Kathleen M. Gallagher, who for the better part of four decades has served as director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, is retiring at the end of January.
During her tenure, she has represented the New York State Bishops and 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.
“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,” said Cardinal Dolan, president of the NYSCC. “She is a giant of the pro-life movement, whom my brother bishops, past and present, have depended on for nearly four decades to fight for the most vulnerable among us. We thank her for her tireless service.
“We're thrilled that Kathy has agreed to serve as a valued consultant on the many issues related to respect for life that we continue to encounter. God knows we need her voice.”
Mrs. Gallagher, who joined the conference in 1984, has served as its pro-life lobbyist and spokesperson. She has served as staff liaison to the Catholic prison chaplains. She has received the Diocesan Pro-Vita Award from the Dioceses of Rockville Centre, Brooklyn 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, and blessed beyond measure to have received a salary to advocate for moral principles in which I deeply believe,” Mrs. Gallagher said.
Her notable pro-life victories have included the enactment of the Prenatal Care Assistance Program, serving low-income mothers and their babies; the continuation of the state-funded Maternity & Early Childhood Foundation, which provides alternatives to abortion; and the enactment of the Health Care Proxy Law, containing considerable protections for the most vulnerable populations, thanks to amendments she helped draft.
She helped build formidable coalitions, including New Yorkers for Life, which was responsible for holding off New York’s egregious abortion expansion law for more than a decade, and the New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide. She is a principal author of Now and at the Hour of Our Death, a booklet offering guidance on end-of-life decision making, and she spearheaded the creation of a video and website based on the booklet. The website, www.catholicendoflife.org, offers national resources for nearly every state.