making abortion unthinkable. Leveling the playing field and going after every life, because we are in it to win it!”
There were some chilling moments when the audience gasped at the sight of a map showing how Chicago pregnancy centers operate in a war zone. The map was nothing but a swath of blue, demonstrating shooting victims just since January of this year.
Carmichael described another type of war zone and how Vitae and Aid for Women are a united front fighting in the Windy City. “Right there, in the middle of the gun violence and the violence of eight abortion clinics that perform abortions through the second trimester, is Aid for Women. Vitae put its laser beam focused Internet strategy to work there, and traffic increased by 60 percent,” she stated. Aid for Women used to see 900 clients a year. With Vitae’s digital strategies they now see 2,000 clients annually.
Vitae President Rob Rysavy told the audience the most recent national research study was instrumental in helping formalize Vitae’s Standards of Excellence.
“This is a research-based, national messaging strategy that we can employ to help pregnancy centers across the nation more effectively reach women and men who are contemplating an abortion decision,” Rysavy explained. “The Standards of Excellence give us an effective, repeatable, measurable, research-based approach to helping pregnancy centers do the work they do, and do it better.”
Helping women and men find life-saving PHCs and saving them from an abortion experience, like what Fiorina’s friend experienced, was the point of the evening. Fiorina stressed that each person in the room was gifted by God and each of us has more potential than we realize.
“Every life that is destroyed before it has the opportunity to fulfill its potential is a stain on our nation’s character and honor. It diminishes us all,” Fiorina stated. “Do not back away from this fight. When we engage, we win!”