Respect Life: Public Policy

Programs, services and events of the RLA that aim to restore legal protection to the lives of unborn children and those vulnerable to pressures to end their lives by assisted suicide, and to provide morally acceptable alternatives to abortion and assisted suicide.

Life Will Be Victorious! United Pro-Life, Faith Effort Helps Defeat St. Louis Board Bill 34

St. Louis City's "Buffer Zone" Bill failed on April 16 in a 9-15 vote. This defeat was helped by the united effort of the pro-life movement, Archdiocese of St. Louis, and other churches, organizations, and people of good will.

Ever since Board Bill 34CS was re-introduced by the city's aldermanic council in February, this united opposition made it a priority to educate the public on the bill's problematic nature. Multiple phone, letter, and email campaigns were also made to city officials.

A buffer zone around health clinics (which according to the ordinance also included Planned Parenthood), would certainly have impacted the peaceful and prayerful efforts of the respect life movement, especially life-saving sidewalk counseling. However, it also would have hindered more universal rights of free speech and peaceful assembly.

As RLA Executive Director Karen Nolkemper explained, "We are grateful to the Board of Alderman for defeating Board Bill 34CS, and choosing not to restrict the constitutionally-protected rights of assembly and free speech on public property. Our work of prayer and presence will continue because we know that women facing difficult or unplanned pregnancies need real options and support, not abortion."

For a comprehensive look at the bill's progression and defeat, access the St Louis Review's four articles online here.

Coverage of the bill's defeat was also picked up by other St. Louis media outlets and even a national pro-life news source

RLA Executive Director to St. Louis Review Regarding Board Bill 34: "Our Work of Prayer and Presence Will Continue"

Karen Nolkemper, executive director of the Respect Life Apostolate, made her objections to the City of St. Louis' Board Bill 34 clear in a recent St. Louis Review article. Her views are shared by other local and state pro-life and faith leaders.

As stated in the Feb. 14 article by Jennifer Brinker (bold text and links added):

"A proposed City of St. Louis ordinance that would create a buffer zone around "health care facilities" was recently passed by an aldermanic committee. That ordinance would include Planned Parenthood, according to testimony in the committee meeting...

Opponents of the proposed ordinance in St. Louis say that it infringes upon their First Amendment right to free speech and raises specific questions about what activity is or is not allowed...

Archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate's executive director Karen Nolkemper noted that the proposed ordinance would not affect the Helpers of God's Precious Infants Rosary Procession to Planned Parenthood.

"Any laws which infringe upon the constitutionally protected rights of assembly and free speech on public property are always suspect," Nolkemper said. "Nonetheless, we do not believe the potential buffer zone will deter our monthly Helpers of God's Precious Infants Mass, 40 Days for Life or other peaceful, prayerful witness to the sanctity of human life on the sidewalk outside the Planned Parenthood facility. Our work of prayer and presence will continue, whether or not this bill becomes law."

Photo of the 2018 Annual Memorial Mass above is the property of the RLA. Please contact us for permission before sharing in any communication medium. Thank you.

These St. Louis Women Describe Why They Are a Part of the March for Life

Three Different Perspectives Weave a Rich Pro-Life Witness

Anna Jones

After attending the Generation Life pilgrimage for the first time as a freshman, Anna Jones marched back to St. Louis, determined to start a pro-life club at Kirkwood High School.

At the end of their pilgrimage, Generation Life teens were invited to make a personal commitment to life issues -- thus how Pioneers for Life was born.

Finish reading Anna's story here.

Pam Coughlin

When Pam Coughlin called to reserve a spot for the Missouri Life Caravan, she didn't know a single person on the trip to Washington, D.C. But as it turns out, Coughlin was well-known by members of Missouri Right to Life, which organizes the annual bus trip.

Missouri Right to Life had come to Coughlin's defense, when in the mid-1990s she was fired from her teaching job as an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis. With a doctorate in social work and master's in nursing, Coughlin taught a class called "Child Development Through the Life Cycle." During that class, she showed students "The Silent Scream," a 1984 documentary that used ultrasound images to show the horrors of abortion in graphic detail.

"I gave them the opportunity to stay or leave," recalls the now 82-year-old member of St. Justin Martyr Parish in Sunset Hills. "Four of the girls left the room, went to the administration and tried to get it stopped."

Read the rest of Pam's story here.

Alexis Carrasquillo & Zita Myers-Carrasquillo

Alexis Carrasquillo believes that "everyone deserves a life." That's why she was inspired to attend the March for Life with Rosati-Kain High School.

It was the first march for Alexa and her mother, Zita Myers-Carrasquillo, who came along as a chaperone. Alexis called the experience "awesome," although she said "there were some things I didn't want to see," referring to some of the graphic images of aborted babies along the march route.

For Alexis and her mother, taking a stand for life of the unborn has been the newest link in their efforts to support life at all stages.

Read the rest of their story here.

(All three stories were written by St. Louis Review's Jennifer Brinker; photo collage by Lisa Johnston)

Local Archdiocesan Marches Show Strong Pro-Life Witness

Catholic St. Louis Bore Witness to Life Both in Washington D.C. and Locally

For about a half-hour on either side of noon on Jan. 20, students and parishioners from St. Alban Roe Parish and School bore powerful witness to the pro-life movement.

About 200 people -- 30 students in the middle-school youth ministry joined by roughly 170 parishioners of all ages, from babies to seniors --marched on the bike path along Highways 109 and 100, chanting, singing, and carrying signs.  

The lead sign, carried by three students, asked drivers to "Honk for Life," and honking horns accompanies the group throughout the two-mile hike from the parish church to Wildwood City Hall. There Mayor Jim Bowlin greeted them.

"Thank you for voicing your support for this very important cause," he said in brief remarks to the group. "It really is great that we live in a country where we can do that... Thank you for what you do."

After music and song by the school's Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, along with a little dancing by the students, the event closed with prayer, just as it had begun an hour previous.

Continue reading the St. Louis Review article here (by Dave Luecking and photo by Jerry Naunheim, Jr.)

Generation Life Pilgrims Lead the Charge in Proclaiming that "Love Saves Lives" at Annual March for Life

Archdiocesan Teen Pilgrimage Brings 2,200 to Washington D.C. on January 19

Kurt Hufker huddled with his friends on the National Mall as they eagerly awaited for the March for Life to begin.

This was the first march for Kurt, who was with his youth group from Assumption Parish in Mattese. Researching life issues on his own, Kurt knew that abortion was wrong, and he wanted to come to stand up for life.

"Life is the most important thing we have," said the junior at St. Mary's High School. "If you can't protect life, what is there to protect?"

Kurt was one of more than 2,200 teens attending the Jan. 19 march as part of the Generation Life pilgrimage, hosted by the archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry. The annual pilgrimage feeds into the March for Life every January. Including the Missouri Life Caravan and other parish and school groups, there were an estimated 3,000 people from St. Louis attending the march.

Finish reading the St. Louis Review article here. (by Jennifer Brinker; photo by Lisa Johnston)

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