Issue No. 20: December 20, 1995
P L A G A L
M E M O R A N D U M
Post Office Box 33292Washington, DC 20033
A Newsletter for Members and Friends of the
Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians
MANY VOICES, ONE MESSAGE:
PLAGAL HOSTS PRO-LIFE FORUM
AT JANUARY 22 MARCH FOR LIFE
All who come to Washington D.C. for the annual March for Life -- and all of our sisters and brothers in the lesbian and gay community -- are welcome to PLAGAL's forum on New Voices in the Pro-Life Movement.
On Sunday, January 21, 1996, at 5:00 P.M. (the eve of the March) we will host a talk by Mary Hanes, Chairwoman of the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life (NOEL) at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 400 New Jersey Avenue, NW, where dozens of pro-life meetings will occur that weekend. The men and women of PLAGAL see this forum as a place to celebrate the diversity of the Pro-Life movement, a chance to show how non-stereotypical pro-lifers work on behalf of the unborn. Following the forum, we will offer soft drinks and fellowship, with ample time for guests :to join the pro-life worship services scheduled in Washington churches that evening.
As is our custom, we will meet for the March at 11:40 A.M., on Monday morning, January 22, 1995, at the statue of Benjamin Franklin right in front of the Old Post Office, corner of Twelfth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Some may arrive early and partake of a very welcome cup of coffee inside. We will then proceed to the Rally at the Ellipse, about four blocks away, and then participate in the great March down Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill.
Once PLAGAL's band of marchers arrive at the crest of Capitol Hill, as is our usual custom, we will stop by the side of Pennsylvania Avenue and distribute the yellow brochure, "An Open Letter to the Pro-Life Movement," to the rest of the parade. PLAGAL will visit our Congressmen after the March, as we did last year. This year, we plan to meet Representatives Henry Hyde and Charles Canady, who introduced the Partial Birth Abortion ban, a measure that we have supported (and which many PLAGAL members publicized in the gay community). When we meet with these Congressmen, we will commend their efforts and urge them to continue to help save more unborn children.
Monday evening, January 22, 1996, is the time of the Annual Rose Dinner, the culmination of not only the March for Life but also of the weekend's (January 20-21, 1996) Pro-Life Convention, also being held at the Regency Hyatt. The cost of the Rose Dinner is $50, but it is $75 when combined with the Convention Registration. PLAGAL members expecting to attend the weekend's activities are urged to contact the National Office.
ABORTION SCANDAL ROCKS
PHILLY AIDS WALK
Scores of preregistered AIDS walkers cancelled their participation in the 10/15/95 AIDS walk sponsored by From All Walks of Life [FAWOL] after the diversion of funds to two Philadelphia area abortion clinics was revealed in a letter published in The Philadelphia Inquirer." PLAGAL Vice President Chuck Volz revealed the scandal in a letter which questioned the propriety of taking funds intended for the nutritional and medical needs of PWA's and funneling then to Planned Parenthood and the Elizabeth Blackwell Clinic.
"It came as a big surprise to the guardians of gay political correctness that so many members of our community believe as I do -- they are walking to support LIFE, not to contribute to DEATH. It is a betrayal of PWA's to deprive them of food and drugs for the sake of multimillion dollar abortion clinics. If abortion providers want to help AIDS sufferers, they should be contributing to FAWOL, not vice versa" said Chuck. "FAWOL will certainly not be forthcoming with the true extent of their losses, but, given the shrill and visceral personal attacks by FAWOL's director, they must be substantial."
Mike Ferens, Leader of Philadelphia's PLAGAL chapter, stressed that PLAGAL had tried unsuccessfully for two years to have FAWOL change their policy and called the attacks on Chuck misguided. "After all, if there was a drop-off of funds, it was a direct result of FAWOL's policy. How many more PWA's are we going to sacrifice on the altar of political correctness?"
As a board member and later as President of Diversity of Pride [DOP] the gay pride organization for Greater Philadelphia, Chuck led the group back from $27,000 of accumulated debt into the black for the first time in five years. On October 8, 1995, DOP tripled the attendance at their annual National Coming Out Day Block Party to 12,000, or "The Best Block Party by a mile" as voted by CITY PAPER, a straight Philadelphia news weekly. Believing the DOP presidency would stifle his prolife activism, Chuck retired to direct more attention to his 7 year old daughter and 3 year old son, and to PLAGAL. "Like Henry Clay, I would rather be right than be president." Chuck remains on the board of DOP and Mike Ferens was recently named to the board of Pridefest, a group that coordinates a week long festival of gay dances, seminars, and lectures in May. "Who says PLAGAL members are not active in the gay community?" queries Mike.
Chuck says PLAGAL members should be forewarned to expect condemnation and punishment from some members of the gay community; however "the fight at Stonewall was for our right to be different, not just to replace society's "straight" jacket with gay conformity demands."
"'From ALL Walks of Life' is a misnomer as both straight and gay prolifers have been excluded from supporting the AIDS community. Our fight for inclusion has just begun." warns Chuck.
Chuck's letter as reproduced by the Philadelphia Inquirer read as follows:
AIDS BENEFIT QUESTIONED
I am appalled that From All Walks of Life (FAWOL) has listed Planned Parenthood and Elizabeth Blackwell as beneficiaries of its yearly AIDS walk once again. Thousands and thousands of Philadelphians participate in the walk, believing the money they raise will help provide medicine and food for people with AIDS without realizing that at least $15,000 each year is diverted to the two largest abortion clinics in Philadelphia. So, instead of saving lives, they are contributing to their destruction.
How many of the marchers realize they are subsidizing the abortion industry? Where is the press to question this misappropriation of funds? Where is the "right to know" of the walkers?
FAWOL is guilty of a terrible breach of faith with the community it is pledged to assist. If multimillion-dollar abortion clinics were interested in people with AIDS, they should be contributing to FAWOL, and not vice-versa.
The Planned Parenthood affiliate in Philadelphia alone, by performing 4,000 abortions at an average of $300 per abortion, makes $1.2 million per year. One would think that a "full-service reproductive facility" would do its own AIDS screening and prevention without taking the food from the mouths of those dying from AIDS.
Charles F. Volz Jr., Philadelphia
PLAGAL LOCAL CONTACTS
BIRMINGHAM: Martha Goodson
1308 Plum Tree Trail No. "B"
Birmingham, AL 35226
BOSTON: Philip Arcidi
747 Main Street
Concord, MA 01742
(508) 369-5095 FAX
CLEVELAND: Cecilia Holesovsky
Post Office Box 609001
Cleveland, OH 44109
MINN/ST.P: John R. Stanek
5053 Washburn Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55412-2225
OMAHA: Elizabeth Bejan
210 South 24th St. No. 102
Omaha, NE 68102
PHILA: Charles F. Volz, Jr.
10935 Ellicott Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154
PORTLAND OR: Michele
ROCHESTER: Donna M. Kearney
Post Office Box 10035
Rochester, NY 14610
SAN JOSE: Steve Cook
Post Office Box 4848
San Jose CA 95150
WASH. DC: National Office
P. O. Box 33292
Washington, DC 20033
CLIPPINGS AND CONTACTS
Again, we would like to remind our readers that PLAGAL needs the names (and addresses and voice and fax numbers) of local gay and lesbian media, and when anything appears in the lesbian and gay media discussing the Pro-Life movement, or in any media discussing PLAGAL, PLEASE send it to us. We do not have -- and cannot afford -- a clipping service or subscriptions to the multitude of lesbian and gay media.
meanwhile. . .
The October 16, 1995, issue of The New Republic presented an interesting cover article of some interest to PLAGAL's members. Naomi Wolf, an acknowledged pro-choicer, argued rather compellingly that the fetus is a human being, and that pro-choicers were making a major mistake -- moral as well as rhetorical -- in denying that fetus's humanity. Now, the only question is how long Ms. Wolf will be able to maintain her pro-choice position in light of this revelation.
PHILLY PLAGAL MEETS
A small but dynamic cross-section of the 50+ Greater Philadelphia's PLAGALites met at the home of Mike Ferens on November 28, 1995 to chart the chapter's course in the City of Brotherly Love. A thoughtful analysis was made of PLAGAL's activities in the local gay community and the local pro-life community. Immediately discussed was the continuing diversion of funds raised by Philadelphia's AIDS Walk to area abortion providers and the chapter's plans to join in the January 22nd March for Life in Washington.
Mike Ferens spoke from the heart when he urged chapter members to get involved in some prolife involvement, and suggested the Blessed Margaret of Castello Home for Crisis Pregnancies -- the only crisis pregnancy center in Philadelphia to be continually open since its founding in 1987 -- and one which has been financially challenged since its former President, Chuck Volz, has become active with PLAGAL and the local gay community. Mike grimaced when he related the story of moving to Philadelphia, contacting the prolife hotline, and asking how he could get involved with the prolife movement. When Mike mentioned to the individual on the hotline that he felt awkward around those quoting from the Bible (for obvious reasons), the hotline suggested that he become more familiar with the Bible. Mike's prolife involvement was greatly delayed by that off-putting remark and wanted future PLAGAL members to know their efforts would be appreciated and needed elsewhere.
Chuck Volz promised much more PLAGAL activism now that he is retired as President of the local PRIDE organization. "They (the gay, pro-abortion "leadership") thought I was a handful when I was muzzled by my presidency. They haven't seen anything yet."
The group decided to meet again on December 9, 1995. Invitations were mailed and announcements were sent to both Philadelphia area gay papers.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY PLAGAL TO GATHER
There will be a meeting of PLAGAL members in the San Francisco area, on the evening of Tuesday, February 13, 1996. The meeting will be at Ristorante Fior d'Italia, 601 Union Street (corner of Union and Stockton). Members will meet at 7:30 P.M. for supper (order your own), and then discuss organizing an active San Francisco group at 8:15 P.M. PLAGAL Secretary-Treasurer Joe Beard and PLAGAL National Vice-President Steve Cook, our Bay Area Contact, will speak.
PLAGAL SPEAKS AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
At PLAGAL's speaking debut in New York City, Vice President Chuck Volz and President Philip Arcidi met a lively and diverse audience at Columbia University. On November 14, they were hosted by the Pro-Life Coalition of the Columbia Law School to speak to the energetic and eclectic pro-lifers there, as well as interested gay and lesbian students, New York PLAGALites, and their pro-life friends.
This was Chuck and Philip's first joint speaking engagement; both agreed that it would not be their last. "Philip is very scholarly and thoughtful. I am much more extemporaneous and -- dare I say it -- radical in my approach. I don't know what worried Philip more: Hostile questions or what I was likely to say", noted Chuck.
While Philip and Chuck's sponsors were a straight pro-life group, their appearance had been publicized to the gay press. Several lesbian and gay groups were represented in the audience, including some from other campuses. While the audience offered no consensus on the issue of abortion, all agreed the afternoon's discussion gave plenty of food for thought. Chuck pointed out, "Thought is never bad. It is only when thinking stops that trouble begins."
Both Chuck and Philip agreed that some confrontational questioners in the audience gave them the chance to drive home points they couldn't have otherwise addressed. Chuck asked, given the startling discoveries in the search for the "gay gene," what the gay community would do to prevent selective abortion of gays and lesbians. Some in the audience ventured that anti-gay discrimination statutes would prevent such abortions. But Chuck replied that this would be a foolhardy hope. "If a woman's right to privacy prevails over a child's right to live, it will surely prevail over the 'right' of that child to be gay?" Otherwise, Chuck continued,"only straight children could be aborted."
Chuck is currently making plans to speak to University of Delaware's prolife student group and to University of Pennsylvania's lesbian and gay student group in Spring.
In a pitch for life-affirming diversity, the Cornell Coalition for Life invited Vice-President Cecilia Holesovsky and Philip Arcidi to Ithaca, New York on November 9.
Holesovsky delivered a moving account of her path through two crisis pregnancies to her pro-life activism; Arcidi spoke of PLAGAL's imperative to break through the pro-abortion orthodoxies of our gay "leadership." Donna Marie Kearney, PLAGAL's coordinator in Rochester, New York, joined us that evening. Her strong pro-life values and her infectious enthusiasm helped Cornell see how diverse and committed the women and men of PLAGAL are.
We were warmly received by an audience that was virtually all pro-life, yet as refreshingly diverse as any student group. At the door, a couple of lesbians from the Cornell gay community passed out leaflets to protest our presence. We invited them to stay for the talk. They politely declined, but did take a few of our folders and Holesovsky's surveys on gay and lesbian views about abortion. After the talk, the Cornell students raised some good questions about our work. The engagement was mutually beneficial: we were happy to get the Cornell students' support; they were intrigued by the new pro-life perspective we shared with them.
TO SIMMONS COLLEGE
The leaders of the Voice for the Voiceless, the pro-life alliance at Simmons, a women's College in Boston, made pro-life activism a new theme for their Campus's Gay Pride week. on October 19, they invited Philip Arcidi to discuss the support gays and lesbians can offer on behalf of the unborn. The Pro-life women of Simmons are among the most resilient we've met, a small, but steady presence on a campus awash in pro-abortion orthodoxy.
The women who heard PLAGAL that evening found the voice of gay and lesbian Pro-lifers a welcome supplement to their own. From now on, anyone who debates a pro-lifer from Simmons will encounter an exceptionally broad defense of the unborn -- the reasoning of a feminist who knows that she has allies in the gay and lesbian community.
PLAGAL AT DARTMOUTH
When Philip Arcidi spoke for PLAGAL at Dartmouth on November, 28th, he greeted one of the most diverse audiences we' ve encountered at a college campus: pro-lifers and self-titled pro-choicers; some straight, some gay, and some lesbian. All were curious about the synergy between the pro-gay and pro-life point of view. An atmosphere of civility and mutual respect prevailed, with many of the best questions coming from our sisters and brothers in the gay community.
The Dartmouth Pro-Life Coalition, which invited PLAGAL, is an energetic campus presence, an impressive alliance of thoughtful men and women. Arcidi joined a couple of them in a long conversation with a lesbian doctor who performs abortions. The dialogue was refreshingly civil, but the doctor's perspective was unsettling -- and inconsistent. Our Dartmouth allies, adept at thinking on their feet, asked her if she'd abort a preborn girl if the parents wanted a boy. No, she couldn't. When the child is no longer an abstraction, abortion advocates find it hard to trivialize his or her right to exist.
LENDING A HAND
ON WORLD AIDS DAY
Three men of PLAGAL and a woman who allies herself with us were lunchtime volunteers at Boston's Living Center, where people with AIDS come for support and meals. James Geller, Philip Arcidi, and Jackie Fullmer helped serve a crowd of about 40, met the staff at the living center, and helped clean up the kitchen -- standard volunteer duties, yet also a life-affirming way to offer help to our gay brothers and others with AIDS.
While staff members at The Living Center were a bit surprised to hear about PLAGAL -- our presence was an education in itself - - they were happy to have us join them. We were impressed with the help they offer those in need.
We PLAGALites in Boston learned what our colleagues in other cities have discovered; that a bit of volunteer work for the gay community goes a long way. It helps remind us of the breadth of the pro-life message. Just as importantly, it helps others in the community see that their pro-life brothers and sisters share a common dedication to the welfare of gays and lesbians.
Boston Area PLAGALites attended the Ivy League Coalition for Life conference at Wellesley College, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on November 4, 1995. Philip Arcidi, James Geller, and Mike Dubson attended workshops and lectures, networked with the young (and predominantly female) pro-lifers, and operated a table set up in the hallway where conference members were able to take home PLAGAL literature and speak directly to members on the unique pro-life, pro-gay position that PLAGAL espouses.
In addition to PLAGAL, several organization providing literature were Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Feminists for Life, American Rights Coalition, A Woman's Concern (a Boston area crisis pregnancy center), and Daybreak. Speakers included were Doug Scott, author of Bad Choices, Marie Oates, a media director and journalist, Helen Pendley, a former abortion clinic manager and now a member of Life Ministries, and Chris Tyrell, President of American Collegians for Life.
The conference energized all who attended. To be there was to see our next generation of pro-lifers -- a diverse and dedicated coalition. The Spring 1996 ILCL gathering will be on March 29-31, at Fairfield University, in Fairfield, Connecticut. Call Chris Maroney at (203) 256-6994 for more details.
AN ENCOURAGING WORD
I am writing to thank your organization for going above, beyond and travelling -- of all places -- to Buffalo! Your member Cecilia Holesovsky was a moving speakers and a generous soul. Your organization has been immensely helpful by providing pamphlets, speakers and support! Both women who manned the table travelled a distance, more than any other speaker. For a small organization, you are quite impressive. Donna Kearney was a wonderful representative of your organization. Philip Arcidi was also helpful in locating a speaker. I can't forget Joe -- he's the first PLAGAL member I met -- via the Internet. Keep up the good work. God bless your group.
U[niv] B[uffalo] Students for Life
SAN JOSE ACTIVITIES
Steve Cooke, PLAGAL Vice-President, reports from San Jose, California: In the summer, being unemployed, I was waking up earlier on Saturdays than I do now; so (as an individual, not connected to any organization) I was peacefully picketing a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic and singing, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." I noticed that this song strangely affected the clinic's volunteers in their having guilty looking faces, with eyes that looked away from my eyes. My sign read, "Killing Children Never Advances Gay Rights." In response to the sign, one volunteer broke her silence and asked me questions out of curiosity.
One morning, I saw the paramedic arrive and enter the abortion clinic. (It reminded me of the time some years ago that I witnessed an ambulance at a different abortion clinic take away a woman injured from an abortion.) Another morning, a counter-protester (with a sign saying, "I'm queer") arrived to drown out my singing about peace with his radio and told me that I was not a human being (for my being pro-life, I assume. Maybe he thought I was just a blob of "tissue.") He equated abortion with a "queer" right. Ironically, after he left, a female stranger come out of the Planned Parenthood clinic and called me a "fag." No pro-life person ever called me a name.
Steve further reports that on November 29, 1995, he accompanied Faye Jeanis, Chairman of the San Jose Pro-Life Council (the local affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee) to a meeting with Tom Campbell, a pro-choice Republican who was running for a vacant Congressional seat in the San Jose area.
PHILLY'S SECOND MEETING
The Philadelphia PLAGAL chapter held a meeting and pre-Christmas dinner party on Saturday, December 9, 1995. The chapter discussed two specific immediate goals, one directed to the Gay Community and one directed to the Pro-Life Community: (1) writing the Philadelphia AIDS Consortium at 260 S. Broad Street, Suite 610, Phila., PA 19102 or calling (215) 985-6200 to express opposition to the planned diversion of AIDS funds to several Planned Parenthood Affiliates in the Philadelphia area (Bucks County P.P.. $16,444 and Chester County P.P. $10,440) and urging the entire board to reject the recommendation of its executive committee and restrict its funding to non-abortion related matters and (2) forming several car pools to attend the Monday, January 22, 1996, March for Life in Washington, D.C.
Mike Ferens and Chuck Volz are eagerly anticipating this year's March for Life; They related several "war" stories of PLAGAL's last two years in the March. Everyone who attended the meeting agreed to be included in what is, without dispute, the most colorful and interesting contingent in the entire March -- and what will surely be the source of many tall tales in the future.
All those interested should contact Chuck (215) 632-4685 or Mike (215) 232-9069 for details. It appears that two to three cars will have to be used for the car pool, so all interested in attending and/or driving are urged to contact Mike and Chuck as soon as possible so that all details can be arranged. Beacuse PLAGAL is hosting a forum on on Sunday evening, January 21, some cars may make the trip on Sunday and some on Monday. All will return on Monday night so that participants can return to work on Tuesday.
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