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Phyllis Bowman, RIP

by | May 8, 2012

Phyllis Bowman, right, with Ann Widdecombe

By Dave Andrusko

   The passing of Phyllis Bowman Monday reminds us how many great pro-life champions we have lost in the last year. She was a key figure in the founding of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and has been rightly described in eulogies as a “leading light of the global pro-life movement.” She died peacefully Monday morning in Hammersmith Hospital, west London, with her family at her side.

   For over four decades, Phyllis Bowman played an important role in efforts to overturn the 1967 Abortion Act which left Britain essentially with abortion on demand throughout pregnancy. She also fought tirelessly against efforts to legalize euthanasia in Britain.

“We join our sister organization, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, in expressing our sorrow at the passing of  of Phyllis Bowman, a key founder of SPUC,” said National Right to Life Co-Director Darla St. Martin. “Founded in 1967, SPUC became the first pro-life nation-wide citizen movement in the world, creating a model which was followed in 1968 in the United States with the formation of National Right to Life. In the years since the founding of SPUC, the leadership of this great organization has continued to be indispensable to the fight for respect for life,  not only in Great Britain but worldwide.”

    SPUC expressed its sorrow and regret at her passing.

Phyllis Bowman became SPUC’s first national director in the early 1970s. We will always remember and be grateful for her energetic and inspiring pro-life leadership over three decades in Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as for her leading role in the development of the pro-life movement internationally. We extend our deep sympathy to Jerry, her husband, who always supported Phyllis in her pro-life work, and to her family.”

     The Catholic Herald ran a wonderful eulogy for Mrs. Bowman (www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2012/05/07/campaigner-who-led-struggle-against-abortion-for-over-40-years-dies-aged-85) which included the following tributes.

“Phyllis Bowman’s contribution to the pro-life cause was unique but her work will be carried on and she is probably already getting the heavenly hosts organised. Right to Life has lost a much-loved founder and all of us a much-loved friend. The biggest tribute we can pay her is to ensure her vigorous defence of the helpless unborn child continues unabated.” Ann Widdecombe, the former Home Office Minister and Conservative Member of Parliament.

“For half a century Phyllis has been an indefatigable champion of the unborn child and for the sanctity of human life. Her tireless efforts, right up to her final illness and last days, serve as an inspiration to the next generation. She was an extraordinarily talented woman, utterly dedicated, highly articulate, politically shrewd and the possessor of an encyclopedic memory.

“Her early training as a Fleet Street journalist never left her short of things to say. Her Christian faith and her beloved husband, Jerry, kept her strong throughout years of having to fight endless battles against abortion, embryo experimentation, human cloning and euthanasia. Her name deserves to be associated with some of the great women who have given their lives to great causes – Elizabeth Fry, Florence Nightingale, Emmeline Pankhurst, Cicely Saunders, Mother Teresa and Sue Ryder.” David Alton, a member of the House of Lords.

“She was courageous, hard-working and professional, and an excellent journalist and communicator, working with skill, enthusiasm and good humour under pressure. Her love and concern for unborn babies drove her and this, combined with her Christian faith, made her someone to whom we looked with admiration and even awe. Britain is in her debt: she understood the great moral issues of our era and sought to make a better future.” Author Joanna Bogle writing on her blog.

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