The very first time we met Chris Slattery, he had come to our office to speak with my husband Paul about the needs of his ministry, Expectant Mother Care. He wanted to learn how to raise funds so that he could continue to help expectant mothers caught in the quagmire created by negligent men and an absence of cash. For many of them, as Chris explained, aborting their baby seemed like the only option available.
Paul immediately stepped in, provided funding in the immediate situation, and drew on his years of direct mail and fundraising experience to teach Chris how to raise funds. The rapport between the two of them was incredible to see, and the results of the conversation were extremely helpful to Chris in his lifesaving work.
A pro-life stalwart
As the years went on, Chris expanded his work and made a name for himself in New York—the city he loved. There were numerous beautiful tributes about Chris after his death, but these words of New York auxiliary bishop Peter Byrne exemplify the character of the man we knew and loved: Chris Slattery was “fearless, tireless, and confronted whatever obstacles he had to confront . . . but he never gave up trying to save babies.”
It was no small compliment for Brian Caulfield, a Knights of Columbus spokesman, to say that “Chris was an innovator, and he inspired many people to get involved in the pro-life movement. . . . He had strong opinions and wasn’t always easy to get along with—but there is no denying his total commitment to the cause. He was 100% focused on turning around abortion-minded women. He was a genius and was never intimidated.”
Therein resides the secret to the life of Chris Slattery. As the pro-life Braveheart, he stood in the gap between expectant mothers and the abortionists who would be all too pleased to kill their preborn children. But Chris did more than just talk about it or sidewalk counsel these moms; he built a place for them to go so that they could continue carrying their babies without the pressure to abort.
Expectant Mother Care
The About Us page of EMC Frontline—the outreach program Chris started—states that it works to build “great futures with great charity.” It continues:
EMC Frontline began 40 years ago with an accidental conversation outside an abortion clinic in Manhattan at 7:30 in the morning. That first conversation led to the first baby saved from abortion by founder Chris Slattery and the founding of EMC Frontline, which is dedicated to supporting young women in need find a path to keeping their baby and living full lives.
We sign women up for insurance. We get them medical care. We give them the supplies they need.
The Chris Slattery we knew acted in defense of innocent children and their mothers by being present for them, no matter what they needed or when they needed it. This is part of the reason why he was such a heroic person, but there is more to his story.
Celebrate Life Magazine featured Slattery and his work in a 2009 article entitled “The Assault on Life Savers.” The article states:
We know that when women and men hear the truth about abortion, it hurts the clinic’s business,” said Slattery. “Sidewalk counselors outside of these abortion facilities regularly dissuade abortion patients from going through with their decision to end the precious life they are carrying by peacefully offering help and prayers. Most importantly, the counselors offer the truth about abortion. The pro-abortion lobby will do all they can to prevent our efforts, and in turn, further exploit distraught women.
Slattery said that, on average, EMC Frontline counselors see approximately 12 turnarounds of abortion-minded women every week. With abortions costing up to $2,300 each, the clinics are losing quite a bit of money. “The bottom line is that we are cutting in on the abortion business,” said Slattery. “The abortion industry is about making lots of money. So now they are pressuring city government to pass far-reaching, vicious laws like this, to ensure that their pockets are continually padded.”
His honesty about the abortion industry, the money at stake, and the chilling outcomes of every single abortion made Slattery an official enemy of many abortion profiteers. He stood for truth and used his eloquence and leadership skills to oppose the most draconian of pro-abortion leaders, New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo was at the forefront of what we called “Boss Bills”—laws that would have required pro-life centers to hire supporters of abortion, as ridiculous as that may sound. But then again, in the 1980s, abortion profiteering was growing and there were no rules against strongarm tactics used by those who promoted and encouraged the killing of preborn children.
Leaders like Slattery led the way in the fight to level the playing field so that pro-life ministries could survive and prosper in the anti-life climate prevalent in many states. But these anti-life forces do not stand a chance because men and women of faith are following in the footsteps of Slattery. They believe what he once taught: “A total mission requires complete dedication and apostles of great soul.”
Professor Michael New recently wrote of Chris:
His efforts in saving preborn children did not go unnoticed by supporters of legal abortion. Chris frequently faced opposition from New York state attorneys general, New York state governors, and New York city council members who were eager to stop Chris’s lifesaving work. That said, Chris was never fazed or intimidated by this opposition. Instead, he was always passionate about his pro-life work. Overall, Chris estimated that 43,000 lives had been saved as a result of his pro-life work.
It is not hard for me to believe that Chris was instrumental in saving at least that many preborn children, and we know that his efforts also saved and embraced the mothers of these babies, as he had a special place in his heart for family, starting with his own.
Chris will truly be missed, but the impact he left will last many lifetimes.
May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.