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WSR: 2022-05-25

  • Surprised—But Not Surprised—By God and ALL
  • Top Strategist to Stop Planned Parenthood Rita Diller was Former Feminist who “Saw the Light”

By Rita Diller

Last week, Judie Brown, Hugh Brown, and ALL staff members welcomed me back to American Life League and STOPP. I was surprised but not surprised that this happened. Odd, you say? It was a God thing. I knew something big was about to happen, and for two months I had actually been praying and preparing for what turned out to be a phone call from Hugh Brown.

I retired when I left American Life League in 2015, and let me tell you I was exhausted. I had been working as national director of STOPP for five years right after spinning out of high-profile positions with the Diocese of Amarillo that I had held for 13 years. 

I was the Respect Life and Family Life director at the Diocese of Amarillo and was simultaneously initiated into being editor-in-chief of the diocesan newspaper by Bishop Yanta, who knew very well what he was doing.

And that just leads me to how I discovered the power of the press and the power of media.

We had a problem in Amarillo, a huge problem. Planned Parenthood had been running roughshod for decades with very little public opposition and had a great reputation, believe it or not, even with the people who were running at least one of the area pregnancy help centers.

PP was operating 19 centers in the diocese when Bishop Yanta arrived. He described it to me as “A BISHOP’S WORST NIGHTMARE.” Emphasis added by him. He was so distraught.

Bishop Yanta knew that we needed to concentrate on educating about the reality of PP. So enter Rita to tell the people of the diocese the truth about PP and other matters through the West Texas Catholic. It was a brilliant idea, and we were able to gain so much momentum with that one diocesan newspaper.

But the very core of our 100 percent effective campaign against PP in the Texas Panhandle was always bringing Jesus to Planned Parenthood through Mary. And we did that by praying the Rosary on site at their facilities and by always carrying an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe with us. We also met the PP staff wherever they were in the community—whether at their board meetings or at their gatherings. Anyplace they were, there we were also. It was a win-win strategy that Jim Sedlak assisted us with often, and we saw the closure of every Planned Parenthood facility in the diocese, sometimes one by one, sometimes multiple closures in the same day. 

I had first started to learn and form the strategy from previous days with the Body of Christ Rescue in Corpus Christi, Texas, where by the grace of God and Our Lady we saw the two freestanding abortion centers there shut down permanently.

In my earlier days before Rescue, I worked at Birthright as a volunteer. Birthright is a nationwide pregnancy help center organization—the only one I knew of in the early 1980s. There we were led and trained by Dr. Francette Meaney, who is, in my opinion, a living saint. Coincidentally, she always made sure we had lots of literature and information from ALL as a part of our training. I would take my precious adopted baby to work there, and he would sit in the playpen and charm the moms coming in for pregnancy tests, diapers, formula, clothes, etc., making my job of pleading for the lives of their children much more fruitful. 

And there, also, we had images of Our Lady all around. That is where our Protestant receptionist (whose sweet baby was beside mine in the playpen) learned the exact right times to bring Our Lady’s image into the counseling room, of her own volition. That would be when a pregnant young lady’s mom was screaming and crying and yelling at her daughter for being pregnant. Our Lady’s image never failed to calm those grandmoms down. We would be planning a baby shower by the time the new mom and grandmom left.

So I know the power of Our Lady. I’ve seen the praying of the Rosary drive out workers from the baby-killing center who were obviously possessed as they screamed, shrieked, and rolled on the ground. I’ve had workers say they left PP after working there for years because the image of the Blessed Mother that I positioned in front of their windows made them so uncomfortable. One lady even left the PP facility she had been at for many years and ran off to another, only to find “that lady”—me—there again holding the same huge image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She quit.

So here I stand, again with ALL staff after seven years away. I’m here because Jim Sedlak has left us here—unintentionally, suddenly, and tragically—with this gaping hole, this work to do, this great legacy, and huge cowboy boots that cannot be filled. And I was kindly invited back to help keep Jim’s work going. Here we are, Lord. We are trusting You will lead us!

American Life League’s newly named Interim Director of STOPP International was once “a card-carrying member” of the feminist, abortion promotion group, NOW. Rita Diller openly admits that was a long time ago. Diller, often referred to as a “pro-life hero,” now has almost four decades of advocacy for the sanctity of human life behind her. STOPP International is American Life League’s initiative dedicated to educating people about Planned Parenthood’s culture of death and shutting down its facilities.