The religious sister capturing headlines for her powerful pro-life witness at the Republican National Convention (RNC) Wednesday night is also a medical provider with the Abortion Pill Rescue Network (APRN).
Sister Deirdre “Dede” Byrne, POSC, an MD, made remarkable statements in support of life during her address, about when life begins, how the unborn are marginalized, and the need to stand up for life despite the political correctness of today. She also made the crucial point that life is not just about living on this earth.
“As a physician, I can say without hesitation: Life begins at conception,” she said. “While what I have to say may be difficult for some to hear, I am saying it because I’m not just pro-life, I’m pro-eternal life. I want all of us to end up in heaven together someday.”
Catholics and pro-life advocates were heartened by the address for its expression of the sanctity of life, with Byrne's appearance shared across social media.
Byrne, a general surgeon, retired U.S. Army colonel and missionary, also puts her pro-life convictions into action in her local community by ministering to women facing unplanned pregnancies and offering a second chance at life through abortion pill reversal.
Byrne’s religious community, the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, offers pro-bono services to patients in need through Sibley Hospital, a nonprofit hospital in Washington D.C. managed by Johns Hopkins.
Administered by Heartbeat International, the Abortion Pill Rescue Network is made up of roughly 900 rescue providers and centers that facilitate and/or assist with the abortion pill reversal (APR) protocol.
APR is a new application of an FDA-approved progesterone treatment used beginning in the 1950s to stop miscarriages. If it is implemented soon enough after the mom takes the first drug of the two-drug chemical abortion regimen, it may be possible to save her unborn baby.
A 2018 peer-reviewed study showed that 64%-68% of the pregnancies where APR was implemented were saved. To date more than 1,000 lives have been saved through the APRN.
With the rising prevalence of chemical abortion, the need is great, and more providers are needed for the APRN.
Discussing her team’s work in saving moms and babies, Byrne told the National Catholic Register in an interview “One baby at a time.”
She comforts the pregnant moms who come to her clinic seeking reversal of their chemical abortions, telling them that no matter the outcome, God is please with their attempt to save their child.
Byrne has served in active duty in Afghanistan and as a reservist in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. She spent 13 months in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and as a missionary surgeon she served the sick in Kenya, Haiti, Sudan and Iraq.
She was a young doctor in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, when the planes flew into the World Trade Center. She and her friend went to Ground Zero and spent two days bringing supplies and support to firefighters.
Delivering her RNC remarks with a calm, peaceful demeanor, Byrne was forthright in her address.
Drawing upon her experience serving those fleeing war-torn and impoverished areas, Byrne said that the common experience with these individuals was being marginalized, thought of as insignificant, powerless and voiceless.
“And while we tend to think of the marginalized as living beyond our borders, the truth is the largest marginalized group in the world can be found here in the United States,” she said. “They are the unborn.”
Christians first met Jesus as a stirring embryo in the womb, she said, and it was coincidental that Christ stood up for what was just, and that he was crucified because what he said was not politically correct or fashionable.
“As followers of Christ, we are called to stand up for life against the politically correct or fashionable of today,” said Byrne. “We must fight against a legislative agenda that supports and even celebrates destroying life in the womb.”
The laws we create define how we see our humanity, she told the RNC audience.
Byrne added, “We must ask ourselves: What we are saying when we go into a womb and snuff out an innocent, powerless, voiceless life?"
Tweet This: “We must ask ourselves: What we are saying when we go into a womb and snuff out an innocent, powerless, voiceless life?" - Sr. Dede Byrne
She concluded praising Donald Trump’s record on life, and pledged prayer for him.
Editor's note: Byrne’s full remarks are reprinted below. For more information on abortion pill reversal, click HERE, and for more information on the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, click HERE. Heartbeat International manages the APRN and Pregnancy Help News.
Good evening. I am Sister Dede Byrne, and I belong to the Community of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Last Fourth of July, I was honored to be one of the president's guests at his Salute to America celebration. I must confess that I recently prayed while in chapel, begging God to allow me to be a voice, an instrument for human life. And now here I am, speaking at the Republican National Convention. I guess you’d better be careful what you pray for. My journey to religious life was not a traditional route, if there is such a thing. In 1978, as a medical school student at Georgetown University, I joined the Army to help pay for my tuition, and ended up devoting 29 years to the military, serving as a doctor and a surgeon in places like Afghanistan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. After much prayer and contemplation, I entered my religious order in 2002, working to serve the poor and the sick in Haiti, Sudan, Kenya, Iraq and in Washington, D.C. Humility is at the foundation of our order, which makes it very difficult to talk about myself. But I can speak about my experience working for those fleeing war-torn and impoverished countries all around the world. Those refugees all share a common experience. They have been all marginalized, viewed as insignificant, powerless and voiceless. And while we tend to think of the marginalized as living beyond our borders, the truth is the largest marginalized group in the world can be found here in the United States. They are the unborn. As Christians, we first met Jesus as a stirring embryo in the womb of an unwed mother and saw him born nine months later in the poverty of the cave. It’s no coincidence that Jesus stood up for what was just and was ultimately crucified because what he said was not politically correct or fashionable. As followers of Christ, we are called to stand up for life against the politically correct or fashionable of today. We must fight against a legislative agenda that supports and even celebrates destroying life in the womb. Keep in mind, the laws we create define how we see our humanity. We must ask ourselves: What we are saying when we go into a womb and snuff out an innocent, powerless, voiceless life? As a physician, I can say without hesitation: Life begins at conception. While what I have to say may be difficult for some to hear, I am saying it because I’m not just pro-life, I’m pro-eternal life. I want all of us to end up in heaven together someday. Which brings me to why I am here today. Donald Trump is the most pro-life president that this nation has ever had, defending life at all stages. His belief in the sanctity of life transcends politics. President Trump will stand up against Biden-Harris, who are the most anti-life presidential ticket ever, even supporting the horrors of late-term abortion and infanticide. Because of his courage and conviction, President Trump has earned the support of America’s pro-life community. Moreover, he has a nationwide of religious standing behind him. You’ll find us here with our weapon of choice, the rosary. Thank you, Mr. President, we are all praying for you.