USCCB News Release
January 27, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pro-Life Expert Richard Doerflinger Among Winners of First-Ever "Life Prizes"
WASHINGTON—Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, was among six people awarded with the inaugural Life Prizes in Washington, DC on January 23. The event gathered over 1,200 people from across the country including pro-life leaders, their guests, and hundreds of student activists in town for the March for Life and the Students for Life of America annual conference.
Given by the Gerard Health Foundation, the awards honor six individuals or groups that have made unsurpassed strides in preserving and upholding the sanctity of human life. These winners have demonstrated their leadership in areas such as public advocacy, legal action, outreach, and public discourse activities.
Mr. Doerflinger is a bioethics expert and consummate researcher who has been involved in almost every major pro-life initiative in Congress since 1980, and has contributed to the pro-life efforts and statements of the U.S. Catholic bishops in the last quarter century.
"Richard Doerflinger has been the indispensable man at the juncture of bioethics, biotechnology, and public policy for many years," said Cathy Ruse, Executive Director of Life Prizes. "The intellectual guidance, integrity, and dedication Richard has provided are unmatched and have inspired many of us to dedicate our lives to the pro-life cause."
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Doerflinger acknowledged the challenges facing the pro-life movement, saying: "Ours are the facts people may not want to hear, the arguments they evade if they can. Our message confronts them with responsibilities, instead of making them go away." He called on others, especially young adults "in all academic fields – ethics, law, science, medicine – to place their skills at the service of life. We need articulate voices for those who
have no voice, to dismantle the false and seductive claims that endanger their lives. Please consider joining us."
Recipients of the 2008 Life Prizes, who will share $600,000 in prize money, were selected from among more than 100 nominees with the help of a Selection Advisory Committee consisting of Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, the Reverend Dr. Alveda King, Ambassador Ray Flynn, and Professor Hadley Arkes of Amherst College.
The other five honorees this year are: the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG); Margaret "Peggy" Hartshorn, president of Heartbeat International; nurse, writer and activist Jill Stanek; Lila Rose, founder of student pro-life organization Live Action and president of its UCLA chapter; and Kay Coles James, founder and president of The Gloucester Institute.
Life Prizes is an initiative of the Gerard Health Foundation, the private charity foundation of pro-life philanthropists Raymond B. and Marilyn A. Ruddy. The award is named the "Norinne A. and Raymond E. Ruddy Memorial Pro-Life Prize" in honor of Mr. Ruddy's parents, who were strong believers in the pro-life cause.