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Knights of Columbus
Connecticut State Council
District 28

138 Coomer Hill Road, Dayville, CT 06241
March 26, 2007 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Five (5) pages, attached, by email References on Page 4. Four (4) photos, attached, with four (4) CUTLINES on Page 5

Contact: Knights of Columbus Connecticut State Council District 28 Deputy Michael G. Schaefer, Sr.: (860) 933-5648 (cell)

Abortion opponents hold prayer vigil in front of Planned Parenthood office in Danielson
Prayers offered for ‘an end to abortion in Connecticut and around the world’
Danielson, Conn. – More than two-dozen (exact count: 28) people gathered last night (Monday) outside the Planned Parenthood office at 87 Westcott Road, to pray for what organizers hope will be, in their words, “an end to abortion in Connecticut and around the world.” The office was closed at the time. Organized by members of the region’s Knights of Columbus Connecticut State Council District 28, the hour-long, peaceful prayer vigil was led by a Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Fr. Anthony J. DiMarco, 50. The priest is both a Knight and the associate pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in North Grosvenordale. “Every prayer makes a difference overall,” DiMarco said. “Changing attitudes is a slow process. Look at slavery. It took generations of Americans working to do away with the evil of slavery. That’s what’s happening now with abortion.”
District 28 is made up of members of the Knights of Columbus and their families in the towns of Killingly, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Thompson and the surrounding areas of northeastern Connecticut.

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DiMarco looked around at the group and saw a half-dozen young people. “It’s significant that youth from all over are becoming more and more pro-life,” he said. “ When I go to the national Right to Life March in Washington every year, I see more and more young people.” With the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute reporting that over 42 million legal abortions were performed in the United States since abortion became legal in 19731, DiMarco says young people can’t help but notice. “They see that classmates, brothers, sisters nieces and nephews who otherwise would have been born are missing. They see that they’ve been killed by abortion,” the priest said. One of the young people praying last night was 16-year-old Alison R. Blanchette, of Thompson. She came to the vigil with other members of the youth group from St. Mary Church of the Visitation in Putnam. “Abortion is wrong,” Blanchette said. Fellow participant Kathleen A. Leonard, of Woodstock, also looked at the young people in the crowd and echoed DiMarco’s opinion. “I’m 53,” Leonard said. “My husband and I got married the year the (U.S.) Supreme Court made abortion legal, in 1973. Since then, I’ve seen a big change in our young people. This new generation is pro-life.” While abortion is a legal right in the U.S., the Knights of Columbus believes it is morally wrong. Local members of the Roman Catholic family and fraternal service organization held the vigil outside the Planned Parenthood office, to observe the International Day of the Unborn. Although no abortions are being done in Danielson, in this region, Planned Parenthood of Connecticut’s website notes that abortions are available at its office in Norwich2. There are thousands of abortions performed annually in Connecticut. The Guttmacher Institute reported 15,240 abortions statewide in 2000, 23 percent of Connecticut’s pregnancies that year3. “We want to change the minds and hearts of our youth, our adults and in the Legislature,” K of C Connecticut State Council District 28 Deputy Michael G. Schaefer, Sr., told the group.
District 28 is made up of members of the Knights of Columbus and their families in the towns of Killingly, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Thompson and the surrounding areas of northeastern Connecticut.

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Schaefer coordinated the event with group members from throughout northeastern Connecticut. “We are sending a confusing and devastating message to our young people, by telling them that it’s acceptable to kill a human being at any stage of pregnancy, right up to partial-birth abortion,” he said. District 28 is made up of members of the Knights of Columbus and their families in the towns of Killingly, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Thompson and the surrounding areas of northeastern Connecticut. One of those members is 20-year-old Joseph R. Provost, of Dayville. Provost is a member of the Mary, Our Lady of the Assuption K of C Council 10454, also in Dayville. He was praying at the evening vigil. For Provost, the abortion issue hits close to home. “My sister is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy right now, “ he said. Her boyfriend is pressuring her to have an abortion, but in my heart I know it’s wrong. We have to respect ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill.’” The International Day of the Unborn began in 1998, when Argentine President Carlos Menem proclaimed the celebration, reaffirming his country’s 1984 ban on nearly all abortions, except where the life of the mother is in danger4. Since then, people in dozens of other nations, including the 1.7 million members of the Knights of Columbus around the world5, have begun either formal or informal observances. To link the observance to pregnancy, it is held on the annual Feast of the Annunciation on the Christian liturgical calendar, traditionally celebrating when Mary, the mother of Jesus, was told she was pregnant, nine months before the celebration of the birth of Christ at Christmas. Argentina is one of more than two-dozen countries, which prohibit abortion, except when the life of the mother is threatened6. Nicaragua is the latest to join that group, passing a comprehensive abortion ban last November7. A ban in the U.S. can’t come too fast for 25-year-old Jacqui M. Bertrand, of Dayville, one of the leaders of the St. Mary’s youth group. Bertrand said she was there to stand up for the unborn – and for their mothers. Prayer and demonstrations of our faith like we’re doing here tonight can be very powerful,” she said. “I’ve seen girls turn away from abortion because of public demonstrations of faith and support. We can help them to learn that there are options to abortion.” -30District 28 is made up of members of the Knights of Columbus and their families in the towns of Killingly, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Thompson and the surrounding areas of northeastern Connecticut.

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References:

District 28 is made up of members of the Knights of Columbus and their families in the towns of Killingly, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Thompson and the surrounding areas of northeastern Connecticut.

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Guttmacher Institute, 120 Wall St.., NY, NY 10005 “Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States, 05/2006”, http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html accessed Mar. 26, 2007
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Planned Parenthood of Connecticut, Inc., Planned Parenthood of Norwich (Conn.), http://www.ppct.org/medical/centers/norwich.shtml accessed Mar. 26, 2007
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Guttmacher Institute, 120 Wall St.., NY, NY 10005 State Center, “State Facts About Abortion: Connecticut” http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/sfaa/connecticut.html accessed Mar. 26, 2007
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Human Rights Watch, “History of Argentina’s Law on Abortion” http://hrw.org/photos/2005/argentina0605/html/argentina.htm accessed Mar. 26, 2007 Knights of Columbus Supreme Office, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510 “Day of the Unborn Child” http://www.kofc.org/eb/en/leadership_institute/surge_with_service/church_activities/da y_of_unborn/index.html accessed Mar. 26, 2007
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Harvard School Of Public Health, Dept. of Population and International Health, 677 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115 Annual Review of Population Law, “Abortion Laws of the World” http://annualreview.law.harvard.edu/population/abortion/abortionlaws.htm accessed Mar. 26, 2007
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Washington Post, “Nicaragua's Total Ban On Abortion Spurs Critics,” Nov. 28, 2006 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/11/27/AR2006112701577.html?nav=rss_world/centralamerica accessed Mar. 26, 2007

PHOTO CUTLINES: Anti-Abortion Vigil 1:

Pictured are several of the 28 people who attended Monday night’s peaceful prayer vigil in front of the Planned Parenthood office, on Westcott Road in Danielson, Conn. The vigil was organized by the local Knights of Columbus. Participants were praying for an end to abortion in the U.S. and worldwide.
Photo: John D. Ryan

Anti-Abortion Vigil 2: A Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Fr. Anthony J. DiMarco, led participants at Monday night’s peaceful prayer vigil, outside the Planned Parenthood office, on Westcott Road in Danielson, Conn. The vigil was organized by the local Knights of Columbus. DiMarco is both a Knight and the associate pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in North Grosvenordale, Conn.
Photo: John D. Ryan

Anti-Abortion Vigil 3: David J. Meunier, Jr., of Dayville, Conn., is shown praying at Monday night’s peaceful prayer vigil to protest abortion. The ceremony was held outside the Planned Parenthood office, on Westcott Road in Danielson, Conn.. Meunier is a member of the local Knights of Columbus, which organized the event.
Photo: John D. Ryan

Anti-Abortion Vigil 4: More than two-dozen people took part in Monday night’s peaceful prayer vigil outside the Planned Parenthood office, on Westcott Road in Danielson, Conn. Organized by the local Knights of Columbus, participants were protesting abortion in the United States and around the world.
Photo: John D. Ryan