LOS ANGELES (RNS) — Karen Gaffney has swum the English Channel, given a TEDx talk and received an honorary doctorate. As a public speaker, she disarms audiences with her warmth and humor.

For all these reasons, and because she has Down syndrome and opposes abortion, Gaffney, 40, also serves as a prized speaker for the anti-abortion movement.

“I want my voice to be heard,” Gaffney, of Portland, Ore., said during a speech that received a standing ovation in January at OneLife LA, a gathering  to protest abortion. “And I want my message to come through loud and clear.”

Her message is

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