(TCT) When Issue 1 failed in Ohio’s special election in August, Danielle White said she felt defeated. The issue was intended to protect Ohio’s Constitution by requiring a supermajority vote to pass proposed amendments to the state constitution, such as an amendment to safeguard abortion in Ohio, which will be on the ballot on Nov. 7.
White worried that the proposed amendment could pass in November. So, she turned to God in prayer. White felt prompted to organize a 24/7 perpetual Adoration leading up to Election Day.
“In prayer, I really felt like the Lord was asking me to put together this initiative,” she said. “Adoration has been so instrumental in my own life and in my own faith, and I just feel like we really, really need to be praying about this initiative.
“And so, this idea came to me of what if we could cover all the hours leading up to the election in prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist?”
White, an attorney who serves as general counsel for Heartbeat International, the most expansive network of pregnancy help centers in the world, and is a parishioner at Sunbury St. John Neumann Church, contacted the team at We Adore Him, a Eucharistic Adoration scheduling software.
We Adore Him works with Catholic parishes throughout the country to create Adoration scheduling websites. White shared her vision with the We Adore Him team, and the Pray for Life Ohio website was born.
“The idea is that people would just go to their own Adoration chapel, their own local chapel, and commit to praying about this initiative at some point in that hour that they sign up for,” she said.
On the Pray For Life Ohio website, www.PrayForLifeOhio.WeAdoreHim.com, individuals can sign up to spend an hour in Adoration and pray to defeat the amendment that is intended to safeguard abortion in Ohio. Every hour through Nov. 7 is listed on the website. Two slots are available per hour.
“It’s just committing to praying at some point in that hour that the Lord would help us to defeat this initiative,” White said.
The website has two options: a one-time commitment or committing to a weekly Holy Hour.
“A lot of people already have regular Holy Hours that they do weekly, so if you have that, and you’re willing to make this one of your intentions for your Holy Hour, you can sign up to do a weekly commitment.
“Or, for people who might not be doing that weekly, they can sign up one time for a one-time commitment.”
The Pray for Life Ohio website is accessible worldwide, White said, so any person in any time zone can sign up on the website and commit to spending an hour adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
“If you have somebody who you know would like to pray for Ohio who doesn’t live here, you could still send it their way,” she said. “That could help us cover some of those overnight hours.”
On the Adoration website, White also incorporated a link to sign up for the 54-day Rosary novena, or series of prayers, that Catholic bishops in Ohio are leading for the defeat of the amendment. White recommends that the faithful participate in the novena leading up to Election Day, too.
“I think it’s awesome that all of our Ohio bishops have come together and encouraged the faithful to pray and given us a vehicle to pray,” she said. “And so, I really would encourage people to join that.
“I think you could join even if you didn’t join it yet, and you could pray it at your Holy Hour if you want to. I think that God really does hear our prayers when we join together and ask Him as a body of believers for something together.”
White has served as general counsel for Heartbeat International since 2015. Heartbeat provides training, resources, networking and advocacy for locally owned and operated pregnancy resource centers. Approximately 3,000 pregnancy resource centers worldwide affiliate with Heartbeat International, White said.
Heartbeat also operates Option Line, a 24/7 call center in English and Spanish, which communicates via call, text and online chat with more than 300,000 women a year experiencing crisis pregnancies and connects them to their local pregnancy resource center for help.
White said it is important that Ohioans pray to defeat the proposed amendment. Its language is intentionally deceptive, she said, and it would set Ohio back.
“It would be worse for Ohio than if Roe (the U.S. Supreme Court decision) hadn’t been reversed because a constitutional amendment is very, very, very difficult to change, and it ties the court’s hands. There’s not a lot of things that they could do to protect women and the unborn under the amendment.
“(The amendment) talks about viability, for instance, that abortion will be permitted up until viability. Viability, a lot of people don’t realize, is 22-24 weeks of pregnancy. That’s almost six months of pregnancy. That baby is already 12 inches long and already has all of its major organs formed.
“And so, if the people of Ohio wanted to protect babies from abortion at 20 weeks, they wouldn’t be able to under this amendment, and then, even after viability, an abortion can occur anytime, as long as one physician signs off.
“That physician can be the abortionist. So, there’s no independent review. The person who stands to benefit financially from her obtaining an abortion can be the person who signs the paper saying that it’s necessary.”
It is important to talk about the issue, she said, even with “those closest to us, those we already have relationships with.” Sharing the message can impact the election, White said. She believes if Ohioans understand the truth about the amendment and its implications, then people will reject it.
“Even if somebody believes that women should have the choice to end their pregnancies in that way, I think just the extreme nature of it, that it’s completely unfettered access all the way up to six months of pregnancy, I think that that’s uncomfortable.
“A lot of people are uncomfortable with that. Also, the fact that the only person who is going to have any oversight over an abortion all the way up to nine months is the abortionist – that’s pretty serious conflict of interest. I think that even if you believe that abortion should be legal, this just isn’t the way to do it.”
White, who is a mother to five children and homeschools them in addition to working as an attorney, wants women to know that they can pursue their life goals as mothers.
“Women are so strong; women are amazing, and the things that we can do are just incredible, and so, it’s just so incredibly disempowering, this notion that she has to end the life of her unborn child to pursue her dreams,” she said.
“The reality is we see women achieve incredible things: in their education, in their career, in their personal pursuits with their children alongside of them, and she doesn’t have to choose between her child and her career.”
Tweet This: "It’s just so incredibly disempowering, this notion that a woman has to end the life of her unborn child to pursue her dreams
White, who is a graduate of Franciscan University and Ave Maria School of Law, had the opportunity to submit an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022) decision. The decision overturned the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that there is a right to privacy, which includes the right to an abortion.
An amicus brief, meaning “friend of the court,” serves as a supplement to a court case. After the parties to the case submit their briefs, White said, individuals who have an interest in the case can submit briefings or legal arguments that they think the court should consider.
“Heartbeat submitted an amicus brief in the Dobbs case just telling the court that women aren’t going to be left hopeless if they can’t turn to abortion. And so, we told some of the stories of women who chose life and have had great success in their lives.
“But what was cool personally for me was, when that opportunity came out, I was actually on maternity leave for my fourth child, but drafting a brief for the Supreme Court, that’s a dream. So, I drafted that brief holding a newborn baby.
“I would put my other kids to bed at night and then I would just put my laptop on and put her head up on my shoulder, writing a brief about how women can have their babies and still have success in their career, and they don’t have to give that up.”
White said she is living the life that she hopes for all mothers who choose life for their babies. Balancing work and mothering her five children, she wants women to know they can be mothers and pursue their dreams. By writing an amicus brief for the U.S. Supreme Court while caring for her newborn, White did just that.
“My baby didn’t stop me. She didn’t stop me – she fueled me. She fueled me in writing that because just listening to her little breathing and feeling the warmth of her body as I’m writing about how there is hope for women. We don’t have to choose to end our babies’ lives in order to have the life we want.”
Editor's note: This article was published by The Catholic Times and is reprinted with permission. Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.