I like shooting down and ridiculing the pathetic arguments of abortion advocates. It’s fun and easy, like air hockey. But from time to time, I also like to highlight the work of people who are helping end abortion. To that end, I’d like to introduce you to a dynamic Dallas-based pro-lifer, Janna Lewis.
Last year I told you about an organization called Council for Life. I was invited to attend their annual Celebrating Life Luncheon in Dallas, where I met a lot of wonderful pro-lifers and became, to my great surprise, a big Kathy Ireland fan. She was their keynote speaker, and she was – listen to me – completely awesome.
This year’s Celebrating Life Luncheon is coming up on November 8 in Dallas, and since I won’t be able to attend this year (booo!), I contacted Council for Life and was able to have a few words with the organization’s president (yaaaay!), a delightful woman named Janna Lewis who told me more about Council for Life and their mission.
Council for Life started in 2001, when eleven women came together in Dallas and decided to help “empower men, women and youth to make life-affirming choices,” according to Lewis. “We work to raise funds for those life-affirming agencies that share our mission. Raising public awareness and raising funds are the two essential elements of Council for Life.”
When I attended last year’s Council for Life, I at first felt a little out of place among the well-to-do ladies who lunch, but I was quickly put at ease by their warmth and kindness. These ladies lunch for an excellent cause. Since 2001, they have raised – get ready for this – $3.3 million for pro-life organizations. The Celebrating Life Luncheon is their main fundraising event, and the millions they raised have benefited over 30 life-affirming agencies. “This year we’re approaching that $4 million mark,” Ms. Lewis told me. And I probably said something like, “Whoa.”
This year’s luncheon, as always, will help Council for Life’s very worthy beneficiaries in very real, tangible ways: ultrasound machines, office space, new staff, medical equipment. The 2012 beneficiaries – among them Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas, Chosen Child Adoption Services, Dallas Pregnancy Resource Center, Ft. Worth Pregnancy Resource Center, Operation Outcry, Just Say Yes, and Lifesavers Foundation – will be able to help more women and save more babies because of Council for Life’s members and donors.
Janna Lewis is one of those rare, compassionate people who have turned their hearts for life into a mission.
“I became involved with Council for Life in 2006,” Lewis told me. “A friend invited me to a membership coffee… It was one of those callings that I just responded to.”
Before Lewis joined Council for Life, the pro-life crusade wasn’t part of her daily routine. “I didn’t realize how pro-life I was until I became a part of Council for Life. I began as a volunteer, got on the board… and God put me here as president. It’s one of those things where you look up and go, ‘Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity.’”
Lewis explained that a close friend’s experience helped form her pro-life values. “When I was a senior in high school, my best friend became pregnant. Her parents gave her an option, and she chose life, and that made a huge impact on me. That was one of those turning points in my life.”
Lewis’s excitement about Council for Life can be heard in her voice. She told me about their junior group, with a discounted membership rate and a focus on educating youth. A recent teen speaker at a junior Council for Life event told members about her difficult decision to release her baby for adoption – a story that must have been a powerful pro-life witness for young people.
Janna Lewis is convinced that other states can learn from the great pro-life strides Texas has made. “Obviously I hope that we’re a great role model for other states to be courageous, and we hope that other cities and states will look to Council for Life and possibly form affiliate chapters. As a matter of fact, our ten-year anniversary project launched our affiliate program to take Council for Life to other cities. We’ve dedicated funds to that specific effort, and it looks as though Ft. Worth will be our first Council for Life outside Dallas. We’d love to move all across the country.”
To Lewis, the pro-life mission is a way of sharing the Gospel. “Those complex issues surrounding pregnancy can only be resolved with Christ-like love and compassion,” she said. “We’re not here to judge anybody.” To Lewis and Council for Life, sharing the Gospel means helping, educating, and saving lives – not passing judgment. They also stay out of politics. “We educate; we don’t legislate,” she explained.
In other words, Council for Life is, simply, here to help. “There are many resources,” said Lewis. “I think so many times these young women and men are afraid, and fear then blinds them to the resources that are available. And there are people who want to walk alongside and help them make life-affirming choices or help them recover from not making life-affirming choices. The resources are there. There is redemption. There is hope.”
And, Lewis reminds us, anyone can help. Literally anyone can get involved for life. “There are so many pro-life organizations, and so many things that need to be done. Start the conversation. It’s time to take a stand. It’s time to decide. We can’t pretend like abortion doesn’t exist anymore. We’ve got to protect life in our country.”
I am proud to call the good people at Council for Life friends, and I encourage you to seek them out if you’re looking for a way to get involved for life.
This year’s Celebrating Life Luncheon will feature keynote speaker Ray Comfort and honored guest Dr. Charles Stanley. To find out more about attending, donating, or becoming a Council for Life member, visit CouncilforLife.org.
Also, stay tuned for my fascinating interview with Mr. Comfort, creator of the pro-life film 180.