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Fr. Gordon Mann speaks at the Daviess-Martin-Pike Right To Life banquet on Thursday---Photo by Emilee Shake.

“From the womb to the tomb.”

Those were the words repeated several times by Fr. Gordon Mann, pastor at Out Lady of Hope in Washington, at the annual Daviess-Martin-Pike County Right to Life banquet Thursday night. Mann’s message was focused on a verse from the Bible, John 10:10, where Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Mann, remembering when abortion became legal, talked about the reaction of the sisters at his Catholic elementary school.

“The sisters were telling us that to be born in our society was going to be more than beating the odds medically,” Mann said. “Now it was going to be a lottery.”

Mann discussed how the Rowe vs. Wade court case changed the perspective of responsibility in our society.

“We could now choose the consequences we wanted from our actions,” Mann said, following the acknowledgement the ends do not justify the means.

When pastoring at St. Martin Catholic Church, Mann went to the church one Saturday evening to prepare for the Sunday service. Mann found much of the church flooded due to significant amounts of rain the area had received. Somewhat frustrated, Mann began cleaning the mess.

A young lady walking by saw the light on and asked if she could come inside the church. She began telling Mann her story. She’d just had an abortion in Bloomington a few days prior and couldn’t live with herself because of it. She was planning suicide.

Because of her encounter with Mann, his young lady didn’t end her life. Mann shared her story to point out those who take the lives of unborn children don’t care about the lives of the mothers.

“They pretend the consequences don’t exist,” Mann said.

Mann ended his speech by encouraging individuals to do four things: pray, write their senators, quit voting for pro-choice candidates and don’t be afraid to talk about God.

Prior to Mann’s address, Louis Kavanaugh Jr. introduced this year’s honored adopted family Dave, Rhoda, Chanda, Jayson and Jayna Swartz of Cannelburg. Twins Jayson and Jayna were adopted at the age of 3 1/2. They entered into the foster care of the Swartz family at seven months old. After a few years of weekly visitations to their birthmother, their birthmother wrote a letter to Dave and Rhoda asking them to adopt her children. Rhoda read the note at the banquet, causing several to reach for napkins or tissues to dry loose tears.

Jayson and Jayna both expressed gratitude to their birthmother for choosing life on their behalf.

“My mom gave me everything by choosing not to abort me,” Jayson said.

Also honored was Van McAtee who received the Pro-Life award this year for his numerous years of dedication to the pro-life movement.

At the end of the banquet, more than 30 door prizes were awarded.

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