In the Jon Voight movie, Pope John Paul II, the young Karol Wojtyla announces to his friends in Nazi-occupied Poland that he has decided to become a priest. The friends of the young future pope respond with incredulity, demanding to know why. Karol replies:
When faced with this abyss of evil, I can only respond with an abyss of love.
And so it was with Students for Life of America’s National Field Director, Kortney Blythe Gordon, whose life has been that of a first order pro-life abolitionist. A few weeks ago, Kortney shared with me all of her expertise in how to establish, support, and maintain new student groups in my new capacity as National Director of Medical Students for Life of America.
Last night, while returning from Georgia’s Students for Life Conference, Kortney was driving another SFLA staffer, a student, and conference speaker from a pregnancy center when her car was struck in a head-on collision. Kortney, her unborn daughter Sophy, and the other driver were immediately killed on impact. Our other staffer is in extremely critical condition and the staffer’s identity and details are being withheld at the request of family. The two other occupants have sustained extremely serious internal injuries requiring extensive surgery. Blessedly, they are expected to live.
Kortney leaves behind her husband Ben, who will bury his bride (just married this year) and their first child. Donations are being accepted to help with burial costs and support for Ben, and may be made by clicking here.
Kortney died as she lived, a saint who responded to an abyss of evil with an abyss of love. The following is her bio from SFLA’s website:
Kortney joined Students for Life of America as Field Director in June 2010. As Field Director, she manages the SFLA Field Agents and travels across the nation to mobilize, activate, and train new and existing student pro-life groups. As a child, Kortney was introduced to the pro-life movement through her uncle, a full-time sidewalk counselor, who, in the past 25 years, has saved over 3,000 children from abortion through his clinic presence. Her pastor and apologist father encouraged her passion for the preborn, and in 2005, she graduated magna cum laude from Montreat College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a focus on Communication.
Directly out of college, she took a position as residential supervisor for an unwed mother’s home in Charlotte, NC. Then, in summer 2006, she joined Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust as the Director of Campus Life Tours in southern California. During her time with Survivors, she led a team of 6-10 young adults, traveling to 600 high school and college campuses setting up pro-life displays and distributing over 200,000 pieces of educational literature. Kortney mentored dozens of rising pro-life youth at Survivors’ annual Pro-life Leadership Training Camps, where she provided hands-on instruction on activist tactics, free speech rights and defending the pro-life position. She brought her experience and knowledge to Australia in spring 2009 with a whirlwind tour of the country that included street activism, training and an appearance on a local Catholic television program.
She has participated in countless pro-life demonstrations, counter-protests and prayer vigils. As a result, her frequent stands against first amendment violations have successfully struck down dozens of unconstitutional ordinances and school policies.
In 2009, she moved back to the East coast to work with Rock for Life as the Chapter and Street Team Coordinator. Her activities included starting nearly twenty new chapters, frequent blogging on trending pro-life topics and recording a weekly podcast, broadcast on National Pro-life Radio.
Kortney has been a guest speaker at various events, functions and church groups, such as Charlotte’s 40 Days for Life closing celebration and the Los Angeles March for Life. She has appeared in publications like NC’s Indy Week for her protest of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and on radio programs, such as SoundRezn and Giving an Answer.
With gratitude to Almighty God for the gift of Kortney, may we steel our resolve to carry on the great work that she has done. Please pray for Kortney’s husband and family, for our other staffer, and for the other victims and their loved ones.
We have gained two powerful intercessors before the Father, matched equally by the depth of our loss here on earth.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace, Amen.