July 1, 2022

Reflection / Sean Gallagher

Build on the ‘strong foundation of life and love’ laid by pro-life advocates gone before us

Sean GallagherOn the morning of June 24, I was at home before my computer when the U.S. Supreme Court began releasing rulings in cases at its usual time of 10 a.m.

It usually does not release rulings on Fridays, but that day had been added earlier in the week.

So, I had a bit of a gut feeling that the long-awaited ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health might just be released.

And then, at about 10:15, the Dobbs ruling was released, and I quickly learned that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey had been overturned.

My two youngest sons, Philip and Colin, were with me and we rejoiced together, soon praying an English translation of the “Te Deum,” an ancient prayer of praise to God often prayed on occasions of great joy.

Philip may have been the happiest of us all. He jumped up and down, his joy bursting forth in cries of happiness.

“We. Are. The pro-life generation!” is often chanted by great crowds of young people at pro-life rallies like the national March for Life in Washington and in the past few years in the Indiana March for Life in Indianapolis.

I saw that beautiful, hopeful truth in Philip’s rejoicing on the morning of June 24. I’ve seen it in young people who wear pro-life shirts that say, “Survivor of ’73.” They know that their lives could have been legally snuffed out in the womb in the blink of an eye.

But young people like Philip weren’t the only people on my mind on June 24. So was Bob Rust. I thought of him often that day.

Bob, a lifelong Decatur County Catholic, was 89 when he died of COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic in March 2020.

In addition to being a faith-filled husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and businessman, Bob was a stalwart pro-life advocate.

That’s how I got to know him about 20 years ago when my wife Cindy and I did sidewalk counselling outside abortion centers in Indianapolis for a few years.

I’ve known a lot of pro-life people over the years, but no one as dedicated to and convicted in his pro-life principles as Bob.

Rain, snow, hot weather and cold could not keep Bob well into his retirement years from driving from his home in Greensburg to Indianapolis multiple times each week for decades in his frontline pro-life work.

He would not be dissuaded by the sometimes hostile reaction to the offers of love and help he made to mothers arriving at abortion centers. And through it all, he prayed. He was always praying.

Seeing Bob so dedicated, no matter how difficult the circumstances, inspired newcomers like me to join him. I felt blessed and privileged to stand alongside him in furthering the gospel of life.

How I wished on June 24 that Bob could have lived to see the day when Roe was overturned. But knowing how fierce a prayer warrior he was in this life, I can’t help but think that his prayers in heaven may have helped to bring this day about.

Bob Rust. My wife Cindy and I. Our son Philip. Three generations of pro-life people who have lived in a country stained by legalized abortion.

Abortion may become illegal—or at least significantly restricted—in many states, hopefully soon including Indiana.

But for it to become unthinkable, we who were blessed to live to see June 24 will have to form the next generation of pro-life advocates to build on the strong foundation of life and love laid by people like Bob Rust.

Let’s get to work. †


(See all our coverage of the Dobbs decision)

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