Alyssa Murphy is the Register’s Managing Editor of Digital Assets. Starting her career on the airwaves in San Francisco, she has worked in all facets of media. Alyssa enjoys writing and covering stories that inspire and uplift. Register readers may be familiar with her voice from EWTN radio’s Morning Glory. Alyssa currently lives in New Jersey just outside Manhattan with her husband Andrew and young daughter, Annabelle.
Highlighting some of the best pro-life stories from the past year including 2 premature babies now heavy-weights in the Guinness Book of World Records!
As the pro-life movement across the nation gears up for the March for Life in just a few short weeks and Catholics in the country pray for an end to abortion as the Supreme Court deliberates the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, here are some of the most pivotal moments and stories from the last year that truly highlight the humanity of the unborn.
1. Baby Richard: Richard Scott William Hutchinson came into the world weighing a whopping 11 ounces, the smallest, most premature baby on record in the world. He celebrated his first birthday on June 6, 2021. Born at just 20-weeks gestation, Baby Richard is now a Guinness World Records record holder. He is the youngest known person to survive, defying science and his doctors, who gave him a 0% chance of survival.
2. Baby Curtis: Born July 5, 2020, at only 21 weeks, tiny but mighty Curtis Means also celebrated his first birthday in 2021. Born alongside his twin sister, who sadly did not survive, Curtis was given a 1% chance of survival; but his nurses at the University of Alabama at Birmingham said he was a fighter from Day 1. Curtis spent his first 275 days in the neonatal unit but is now home in Greene County, Alabama, and is thriving. Making headlines in November, Curtis was also added to the Guinness World Records.
3. Window Into the Womb: As the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, centered around a 15-week Mississippi abortion ban, a record number of amicus briefs were filed in support of the ban. One of those briefs, written by three pro-life doctors and submitted by The Catholic Association, offered rare, detailed imaging and photographs, showing the window into the womb. As technology has advanced dramatically since the Roe v. Wade era, 3-D ultrasound imaging provided the Supreme Court justices with images of life on display, including unborn babies sucking their thumbs and kicking.
4. Texas Takes Bold Step: The Lone Star State took a bold step to protect life by passing the Heartbeat Law, making abortion illegal after six weeks of gestation or when a fetal heartbeat is detected. As the law was challenged by state and federal entities leading to a Supreme Court deliberation, outside the court pro-life leaders shared beautiful pro-life stories, including Texas state Sen. Angela Paxton, wife of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Speaking at the press conference on the steps of the highest court in the land, she told her own adoption story: “I don’t know if there’s a more beautiful thing to celebrate, though, than life. I am so grateful to be here today, as an adopted child myself.” Sen. Paxton continued, “I am grateful to stand here today, to stand anywhere, any day, because I’ve gotten my chance to live,” adding, “I’m thankful to my birth mother, Linda, who made the brave choice to give me life.” Every human being, said Sen. Paxton, should be protected under the law.
5. Safe Haven for Babies: As reports of alarmingly high false positives in prenatal testing came out this month, the state of Ohio took bold moves in 2021 to protect babies with Down syndrome. As research shows, many women opt to abort once a baby is given a Down syndrome diagnosis, leading countries like Iceland to even use the phrase “Down syndrome eradication,” a dreadful euphemism for the legal killing of thousands of babies. In a statement on the ban in Ohio, Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List said the ruling “upholds Ohio as a safe haven for unborn babies with Down syndrome.”
6. Protecting Adoption: The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision to protect faith-based adoption. The case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, concerned the largest city in Pennsylvania ending its foster-care contracts with Catholic Social Services because the faith-based agency said it would not certify same-sex couples to be foster parents. In the majority ruling, the high court found that “the refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless CSS agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.” Although a major win for religious freedom, it is also a pro-life victory. Faith-based adoption agencies provide loving mommies and daddies for children in need, who all deserve to be wanted and loved.
7. Super Bowl Story: In a pro-life commercial during primetime television, Super Bowl 2021 featured Paralympian swimmer Jessica Long and her beautiful adoption story. The Toyota commercial introduced the country to Jessica, a 13-time Paralympic gold medalist. Born in Siberia and adopted by an American family at 13 months old, Jessica had both of her legs amputated at 18 months old. She fell in love with swimming when she was 10 and became a Christian in 2013. She spends much of her time outside of the pool visiting schools, discussing her life, and helping those also living with a disability dare to dream.