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Prayer Breakfast speech reflected Mother Teresa’s defense of unborn

WASHINGTON (BP)–While Mother Teresa became renowned for her worldwide ministry to the sick and the poor, she also was a passionate defender of unborn children.
Mother Teresa, 87, died Sept. 5 at the home in Calcutta, India, where she had lived and led her Missionaries of Charity order for nearly 50 years.
Nothing may have better demonstrated her unswerving commitment to the pro-life cause than when she electrified a 1994 National Prayer Breakfast gathering of more than 3,000 people by decrying abortion while President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, both abortion rights supporters, sat nearby.
The 1979 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, barely visible behind the podium, said in her keynote speech at the annual Washington event attended by members of Congress and international religious leaders she believed the “greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because Jesus said, ‘If you receive a little child, you receive me.’ So every abortion is the denial of receiving Jesus, the neglect of receiving Jesus.
“And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
Abortion “just leads to more abortion,” she continued. “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love one another but to use any violence to get what they want.”
While much of the audience stood and applauded loudly, Clinton, Gore and their wives appeared uncomfortable as they sat at the head table.
National Association of Evangelicals official Robert Dugan said after attending the breakfast it was “as bold a prophetic confrontation as I’ve ever witnessed.” Dugan had served as the director of NAE’s Washington office since 1978.
After viewing the live telecast of the breakfast on the C-SPAN cable network, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, wrote in a column the nun gave “ministers and Christians everywhere a sterling and pristine example of what it means to be truly prophetic in the presence of Caesar.”
“Why did Mother Teresa’s words evoke such a response? The impact of her message was prophetic because the integrity of her ministry was pure,” Land wrote.
In her speech that February day, she pleaded with those who did not want their children to give them to her.
“She will be remembered for her words and work on behalf of the world’s unborn children,” National Right to Life Committee President Wanda Franz said in a prepared statement after Mother Teresa’s death.
On her last trip to the United States, Mother Teresa received the Congressional Gold Medal, the legislative body’s highest civilian award. She received the award June 5 at a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda.
“This is a very saddening event for the world, but not a tragedy — no life spent in service is a tragedy. It would have been a tragedy had she not lived,” said Sen. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., who authored the legislation honoring the nun, in a written statement after her death. “Her selfless dedication to faith-based service will be an enduring model for the world to follow.”