By Currents News Staff and Melissa Enaje
Served as a ‘giant of the pro-life movement’ for nearly 40 years
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — After serving as the director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference (NYSCC) for almost four decades, Kathleen M. Gallagher is retiring at the end of January.
“No one in New York State, or across the country, has done more to advocate on behalf of all human life from conception until natural death than Kathy Gallagher,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York and president of the NYSCC, said in a statement.
He thanked Gallagher for her service in the organization that represents the state’s bishops in areas of government and public policy and called her a “giant of the pro-life movement” who fought for the “most vulnerable.”
“In that time, she has not only represented the New York State bishops, but has been a national leader in the pro-life movement, advocating against abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia, and in favor of supports for pregnant women in need and people near the end of life,” Cardinal Dolan added.
Even in Gallagher’s retirement, Cardinal Dolan said she will still serve as a consultant to the NYSCC: “God knows we need her voice.”
A Long Island native, Gallagher graduated from the New York Institute of Technology and joined the NYSCC in 1984 after a brief stint working in the New York Legislature. At that time, she served as the organization’s pro-life lobbyist and spokesperson. Her initiatives helped spearhead pro-life advocacy groups including New Yorkers for Life and the New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide.
She has received the Diocesan Pro-Vita Award from the dioceses of Brooklyn, Rockville Centre, and Buffalo, and the Bishop Broderick Award from the Diocese of Albany.
“I am grateful to Cardinal Dolan and the bishops for allowing me to represent them for so long,” Gallagher said, “and blessed beyond measure to have received a salary to advocate for moral principles in which I deeply believe.”
In addition to being an outspoken advocate for pro-life policies regarding abortion, the death penalty, and assisted suicide, Gallagher’s efforts have resulted in several state-approved programs including the Prenatal Care Assistance Program that serves low-income mothers and their children; the continuation of the state-funded abortion alternatives; and the Health Care Proxy Law that allowed competent adults to appoint agents who can help decide health care options in the event they become unable to decide for themselves.
“Pro-life work is not an easy vocation, but Kathy never lost faith,” said NYSCC Executive Director Dennis Poust. “She has continued to put all of her passion into her work to implement policies that protect human life in the law and to convert hearts toward a culture of Life.”