Jim Graves is a Catholic writer and editor living in Newport Beach, California. He previously served as Managing Editor for the Diocese of Orange Bulletin, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Orange, California. His work has appeared in the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, Cal Catholic Daily and Catholic World Report.
Chris Slattery is founder and director of EMC (Expectant Mother Care) Frontline Pregnancy Centers in New York City (www.emcfrontline.org). EMC, the largest pregnancy center organization in New York City operates four centers there to offer women seeking abortions alternatives to having them, serving on average 15 new abortion-minded clients per day. The Center has served 150,000 since it opened, and persuaded an estimated 43,000 women not to have abortions.
Slattery first became involved in the pro-life movement in the late 1970s after a “reversion” to Catholicism. He was working in the advertising industry at the time, but by 1990 he became a full-time pro-life activist. Three times he has been jailed because of his participation in Operation Rescue, and his pregnancy centers have been involved in “seven or eight” legal battles with the state and other entities who have tried to close down his centers. He said, “Doing our type of pro-life work will bring you opposition. The abortion industry is fighting us all the time. I am currently engaged in our third New York State Attorney General battle, this time with Eric Schneiderman, who aims to cripple our ultrasound program. He knows we’re stealing away his friends' abortion clients.”
Slattery calls New York City the “Abortion Capital of the Western World,” having more abortions than in any other Western city (83,000 per year, in the latest statistics available). He said, “New York City is a hard place in which to do pro-life work. Hearts are hardened, and the political environment is extremely anti-Life … they’ve done everything they can to crush our movement. It’s a hellishly hostile environment.”
New York churches, both Catholic and Protestant, are “timid” on abortion, and the Catholic bishops’ advocacy against abortion has been “muted,” he said. He says one notable exception, however, was Cardinal John O’Connor, who started the Sisters for Life.
Yet despite the harsh political and religious climate, Slattery’s clinics save one baby every two and a half hours, he said. EMC Frontline advertises using “neutral image advertising,” not disclosing that they’re pro-life. Women seeking abortions come to the clinic, have the opportunity to seen an ultrasound image of their babies, obtain STD testing and receive counseling on alternatives to abortion. They’re able to dissuade about 40% of the women they see from abortion.
Slattery explained, “Our movement is at a stage where local face-to-face action is the name of the game. On the federal level under Trump and in Red states level we’ve seen great strides but in Democrat-controlled states this is a city-by-city fight.”
The most powerful initiative in the pro-life movement in recent years, he opined, is 40 Days for Life (www.40daysforlife.com), and Sidewalk Advocates for Life in which prayer warriors reach out to many women and fast to close abortion clinics.
His centers are in constant need of financing, as New York is the country’s most expensive city, as well as young people willing to devote themselves to the pro-life cause (visit www.prolifeinterns.com). He added, “On this 44th anniversary year of Roe, each of us must reflect on whether we’re doing enough for this critically important cause. Are we doing enough to reach out and rescue young mothers and their children in our communities?”