Momentous Celebration of Life in Louisville Metro

Dawn Heuglin, Meg Wittman, Chris OToole

Right to Life of Louisville (RTLL) held its annual Celebrate Life banquet on March 21st at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The gathering of about 600 pro-lifers from many states included Protestants, Catholics and Jews.

Donna Durning received the First ‘Donna Durning Community Award,’ accepted by her niece Meg Wittman who is the current director of Cincinnati’s Right to Life. Donna faithfully showed up at EMW Abortion Clinic five days every week from 6:30 AM till 9:15 AM or later, every year from 1994 to 2022. She is now resting at home after decades of her daily ministry to warn and reach out to women about to get an abortion.

Dawn Heuglin, Meg Wittman, Chris OToole

From left, Dawn Heuglin, Board President and Banquet Chair- RTLL, Meg Wittman, Chris O'Toole, RTLL Board VP

Bishop Emeritus Joseph E. Strickland traveled from his home in Texas to receive the Margie Montgomery Valor Award.

Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director, was the keynoter. She praised the pro-lifers for their hard work in achieving an abortion ban in Kentucky and shared many insights about political agendas that remain active and threaten a culture of life.

Abby Johnson and Bishop Strickland

For the first time in 51 years, Right to Life of Louisville welcomed several pro-life Jews to its annual banquet, including the executive director of the Jewish Pro-life Foundation (JPLF), Cecily Routman, who traveled from the Pittsburg area to be part of the celebration. In the slideshow picture she is shown right, with Abby and Ellen, a JPLF member from western Kentucky.

Pro-life Jews refute mainstream narrative

After the reversal of Roe v. Wade, legal suits were brought by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU that accused pro-lifers in Louisville of promoting a Christian viewpoint on abortion. The Courier-Journal had an OpEd by Beth Salmon that stated:

Judaism is one of the major religions in which the vast majority agree that decisions with respect to abortion should be left to the woman making the decision. In fact, Judaism not only permits the termination of pregnancy, but even requires it when the life of the pregnant person is in danger. “Danger” can be defined in multiple ways, including both physical and mental health. The mental state of a pregnant person can be as critical as physical health.

Jews, as well as many other religions, do not believe that life begins at conception. Jewish texts emphasize that the fetus does not have the status of personhood, describing it as “mere fluid” for the first 40 days after conception and part of the pregnant person’s body thereafter. Reproductive freedom is a Jewish value.

Salmon's statements were carried by numerous liberal media and do represent the standpoint of the National Council of Jewish Women. However, the Jewish Pro-life Foundation website has archival links to Jewish opposition to abortion as early as 1972.

The Rabbinical Council of America stated: “No woman is the final arbiter about the disposition of her body and the embryonic human life flourishing therein. Doctors, too, must face up to the moral dilemma whether they can play havoc with the basic worth and dignity of human life when they freely perform abortions at all stages of pregnancy.”

The JPLF stand is important to the nation's pro-life movement, particularly in Louisville and Kentucky. Bravo RTLL, for your inclusive outreach.