It was a full house at Tulare-Kings Right to Life’s 24th annual fundraising banquet Sept. 24 at the Visalia Convention Center. Bestselling author and documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza drew nearly 1,000 people to hear his message and learn about the work of Tulare-Kings Right to Life. The TKRL Board of Directors selected D’Souza as this year’s guest speaker because of his overwhelming popularity and his staunch and articulate defense of the pro-life perspective.

D’Souza told the audience that abortion is not a single issue but is embedded in numerous other issues, including the changes that occurred with the civil rights revolution, the sexual revolution and a shift in social mores in this country.

The former president of Kings College gave an interesting history lesson, noting the similarity between the slavery and abortion issues. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates, he said, Douglas, a northern Democrat, made claims identical in substance and form to today’s pro-choice argument and professed that every community should have the right to choose. He said Lincoln said that you simply could not have a right to choose without paying attention to what is being chosen and that the right of choice is meaningless without focusing on the content of that choice.

As in slavery, so also in abortion, “you cannot choose to terminate the choices of other people,” D’Souza said.

D’Souza said he had spoken at many venues, most of which had self-serving motives. For example, union rallies want higher wages and other groups want increased benefits, lower taxes, more power, more money, etc. Then he asked about pro-lifers, “What’s in it for them?” He responded that there is no personal gain to be achieved in the pro-life arena, in contrast to the pro-choice opposition, for whom abortion is an assembly-line big money industry, with careers, jobs, reputations, livelihood and taxpayer money on the line for its supporters.

D’Souza’s message resonated with his listeners, as quotes from attendees attest:

“Phenomenal speaker! Thank you, TKRL. You wowed us last night!” — Becky Fernandez

“Definitely an awesome evening! Dinesh is such a dynamic speaker, challenging us to get moving and speak up.” — Barbara Smith

“I have attended the banquet for over 20 years, and it is always both challenging and uplifting,” said Marisa Evans of Tulare. “I support TKRL because I believe in their mission and want to see them reach as many people as possible in our area with the message that all human life is valuable and worthy of our protection.”

“Not only is D’Souza passionate about America as an immigrant, but he understands that America is in decline unless something happens,” said Rick Wehmueller, TKRL board president. “He also understands that the abortion of over 60 million babies since Roe v Wade has contributed to this decline. We knew that he would attract people who normally wouldn’t attend one of our events, and that those attending would learn about our organization and what we do, maybe for the first time.“

Although D’Souza was the primary attraction, others also contributed to the event’s success. Bishop Joseph V. Brennan of the Diocese of Fresno and Pastor Bill Nicolay of New Beginnings Christian Center in Dinuba opened and closed in prayer. Special guest performers Toni Givens and Mari Jordan sang a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, blending voices in harmony as only siblings can do.

And Jim Patterson, master of ceremonies, kept the crowd engaged and shared his personal pro-life story as the father of three adopted children.

Rena Montemayor’s story of a woman who chose life for her daughter after being raped moved the audience as she revealed that the woman was her grandmother. She, her own mother and her sisters would not have experienced the beautiful life they share without that one woman’s courageous choice for life, she said. She ended with a quote from Father Frank Pavone: “Abortion is never the answer. Let’s not add violence to violence. When it comes to the woman who carries a baby conceived by rape, let’s choose to love them both!”

For nearly 30 years, Tulare-Kings Right to Life has been a beacon of light that reflects life and hope in our community. In the past year, its three outreach programs — Voices for Life, the IRMA Network and Latinos4Life — have touched more than 54,000 people, face to face, at 96 events.

Voices for Life is committed to engaging and empowering high school and college students about dating, STDs, early human development, abortion and parenthood by working through schools, churches and other community organizations.

The IRMA (I Regret My Abortion) Network increases awareness of after-abortion issues and offers healing opportunities for post-abortive women and men, providing a network of agencies and individuals who can help them work through PTSD related to the trauma of their abortion experiences.

Latinos4Life seeks to increase education and communication in the Hispanic community about important life topics such as early human development, sexual risk avoidance, healthy relationships, and strengthening communication between parents and children.

Tulare-Kings Right to Life exists to equip people of all ages to become defenders of life and messengers of help and hope. Its mission is to uphold the dignity and right to life of every human being at every stage, as well as find those who may be silently suffering after an abortion and help lead them to healing and freedom. TKRL is thankful for its faithful and generous supporters who partner with us in touching hearts, changing minds and saving lives.

To schedule a free presentation or learn how to get involved, visit tkrl.org or call (559) 732-5000.

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