Twenty-eight years ago this month, 10 people got together in a classroom at St. Columba school in Hopewell Junction, New York, to begin an effort that continues to this day.
On that March evening, the first organizational meeting of a new effort that would eventually become the STOPP International Project of American Life League was held. Nine dedicated pro-lifers and (we later found out) one Planned Parenthood spy spent time that evening developing the basic structure of an organization that would be totally dedicated to fighting the evil empire of Planned Parenthood. Our goal was to close down as many Planned Parenthood clinics as possible.
From the very beginning, our small local group received much support and encouragement from Judie Brown and the American Life Lobby, as it was then called. At the time we met in 1985, Planned Parenthood was operating 763 clinics across the United States. It eventually grew to 938 clinics before our efforts really started having an impact. Today, Planned Parenthood has 730 clinics and is closing more every month. In Dutchess County, New York, where we started, Planned Parenthood operated four clinics in 1985 and has just one today. Praise God!
As we are about to begin the last days of Holy Week, we must reflect upon all Jesus Christ has done for us and how He expects us to live our lives. It is a time to recognize His role in everything we do. It is a time for prayer, fasting, and action.
In preparation for that long-ago organizational meeting, STOPP published a report to our supporters. In it, we described the first weeks of our organization’s founding and the decisions we made. Here is that March 8, 1985 report:
Last week contained a great deal of activity which will be extremely significant in setting the direction and activities of STOPP. We’d like to share them with you.
On Saturday, we received a letter from a STOPP supporter in Eastern Dutchess who stated, “If you put (STOPP) formally into the hands of our Blessed Lord and His holy mother, Mary, you will succeed if it be His will. . . . I think it is imperative that prayer be the main ingredient of this battle. Make everything you do that has to do with [STOPP] a prayer. Make every breath you breathe be for His greater glory and let Him take over the running of STOPP.”
On Sunday, a priest made the following statement at Communion time: “This is the Lord, Jesus Christ, who tries so hard to get our attention.”
On Monday, we received a letter from a STOPP supporter in Southern Dutchess who stated, “I’m looking forward to the fight. If our Lord is with us, who can be against us.”
On Tuesday, we received a mailing from the Pearson Foundation (it runs a nationwide string of pro-life pregnancy centers). The mailing contained the following information:
There is no doubt that participation in the pro-life movement is a service to God. We have our Lord’s word for it, and we sing it often in the familiar hymn: Whatsoever You Do to the Least of My Brothers You Do Unto Me. Jesus identifies Himself with every least one of the tiny children who meet death at the end of the suction tube or surgical knife. And just as truly, He will say to everyone who tries to rescue an unborn child from this atrocious death: “When you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me.”
Finally, On Wednesday, in a church in Western Dutchess, we found the following inscription from Revelations imprinted on a banner: “Here I stand, knocking at the door.” (Rev 3:20)
The message is clear. Although STOPP has gotten off to a good start and the interest has been high, there has been something missing from our public efforts and literature. We have not proclaimed the involvement of, and our dependence on, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Well, we are now changing all that. From this point, we will describe STOPP as a Christian, pro-life organization dedicated to exposing the true nature of Planned Parenthood.
As we fight this battle for CHRIST, we will need the constant prayers of everyone. Please pray that we listen to the Lord’s direction and act, always, according to His will. With His direction, and the assistance of His mother, Mary, we will be able to crush the serpent (Planned Parenthood) and rescue the unborn from the painful death that awaits many of them.
It is 28 years later and, not only are we still alive and thriving, but Christ has raised a veritable army of opposition to Planned Parenthood. God is in charge.
Over the next few days, please give thanks to Jesus for everything He has done for you. And give Him your entire life. Tell Him you will do whatever He wants in whatever way He wants it done. As those who are involved in the fight against Planned Parenthood have discovered, if you will do just that, this Easter you will rise with Him and He will work through you.
James W. Sedlak, M.S., is vice president of American Life League and a recognized expert on Planned Parenthood.