A Friend for Life

May 4-10, 2006
A Friend for Life
By David Vaughn/ SUN contributing writer
Is the end of Roe v. Wade near?

Since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973 over 40 million babies have been aborted in the U.S. But this trend may soon be reversed, says Dr. Paul Schenck, Director of the National Pro-Life Action Center in Washington D.C. “It’s not a matter of if,” Schenck said in regards to the reversal of Roe v. Wade, “just a matter of when and under what condition.”

Schenck was the keynote speaker at the Friends for Life Annual Spring Luncheon held at Barbagallo’s Restaurant in East Syracuse on April 22.
Schenck has been featured on EWTN, CNN, FOX, “Night Line,” Larry King, European TV and on numerous radio shows for his Pro-Life expertise. His commentaries and articles have appeared in the ABA Journal of Children’s Rights, AFA Journal and Life magazine.
Schenck is the father of nine and resides with his wife in Harrisburg, Pa. The National Pro-Life Action Center he runs is located on Capital Hill, and Schenck says it has an “evangelizing mission to proclaim the gospel of life [and] transform the judiciary from inside out.”

In his talk, “Blackmun Disrobed. The End of Roe V. Wade,” Schenck began by recalling a personal experience he had with the abortion industry. As a young Protestant minister in a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y., Schenck said he was approached by a couple, who had witnessed a man dumping three small red bags into a garbage bin near an abortion site. Schenck and the couple discovered within these bags the gruesome sight of three aborted fetuses: two boys and a girl. Schenck said their tiny bodies had been brutally dismembered and the girl’s head severed in two. At this moment, Schenck said, “All I heard myself saying was, ‘Oh, my God!’” His immediate concern then became what to do next.

Schenck said he and the couple decided to name the babies and properly bury them. The burial site they eventually chose was the front yard of the doctor who had completed the abortions. Schenck said the burial of the three unborn babies became a public event attended by a number of townspeople and accompanied by a motorcade. This incident helped catapult Schenck into the Pro-Life movement.

Shortly after this incident, Schenck became involved in peaceful protests in front of abortion centers: sidewalk counseling, passing out religious tracts, prayer vigils. At one point, Schenck said he was arrested for protesting and sentenced to two years in federal custody in Bradford, Pa. Following a number of legal proceedings in Schenck v. Pro-Choice, a Supreme Court case, Schenck won an injunction against restricting Pro-Life sidewalk counseling.

In time, Schenck said he became convinced that one supreme court justice was the primary moving force behind Roe v. Wade: Justice Harry A. Blackmun. After Blackmun’s private file was made available to the public in March 2004, Schenck said he reviewed the entire file consisting of “more than 1,500 boxes and 500,000 items spanning more than 60 years” of Blackmun’s writings. What emerged from his investigation, Schenck said, “was a dramatic portrait of the man and his motives in producing the single most notorious supreme court opinion” in over 100 years. Schenck referred to a number of Blackmun quotations in hopes of unveiling Blackmun’s true motives. “I think it [Roe] was right in 1973, I think it’s right today,” Schenck cited Blackmun as saying in the summer of 1995. “It’s a step that had to be taken as we go down the road toward the full emancipation of women.”

Dissenting with established religious bodies, Schenck believed, was additional motive for Blackmun. In one instance, Blackmun referred to himself being up against “the ancient attitudes of the Roman Catholic Church” as well as many other Protestant churches. Cost-saving measures was another motive for Blackmun, Schenck said in Blackmun’s “one-man crusade to make abortion abundantly available in the U.S.” The cost of abortion, Blackmun was cited as saying, “is far less than the cost of maternity care and delivery, and holds no comparison whatever with the welfare costs that will burden the State for the new indigents and their support in the long, long, years ahead.”

Schenck also mentioned other Blackmun comments which embraced the notion that abortion could help decrease the number of unwanted or disabled children in the world. “His replies,” Schenck went on to say, “reveal that he fancied himself a hero, a champion of women and the author of the abortion doctrine.” In thoroughly reviewing Blackmun’s file, Schenck said, “It is immediately noticeable that he only replied to those who were praising him for Roe. There were no replies to critics.” Schenck closed by saying he believed Blackmun’s file would be his “undoing” and hoped that this file would help undo Roe v. Wade as well. Schenck later said he is in the process of writing a book to further expose Blackmun’s writings. Prior to Schenck’s talk, Friends For Life presented their Pro-Life Awards for 2006 to the Gihooly and Lopez families for their courageous efforts in raising severely disabled children.

The Friends For Life Luncheon was attended by well over 100 people, consisting of adults and many young people. Two young women, sophomores from Mexico High School, Jordan Henneberry, 15, and Annalise Kenner, 15, were especially impressed with Schenck’s efforts in the Pro-Life arena. Hennebery, a volunteer with the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Mexico, said Schenck’s story about the fetuses being dumped in the garbage made her “angry,” but that it was “a really powerful story.” Patty Conover, Secretary for Friends for Life, believed Schenck’s message was “very hopeful” for the future of the unborn.

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