If you live in North Texas, you may have encountered Yvette and Rich DeOtte in the conservative and Pro-Life world. If you do not live in North Texas, you need to get to know Yvette and Rich. Their passion for protecting innocent human Life can embolden even the most apathetic person. Not only do they put their Pro-Life beliefs into action by being active in the legislative process, but they also create educational initiatives at their church to expand the footprint of the Pro-Life movement. Take a few minutes and read through their interview to become inspired yourself to be a louder and more courageous voice for Life.
Have you always been Pro-Life? Which Pro-Life issue is most important to you? Why?
Yvette: I grew up in a home of union Democrats but I saw my parents break ranks with the union to vote for Pro-Life candidates. That really highlighted the importance of standing for Life, voting and thinking for yourself. By the time I could vote I was a solidly Pro-Life Republican.
Rich: I was ambivalent until college when I saw a poster in my boss’ office of an aborted baby in a paper bucket. And while fairly irreligious up until that point, my Pro-Life perspective began to form.
Do you have any Pro-Life memories or stories you would like to share?
Yvette: Sixty-four years ago my mother, Claire, had serious health issues while pregnant with her older brother. The doctor approached my dad, Roger, and gave him the grim news saying, “We can’t save them both. You have to choose which one you want to keep.” Roger spent his whole life working as a New England union electrician starting in the shipyards. He was a very effective communicator when he pressed his rough knuckle into the doctor’s chest while clearly and slowly saying, “You save them both.” That son, Mark, is now 63 years old and Claire passed away just a few years ago. Doctors can be wrong.
My father, Roger, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which is fatal more than 95% of the time and often within months of diagnosis. After being told by his doctor that he would no longer see him as a patient because he had cancer, Roger went to a second doctor that told him he had weeks to live. Roger said he would try a particularly well known doctor for an alternative treatment. Roger’s second doctor, who had just told him to get his affairs in order then said, “Be careful. That can be dangerous.” The alternative treatment worked well for a time and Roger went sledding with his grandkids six months later in better apparent health than Rich had ever seen him. But he did ultimately succumb to his illness having lived 12 very robust months of the next 18 months after diagnosis. This experience reminds us that doctor’s views aren’t necessarily based in faith, morals, or care.
Rich: Sara is a code name I gave a lady that testified at the HB2 hearing in July of 2013. She and I were both called up in a group of 12 to testify and she was nervous about testifying. She was behind me in line and she was talking around me to the lady in front of me. I was literally right in the middle of the conversation. Sara (whose code name comes from the famous Fleetwood Mac song about Sara, Stevie Nicks’ aborted daughter) gave me an odd look and I responded by telling her not to worry about her testimony. I said the committee members were just people, some of them were really not impressive, and that hundreds were testifying. She’d be in and out and it wasn’t a big deal. She asked me if I was a pastor and I said, “No. I’m an engineer”. She then asked why I was there and I said that I was there because unborn babies are human beings that were being killed. I said that they can’t speak for themselves and that I was there to speak for them. Sara responded after a considerable pause that she had never thought about it that way. I am sure that in Sara’s world, nobody was Pro-Life and that she’d never had any input from the Pro-Life side. She was prepared to give testimony to a state legislative committee without ever having considered that an unborn baby was a human being, truly a little baby. This story reminds us that changing the culture by advocacy on the issue of Life is important as well as changing the laws.
What do you value most about Texas Right to Life?
We value Texas Right to Life’s consistently well-crafted Pro-Life policies. Their other efforts including young adult groups, high school camps, and the college campus Pro-Life groups go hand in hand with the legislative work by creating a culture that supports and demands those good laws.
Texas Right to Life’s goal is to defend Life. Period. There are no conflicting aspirations in Texas Right to Life that cause them to waiver from that goal. Additionally, Texas Right to Life covers many areas of the Pro-Life movement. They assist families in hospitals faced with too-early termination of care. They advocate politically for Life from conception to natural death. They provide scholarships, mentoring, and support for college students to establish Pro-Life groups on campuses all around Texas. They vet candidates for public office to ensure better Pro-Life office holders. They have young adult Pro-Life clubs. Other political organizations don’t come close to achieving the breadth of service Texas Right to Life does for the Pro-Life community
Is there an aspect of Texas Right to Life’s work that you connect with more than others?
The legislative work of Texas Right to Life resonates with us. We can maximize our efforts in Pro-Life work because we have full confidence in their knowledge of ethical and biblical foundations for protecting Life. So, when Texas Right to Life interviews potential candidates and endorses them we know we can jump right in and send them money or block walk or make calls and we are supporting a good candidate. The same is true for legislation that they support. It will be the best that we can currently accomplish.
What do you hope to see regarding Pro-Life educational efforts around the state?
We hope that church leaders will step up and teach their congregations about how central the issue of Life is to God. We hope every Pro-Life Christian will strongly encourage their pastor to get involved because many church leaders see it as too divisive, controversial, or political. According to texasalmanac.com there are over 9,942,000 combined Roman Catholics, Southern Baptists, and Non-Denominational Christians in Texas, imagine the impact if these Christians got informed and engaged in defending Life.
How has the Pro-Life movement affected your life?
Yvette: I know people who have had abortions, and that always means a baby died and a mother and father are left with an emotional if not physical scar. The Pro-Life movement provides the structure to allow me to focus my time, energy, money and prayer on preventing abortions.
Rich: We believe the Pro-Life movement is one area where our effort is practical and eternal, so we do something every day.
How did you hear about Texas Right to Life?
Richard was the one who connected with Texas Right to Life when he was researching the early termination of care that was going on in Texas hospitals.
How do you talk about Pro-Life issues with your friends, family, and coworkers? What advice would you give to somebody that has never spoken about this difficult issue?
I bring up the discussion as if the people I am talking to agree with me. I discuss legislation, candidates, the ministries we support and more recently the videos from David Daleiden. If they don’t agree with me they are at least exposed to information they may not have otherwise heard.
What are you doing personally to help end the Culture of Death?
We encourage, promote, and support candidates, elected officials, and organizations that are most effective in defending life.
We participate in candidate interviews.
We go to rallies and sidewalk prayer vigils.
We advocate for good legislation by testifying, calling, praying, and using social media.
We recently began developing a program to challenge churches to take an active role in the Pro-Life movement. Our plan is to educate, support and connect. We hope the program will resolve the conflicts of interest surrounding the Pro-Life issue so churches will more willingly serve the mission of ending abortion. The first part of the program is on the theology of Life and how important life is to who God says he is. The second and third parts serve to connect the body of Christ to political groups and ministries that effect our laws and culture, so they can begin to meaningfully participate in defending Life.