Story and photo by Carolee McGrath
HOLYOKE – Catherine Adair, a former Planned Parenthood employee, addressed the crowd gathered at the Log Cabin here for the 19th annual Pro-Life Breakfast Oct. 7.
The event, planned to coincide with the Catholic Church’s Respect Life Sunday, was sponsored by the Political Action Committee for the Civil Rights of the Unborn Child, which benefits pro-life candidates, regardless of their political party.
“The story I’m going to share today is about my pro-life conversion, but also about my personal experience with abortion and also with working in the largest abortion clinic in New England; Planned Parenthood,” Adair said.
Adair, who was raised Catholic, shared her personal experience with abortion. She had an abortion when she was in college. She described how her mother made the appointment for her. “I felt so empty,” she explained. “You have this life and it was gone.”
Adair said that after her abortion, she was so hurt, that she buried her emotions and never discussed it. After she graduated from college, she made a decision to not only support what some call a woman’s “right to choose,” but to promote it. “When I graduated, I saw Planned Parenthood was hiring and I was really excited about it because I saw it as a progressive, pro-woman organization.”
But after working there for nearly a year in the mid-1990s, Adair said she witnessed something at the clinic that was a turning point in her life. “We did second trimester abortions at this Planned Parenthood clinic, and there was a day when I was asked as a medical assistant to help out in the room,” she said. “At that point, I saw the remains of a baby and it shocked me and it changed things for me.”
Adair, who is from the Fitchburg area, has been described as Massachusetts’ own Abby Johnson, who made national headlines a few years ago. Johnson was a former director of Planned Parenthood in College Station, Texas. Her view of abortion changed after witnessing an ultra-sound guided abortion.
Adair, a mother of four, is expecting her fifth child in February. She also touched on another threat to human life, physician assisted suicide. If passed in Massachusetts this November, Question 2 would legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state. Father William Lunney, the pastor of both Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and St. Jerome Parish in Holyoke, said Catholics need to vote no on Question 2. “This is something so anti-life and so inhuman, people need to be aware of it and get out and vote against this,” he said. “This is something that is not good for society, not good for our nation, our state or our families.”
The pro-life breakfast is one of many events taking place throughout western Massachusetts, during October, which is designated by the church as Respect Life Month.