Annual Banquets Draw Record Attendance as the Pro-Life Movement Surges Forward into its Biggest Ever Battle
Acclaimed Hollywood actor Jim Caviezel and late-term abortion attempt survivor Melissa Ohden joined Kansans for Life (KFL) and nearly 2,500 pro-life supporters at back-to-back banquets on February 15 and 16, 2022, setting a new attendance record for the annual events. The banquets were held in Overland Park and Wichita, Kansas.
Caviezel and Ohden delivered impassioned appeals to members of the pro-life movement to fully engage as Kansas has become a destination state for extreme abortion practices. A 2019 Kansas Supreme Court Ruling stated that all laws limiting abortion are presumed unconstitutional. Since that ruling, the abortion industry has marketed to women from other states for these extreme abortions. For this reason, KFL worked with the Kansas Legislature to place the VALUE THEM BOTH State Constitutional Amendment on the ballot on August 2, when Kansans will have the ultimate say in whether to preserve or reject existing pro-life laws.
Caviezel shared his moving personal family story of adopting three children internationally, all of whom have significant medical needs, including one with a brain tumor and one with cancer.
“All children, regardless of physical or mental challenges, are perfect in God’s eyes and each teaches the world how to truly love,” said Caviezel. “God needs us to be courageous in defending these and all of his precious children.” He inspired the crowd to step forward and bravely speak the truth witnessed to by the pro-life movement.
Ohden, who narrowly survived an attempted saline abortion procedure, represented herself and others whom she works to connect through the Abortion Survivors Network, now over 400 survivors strong.
Speaking with compassion for her birth mother, Ruth, who sought to abort Ohden as a preborn baby, Ohden said, “(she) was a secondary victim. And I never want people to have to choose between her life and mine. The culture out there wants to pit (her) against me, but I can tell you, I want people to value us both.”
The full lineup of speakers and several powerful videos helped attendees understand the gravity of the moment for pro-life Kansans.
“We know that the world is watching Kansas,” said Ohden. “The Guttmacher Institute, which historically has been Planned Parenthood’s research arm, expects an over 1300 percent increase in the number of abortions performed here in Kansas if the U.S. Supreme Court gives states greater flexibility to regulate the abortion industry.” Ohden explained that this was due to the fact that, “the (more than) 20 laws that Kansans for Life and all of you have worked so hard to put in place are in imminent danger.”
“If there was ever a time for Kansans to rise and get motivated to protect life—both women and preborn babies—the time is now!” said KFL President Mary Wilkinson.
Lifetime Achievement Awards:
At the events, Kansans for Life presented two Lifetime Achievement awards. In Overland Park, KFL honored longtime pro-life advocate Mary Kay Culp for her tireless defense of preborn babies in Kansas, Missouri, and at the national level. She received two standing ovations from the crowd of over 1,400 attendees for her unique brand of fearlessness, spunk and grit.
In Wichita, KFL co-founder Alan Weldon received a post-humous award for his dedicated service for over four decades. Weldon was a quiet bastion of wisdom and foresight for the pro-life movement in Kansas from its very inception and dedicated his last years of service to the fight against euthanasia of the aging and medically fragile.
Kansans for Life hosted the banquets as an annual fundraising event to support the ongoing work of the organization. Last year’s event featured former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who praised KFL saying, “Kansans for Life is the state’s most powerful and respected voice on life issues. Their long line of accomplishments and successes prove KFL is the voice we need for the pro-life battles ahead.” NFL quarterback Tim Tebow headlined the 2020 event in Overland Park.