Athlone native Siobhan Hall was this year’s recipient of the ‘Pro-Life Volunteer of the Year’ award at the Pro Life Campaign’s National Conference. Pictured above receiving her award from Senator Rónán Mullen
This year’s conference which took place in the RDS Dublin last Saturday was addressed by Ashley Bratcher, lead actress in the recent hit movie ‘Unplanned’. She told the conference, which was attended by 800 people, that she was floored when she first read Abby Johnson’s story after auditioning for the part in the movie.
The movie which tells the story of Abby Johnson’s journey from Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director to one of America’s most articulate pro-life voices reached No.4 in box office sales across the US earlier this year. It also proved a hit with audiences in Ireland following its recent release in cinemas across the country.
Ms Bratcher told the PLC conference that learning about Abby’s story really hit home with her at a very personal level. She said that that her mother had always been very open with her about the fact that she’d had an abortion in the past but after Ashley told her the news that she’d landed a part in the Unplanned movie her mother became very emotional and said: “You don’t know this but I was there in the clinic, they had called my name and I was in the room to abort you and I got up and walked out.”
There was stunned silence in the RDS venue when Ashley told this story. She thanked everyone present for the success of Unplanned in Ireland to date and encouraged them to promote the DVD of the movie when it is released here in the coming months. She challenged everyone to reach out to ‘prochoice’ friends and encourage them to watch the movie and perhaps start a conversation on the issue.
Presenting the award for ‘Pro Life Volunteer of the Year’ to Athlone’s Siobhan Hall, Eilís Mulroy of the Pro Life Campaign said: “Siobhan is a truly worthy recipient of this year’s award. She exemplifies all the qualities in a great volunteer and much more. She is someone who’s always prepared to go the extra mile to help those in need and has devoted a huge amount of time to the pro-life cause without ever counting the personal cost.”
Ms Mulroy continued: “Nothing discourages or deters this year’s recipient from assisting the cause of life. On behalf of everyone here, I want to thank Siobhan for all her years of service and selfless sacrifice. It is a beautiful thing to witness someone so committed to helping others,” she concluded.
The issue of ensuring proper freedom of conscience protections for healthcare workers from having to be involved in assisting in abortions was also raised at the conference. So too was the issue of encouraging people to get out and canvass for pro-life candidates in the upcoming General Election. Senator Rónán Mullen made a passionate appeal to the audience on this point as he introduced Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín, and TDs Mattie McGrath and Peter Fitzpatrick to the audience. Former Fianna Fáil senator John Hanafin was also present as were a number of county councillors from around the country.
The Pro Life Campaign will be releasing online in the coming days the full interview from the conference with Ashley Bratcher which was hosted on stage by Wendy Grace.