Marian Bourek plans to use her skills as a teacher to lead the pro-life group she helped found 24 years ago.Bourek was recently hired by Dubuque County Right to Life Inc. as executive director, replacing Steve Brody, who left the position suddenly in May. Neither Brody nor the group's board of directors would comment on why he left.
"Now I will put my own education and training into my passion -- restoring respect for all human life in all of its stages," said Bourek, 57, of Farley, Iowa, who plans to find additional appearance venues for the group's speakers. She also hopes to attract new members.
Bourek plans no major changes in the group's direction.
"My vision is the same as it has always been -- to bring an end to all abortions and to restore respect for human life," she said. "People need to know the dangers of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide."
Bourek's main target will continue to be Planned Parenthood, particularly its Dubuque clinic. Dubuque County Right to Life has picketers in front of the clinic daily.
"For the first time, we're joining with the national '40 Days of Prayer' from Sept. 26 to Nov. 4," she said.
The group will schedule people to pray in one-hour shifts at the clinic each of the 40 days. The goal is to "close the doors of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion committer in the world, not only here but everywhere. It's the total opposite of what we stand for," she said.
The pro-life movement is seeing a resurgence, Bourek said.
"Right after Roe versus Wade (the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions), momentum built hard and fast, but then people got used to it and enthusiasm declined," she said. "But the pendulum is swinging our way again and exciting things are happening."
For example, the first trips organized by Bourek from Dubuque to Washington, D.C., to the March for Life started with one bus 17 years ago. Now the annual pro-life pilgrimage attracts enough marchers to fill nine buses every January.
Lives in: Farley, Iowa
Family: Husband, Virgil, a Dyersville veterinarian, and five grown children
Job: Starts as the executive director of Dubuque County Right to Life Inc. on Sept. 10. Formerly a special-education teacher, religious education director and stay-at-home mother.
Previous pro-life activity: Founded right-to-life groups in Ames, Farley and Dubuque; held leadership positions with Dubuque County Right to Life; member of Iowans for Life and held leadership positions; on the board of directors of Life Decisions International.