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WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Two people who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights will be honored Friday with the National Pro-Life Religious Council's Pro-Life Recognition Award.
Michael Schwartz, longtime pro-life strategist, and Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, will receive their awards during the 19th annual National Memorial for the Preborn and Their Mothers and Fathers, an interdenominational prayer service to take place from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 25, at Constitution Hall in Washington.
In a moving tribute on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Tom Coburn described Mr. Schwartz as "a light focused on how you do things to honor other people."
Mr. Schwartz served as the senator's chief of staff for 15 years and became known by people on both sides of the political aisle for his integrity, his kindness and his tenacity. Now battling ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, Mr. Schwartz finds himself "overcoming challenges most of us can scarcely imagine," Coburn said during his tribute.
"Michael Schwartz has devoted his entire professional life to defending innocent human life," said Thomas Glessner, president of the National Institute for Family Advocates. "He is a compassionate advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. His life has made an impact on thousands. I am honored to be his friend."
"Michael Schwartz is an inspiration to all of us in the pro-life movement," said Father Frank Pavone, President of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, which sponsors the national prayer service each year. "I have looked up to him and learned much from him for many years."
Reggie Littlejohn is leading the effort to expose the tragedy of China's one child policy and the "gendercide" it has led to. The slaughter of unborn baby girls has resulted in tens of millions of "missing" girls and women in China, where the gender imbalance is being felt in myriad ways throughout the country.
Ms. Littlejohn also played an important role in getting the pro-life movement in the U.S. involved in the plight of activist Chen Guangcheng, who was being held in China because of his opposition to forced abortion and the one-child policy. He and his wife are now living in the U.S.
"Reggie Littlejohn is most deserving of this recognition and award for her selfless dedication to ending the violence against Chinese women," said Marie Smith, director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues. "Reggie has raised international awareness on the brutal enforcement of China's one-child per couple policy and its use of forced abortion upon women labeled 'in violation' of the policy. By revealing the cases of Chinese women who have been violated by forced abortion, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, Reggie Littlejohn has mobilized lawmakers around the world to take legislative action to condemn the practice.
"She has also sought to bring an end to the practices of sex-selection abortion, infanticide, and sex trafficking, all of which violate the basic human rights of Chinese women and girls, beginning with the right to life. I congratulate Reggie for this award and thank her for her dedication and commitment to use her vast legal skills to be a skilled and effective advocate for women in China."
Friday's prayer service is free and open to the public. Nearly a hundred clergy from numerous Christian denominations will officiate at the service, and many of them are bringing their congregations.
"We want to fill Constitution Hall with thousands of believers, and show the nation that pro-life people are not going away, no matter how long the battle or how powerful the enemy," Father Pavone said. "The prayers and message of this service will certainly convey that."
The groups organizing the event are the National Pro-life Religious Council, Priests for Life, The National Clergy Council, Gospel of Life Ministries, Faith and Action, the National Pro-Life Center, and National Pro-life Radio.
Constitution Hall is at 1776 D Street NW, at 18th Street. For more information on the service go to NationalPrayerService.com. Catholic Mass will be offered at 7:30 a.m.
Priests for Life is the nation's largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.