ORLANDO, FL, February 12, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Legatus, an organization for Catholic business leaders, presented the prestigious Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award to four stalwart pro-life leaders at its annual summit, Feb. 7-9, in Orlando.

Reggie Littlejohn is presented the pro-life award by Legatus founder Tom Monaghan (L) and Legatus Board of Governors member Mike Faricy (R).
Credit: Patrick Novecosky / Legatus

Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, the group which works to end forced abortion in China and elsewhere in the world, was the first of the recipients awarded.  Littlejohn, who was named as one of the top ten people of 2013 by Inside the Vatican magazine, told the assembled business leaders that despite its attestations, “China has not promised to stop forcibly aborting women.” This is, she said, “the real war against women.” 

She revealed that she and her husband Robert have welcomed into their home two girls from China, the daughters of Chinese prisoner of conscience Zhang Lin.  Littlejohn noted the great blessing that she and her husband experience in welcoming Anni (10) and Ruli (19) into their home.  “I had two miscarriages” she said, adding that she can’t help seeing “these two girls as God’s provision for that.”

40 Days for Life National Director David Bereit, another recipient of the award, wowed the crowd with his stories of the founding and flourishing of the movement which has grown worldwide.  “A spiritual battle needs a spiritual solution,” he said as he told the riveting story of the shutting down of the Ransom street abortion facility in Michigan, which opened his eyes to the spiritual reality surrounding abortion.

 The Cardinal John J. O’Connor Award also went to anti-euthanasia activist Rita Marker, JD, one of the senior experts on the subject who has written books, testified and spoken on the issue all over the world.

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David Bereit receives the pro-life award.
Credit: Patrick Novecosky / Legatus

The director of the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children was the final recipient of Legatus’ pro-life award.  John Smeaton’s rousing talk provided a frank assessment of the trials facing the pro-life movement throughout Europe. 

In addition to calling out the bishops of the world to a more robust defense of life, the SPUC leader noted the many costly legal battles his organization has fought. “Most recently last April in the Scottish courts a landmark legal victory confirmed that pro-life senior midwives can refuse to oversee abortions performed by other midwives,” he said. He added however that the decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court, which may end up doubling the already £250,000 SPUC has spent on the case. 

Despite this SPUC remains undaunted. “We will take that risk because Connie Wood and Mary Doogan, the pro-life midwives at the centre of the case, have made huge personal sacrifices in terms of careers, reputation, and finance to fight this battle; because unless we support pro-life health care staff they will be driven out of midwifery, nursing and medicine; and because mothers and babies deserve the best of care and that’s what Connie and Mary are committed to providing.”