The inaugural Dr. Joseph Graham Pro-Life Lecture occurred Friday, February 24 at the University of St. Thomas (UST) in Houston. The lecture, hosted by UST Campus Ministry and the campus Pro-Life organization Celts for Life, honors the late beloved philosophy professor and founder of Texas Right to Life by continuing his legacy of education and advocacy concerning Pro-Life issues. Dr. Graham passed away in 2014 after a 42 year career at UST, spanning from 1970 until his retirement in 2012. The effect Dr. Graham had on the Pro-Life movement in Texas is immeasurable, thanks to his tireless work to grow Texas Right to Life from humble origins into the premier Pro-Life organization of Texas, helping to save hundreds of thousands of innocent human lives in Texas and beyond.
Former abortionist turned Pro-Life advocate Dr. Anthony Levatino, and his wife Cecelia, were the lecture’s featured speakers, and they openly shared the circumstances leading to Dr. Levatino’s decision to quit committing abortions. When the couple chose to adopt after struggling with infertility early in their marriage, they realized that finding a baby to adopt in New York would be no easy feat.
“The irony was not lost on me,” Dr. Levatino said on Friday night. “During the day I was doing abortions, and at night we were trying to find one more number to call to see if we could find a baby to call our own.”
After finally adopting their daughter, Heather, the Levatinos were devastated when she was hit and killed by a car just before her sixth birthday. This tragic event led ultimately to Dr. Levatino viewing all the babies he killed in abortions to be someone’s son or daughter, and soon after, he vowed to never commit an abortion again in his practice as an OB/GYN, instead focusing on helping women and preborn babies in high risk pregnancies. In the years since his conversion, Dr. Levatino has been an outspoken proponent for Life, testifying before the United State House of Representatives five times in favor of Pro-Life legislation, including the federal Partial-birth Abortion ban. Most recently, he collaborated with Lila Rose and Live Action to produce informative videos for the website AbortionProcedures.com, in which Dr. Levatino describes in detail several of the most common abortion procedures and the risks they involve.
Dr. and Mrs. Levatino opened the floor for questions following their moving testimony and responded to questions regarding abortion when a woman’s life is at risk, Planned Parenthood’s notorious founder Margaret Sanger, and abortion in cases of rape.
Celts for Life President Kimberly Sanford closed the evening by promising that the lecture would be an annual event, so that Dr. Graham’s legacy of education and Life may continue for years to come at UST.