By CHRISSY SMITH
Tammany West news
SLIDELL – Michelle Gorney wanted a baby of her own.
That desire led her to start the St. Tammany Right to Life organization in 1985, and the group has been going strong ever since. Now for the 23rd year in a row, the Life Chain will take place on Sunday, Oct. 5 in Slidell from 2 to 3 p.m. The Life Chain is an event where pro-life believers stand on Gause Blvd. and pray for 60 minutes, while holding pro-life signs that say things like “Jesus Forgives and Heals,” “Abortion Kills Children,” or “Adoption the Loving Option.”
Gorney has been a Registered Nurse for 33 years, but even before she started her career, she and her husband Chuck began trying to have a child.
“It took five years, but we got pregnant and had our daughter Rachel,” Gorney said. “But after we had her, we tried again and we had infertility problems once more. We decided to adopt a baby, but we were told it would be at least three years unless we were wealthy and could adopt outside the country.”
From there, she and her husband went to talk to the pro-life coordinator of the Archdiocese in New Orleans and the St. Tammany Right to Life group was started, although it was a small organization.
“We were just shocked there weren’t more babies to adopt here. We realized how many abortions were taking place,” Gorney said. “The driving force for me has been my love for the blessed Mary.”
Gorney and her family, devout Catholics, said they prayed the Rosary that they would have a child and for Mary to intercede.
“Before I got pregnant with Rachel, we lived in Maryland. A woman who was my mom’s age asked me to go to a pro-life meeting so I went. They had baby models out and I never forgot that,” Gorney said.
Three years after having Rachel, though, Gorney and her husband adopted an infant named Paul, who is now 21 years old.
“We had tried everything to get pregnant, but we never could so after adopting Paul we weren’t worried about having anymore,” Gorney said.
However, God had other plans because two years after the adoption, Gorney got pregnant with her youngest child Phillip who is 18 years old.
“Human life begins at conception. It is a scientific fact, not something that can be argued,” Gorney said. People say they don’t want to go through nine months of being pregnant. They say they don’t have enough money, are too young or not married. But who does that remind you of? The Mother Mary.”
Gorney and her daughter have had their own experience with having to make a tough decision.
“When Rachel was younger, she got pregnant and was not ready to be a mom. She decided to give the baby up for adoption. She said she knew how much Paul fulfilled our lives and she wanted to do that for someone else,” Gorney said. “When she told us she was pregnant, it was right then and there that I could understand the emotions other people have. But I still don’t believe abortion is the answer. There are too many people who would take a baby in a heartbeat.”
October is National Respect Life Month. The second annual pro-life dinner will be held on Saturday, Oct. 4 at St. Luke the Evangelist Church, 910 Cross Gates Blvd. in Slidell at 6:30 p.m. Fox News reporter Todd Starnes will be the guest speaker, and the cost is $60 per person.
Gorney and other members of the St. Tammany Right to Life group have been instrumental in changing some of the abortion laws in Louisiana.
“We have chipped away at some of the laws. Now there is a 24-hour waiting period for someone who wants to have an abortion. An ultrasound has to at least be offered, and the abortionists have to have admitting responsibilities to a hospital in case something goes wrong,” Gorney said. “We’ve come a long way, but we still have a ways to go.”
For more information about the St. Tammany Right to Life, call 985-882-7210 or 985-640-8765.