Janet Morana has served the Priests for Life organization since 1993, and is a prominent pro-life leader through her coordination of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign worldwide, her work with Rachel's Vineyard, her travels and talks around the nation, and her production of national and international pro-life radio and television programs.
When did you first start enunciating the theme that abortion hurts women and that women deserve better than abortion?
Janet: In 1989, when Fr. Frank Pavone and I first began leading pro-life activities in St. Charles Church in Staten Island, NY, we organized the parish life chain and began talking about the need for a sign to complement "Abortion Kills Children." We eventually contacted Royce Dunn, the national leader of Life Chain, with the idea for a sign that said "Abortion Hurts Women", and they agreed to produce that sign. It has been one of the official "Life Chain" signs ever since.
We promoted the "Abortion hurts women" theme in all our educational and pastoral work. We even made an envelope stamp that conveyed that message and encouraged activists to use it.
When you began working with Priests for Life, what part did post-abortion healing play in the vision of the ministry?
Janet: When Fr. Frank became National Director in September of 1993, one of the first things we had to do was to design letterhead. The phrase we adopted was "Pro-Woman, Pro-Family, Pro-Life." We wanted our ministry to have a woman-centered message, because we knew that women were being pressured to abortion and not given the resources they deserved to give life to their children.
In the clergy seminars we developed, the need for priests to speak about healing in their pro-life homilies was emphasized right from the start. The emphasis on reconciliation and healing was always central, pointing out that such healing was available no matter how many abortions a person may have had. In writing outlines of pro-life homilies, one of the earliest examples we used was the woman we came to know of who had 24 abortions, and that even she would be welcomed back to the Church, upon repenting of those sins.
How did the post-abortion aspect of the work grow as the years went on?
Janet: In 2002, I began discussions with Georgette Forney to develop a campaign to get the message of the post-abortion women out to the general public. Through my constant Priests for Life travels, I met many women who had had abortions, had come to healing, and wanted their voices to be heard. Georgette and I founded the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and held the first gathering in January of 2003. It is now the largest mobilization in history of women and men who have lost children to abortion.
In that same year, Rachel's Vineyard, the world's largest ministry for healing after abortion, founded by Theresa and Kevin Burke, became a ministry of Priests for Life.
How does your personal experience and training shape your work?
Janet: I have lost children by means of abortifacients which I thought were merely preventing pregnancy. I share my testimony about that loss in the book "The Contraception of Grief." That experience helps me in my counseling of others and speaking on the issue. I have also received intensive training from Dr. Philip Ney, the world's premier researcher on the impact of abortion on women and men, and the developer of the "Hope Alive" training program for post-abortion healing.
What are your plans for the years ahead in the arena of promoting this pro-woman message?
Janet: We intend to increase the number of women who come to our healing resources after having been hurt by abortion. The campaign website (www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org ) is a key vehicle for this purpose. We expect to see many register with the campaign so as to add their voice to so many others who publicly declare that they regret their abortion. Priests for Life is also at the forefront of providing pastoral training for pregnancy center directors and staff and promoting alternatives to abortion. We want to show society that it must come alongside women in an unplanned pregnancy so that they can have the resources they need to receive their pregnancy as an "unexpected blessing" rather than a burden that has to be surgically removed.