Prudence Robertson, a former spokeswoman for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, will be the new anchor of EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, succeeding the series’ inaugural host, Catherine Hadro, in January. Robertson, a 2019 graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, spoke with the Register about how her pro-life stance has been strengthened by seeing the beauty of adoption, attending a faithful Catholic college, and witnessing the fruits of how reasoned, charitable dialogue can persuade people to become pro-life.
How do you feel stepping into this role as the new host of EWTN Pro-Life Weekly?
Coming to serve as the host of Pro-Life Weekly is a dream come true for me, and I’m so excited to be part of this amazing team that started this show just five years ago with a dream to create a weekly national pro-life news show to make sure that our movement and the country is up to date on all the most important pro-life news of the day.
There’s no better place to be the home of Pro-Life Weekly than EWTN. One of the first things I remember watching on TV as a young girl was Mother Angelica praying the Rosary with the sisters every night before I would go to bed; and so, to be a part of that legacy now, it’s just a great privilege and an honor and a blessing. I am holding the prayers of Mother Angelica in my heart, asking for the intercession of the saints to guide this whole process and guide this transition.
Catherine [Hadro] did a great job really paving the way, when it comes to reporting on life, reporting accurately on the pro-life views of the American people, and highlighting so many beautiful stories of children who were born premature, of families who have experienced the gift of adoption, and even sharing stories of women who regret their abortions. It’s so important to be telling these truths and being that light in a media culture that really just contributes to the overall culture of death that we unfortunately see in our society today.
What led to your becoming pro-life?
Definitely my family and my faith, more than anything, has been the source of my pro-life stance. I’ve been pro-life for as long as I can remember. I have a sister who is adopted from Vietnam, and she came to our family when she and I were both 6 months old. We’re actually 23 days apart in age. The story of her adoption and just the fact that she is a part of our family, I believe, was designed by the Lord.
As a young girl, I learned about Mia’s adoption and that her mother didn’t have to choose life for her, but she did, praise God, and that’s because God intended her to be a part of our family. Having that real understanding of the debate — of the question of pro-life or pro-choice — from an early age is what has informed me throughout my whole life.
What gave you the strength to be so vocal on the pro-life issue?
I have always been pro-life; growing up, I would do sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics, but I definitely never imagined that being in the pro-life movement would be my full-time job. But I was blessed to land an internship at Susan B. Anthony List in the summer of 2018 and that, I think, served as the catalyst for me to learn that there is a political arm of the pro-life movement and that the pro-life movement in America was much bigger than I had ever imagined or understood.
I was serving as a spokeswoman pretty early on in my time at SBA List, but I learned from them and from their research arm the extremism of abortion law in our nation and the fact that it needs to change. How could I not be a part of that important change in modernizing the laws that exist in our country today and ensuring that unborn children in the womb have a voice and are recognized in our country, which is supposed to be the leader of the free world.
How could I not be a part of that and to be a part of the movement here in Washington, D.C., at the center, where political decisions are made?
In your work with SBA List, how important did you find the pro-life issue to be?
Extremely important. A lot of times people tend to consider these social issues to be less important to voters, but Susan B. Anthony List has an amazing field program and ground game that has proven without a doubt that the pro-life issue sways voters to vote pro-life when they understand the extremism in our nation.
Our country is one of seven nations in the entire world that allows for late-term abortions, due to Roe v. Wade. … The amount of people of faith and the influence of Catholicism on the pro-life movement is so strong.
One of the things that I spoke about most passionately in my time at Susan B. Anthony List as a spokeswoman was really just the hypocrisy of so many so-called Catholic leaders in our nation today not standing up for the unborn. EWTN is a beacon of light and authenticity within our Church, and it’s truly going to be an honor to join that team, to bolster the faithful and the people in this nation that are proud Catholics that defend life and expect their representatives and leaders inside and outside of the Church to do the same.
How do you address the narrative that abortion is a “woman’s right”?
I have learned so much about how that’s just a lie.
The right to abortion was concocted by people who want to make a profit instead of care for women and children and families.
Abortion hurts women. It’s crucial to remember that women have made leaps and bounds in their abilities to not silo their family lives from their careers; our femininity is what enables us to embrace both our families and all of the amazing strides that we’ve made in society. It’s so crucial that we combat the narrative that we need abortion to succeed. Abortion leaves women hurting — it leaves them psychologically, emotionally, physically in distress.
What arguments have you found to be very effective over the years in touching hearts and minds on the pro-life issue?
The No. 1 thing is revealing the science that proves the humanity of unborn children. You show a mother a sonogram of her unborn baby growing in the womb; you give her a chance to hear that little heartbeat sometimes as early as three to four weeks in pregnancy.
Not only are we one in seven nations that allow for abortion on demand, but 47 out of 50 European countries limit abortion as early as 15 weeks or sometimes earlier, and that just goes to show that our laws need to catch up. The laws here are completely unjust, they’re undemocratic, and they were decided by seven unelected men on the Supreme Court in 1973. Explaining the history of abortion in our country often opens people’s eyes to recognize the truth that this is the greatest human-rights abuse of our day.
The final thing is emphasizing the readiness of the pro-life movement to embrace all of these new children coming into the world with not just pregnancy-resource centers for women who are pregnant but also for resources after their child is born to help them with child care, with any legal services that they need.
What are your thoughts on the outlook for the pro-life movement, given the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case before the Supreme Court and how pro-life advocacy could potentially shift in a post-Roe v. Wade world?
The activism of the pro-life movement is only going to grow exponentially.
Hopefully in June the Supreme Court will take the handcuffs off the states and allow them to truly pass laws that reflect the will of the people that live there and that will really serve as a moment in which states will be able to pass laws, and the humanity of these unborn children will be recognized in a greater way than ever before.
What Catholic pro-life outreach have you seen to be effective?
I have always been blessed to be part of parishes and local communities. The Catholic Church does a great job of outreach at that ground level. I’m proud to be a parishioner at the Basilica of St. Mary in Old Town, Alexandria [Virginia], and they have a great pro-life apostolate where they pray at abortion clinics; they serve the MaRiH Center, which is a local pregnancy center in the area.
The efforts of the Church to be with women on the ground in their moment of need and their moment of crisis, that is what’s going to save these unborn children, ultimately.
I think the Church is a key player in that and a leader in what people should model to embrace life.
It’s so important now in the culture that we live in that the Church continues to speak out on this.
We currently have a president who claims to be Catholic and yet has literally denied that life begins at conception, and so to continue to encourage people of faith to speak the truth on this matter is the only thing that’s going to be able to turn the tide and require these so-called Catholic leaders to explain their position and hold them accountable to their actions that are completely in denial of what our Catholic faith teaches us.
Do you have any advice for Catholic college students looking to be active in the pro-life movement?
I am a proud graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. I also had the honor of spending some time at Ave Maria University before I transferred to Franciscan. I think perhaps my most important piece of advice for pro-life college-age students is truly to go to a school where your pro-life beliefs are going to be appreciated, where you can really become a disciple of the pro-life movement and a warrior for the unborn.
Franciscan was certainly that for me. I had the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh every so often and pray at the Planned Parenthood there. The work of Franciscan to have students there, to help them pray at the abortion clinic, was so needed; it’s irreplaceable to have a presence there.
Get involved in your Students for Life chapter if your school has one; and if you’re at a more liberal school, don’t be afraid to speak the truth and to stand up for what’s right. Start a Students for Life chapter. Get out and meet people; get involved with people that have a similar background to you, that hold those similar values, because they’re going to be your source of peace and comfort and encouragement in a world that’s against us.
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