On Tuesday, January 20, the National Review Institute and the Heritage Foundation co-sponsored an event, “Every Life: Choosing Life after an Unexpected Prenatal Diagnosis.” The goal was to bring attention and discussion to the theme of this year’s March for Life: “Every Life is a Gift.”
Former Hewlett Packard CEO and Chairman of the Unlocking Potential Project Carly Fiorina delivered an opening keynote address, drawing from her own experience volunteering at a school for students with special needs in her youth, and her own mother-in-law’s life-and-death choice. “Leadership is the act of changing the order of things and therefore the highest calling of leadership is to unlock potential in others,” Fiorina told the audience. She set the stage for a panel discussion, moderated by NRI senior fellow Kathryn Jean Lopez, that featured Mark Bradford, president of the Jerome Lejuene Foundation; Dan LaHood of St. Joseph’s House and Isaiah’s Promise; and Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life. Each brought to bear their own considerable expertise — in state and federal policy, medical research, and frontline service.
During the discussion, panelists offered their thoughts on the value of sacrifice and hard work that parenting involves. “Parents want to be the best parent they can be,” LaHood said. Bradford stressed that “a hard life does not equal a bad life.”
Bradford (based in Philadelphia) and LaHood (whom with his wife founded a home in Silver Spring, Md., for children with “special needs, as well as a ministry to help parents who are given unexpected prenatal diagnosis”) in particular were examples of what NRI’s Center for Religion, Culture, and Civil Society seeks to do: bring people together who aren’t often if ever at the same table to share information and strategize. After-panel discussions looked toward future collaborations both formally and informally. Few walked away without to-do lists and notes for follow up.
Later in the week Lopez represented NRI on the March for Life Rally stage on the National Mall, recognized alongside other national pro-life leaders.
You can watch video of the event and find out more information about it here.