June 9, 2023

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Wichita Eagle Gives Veteran Pro-Lifer David Gittrich A Respectful Send-Off, Almost

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David Alan Gittrich, 1946-2017, requiescat in pace.

David Gittrich, one of the greatest pro-life activists in Kansas history, died Tuesday of kidney cancer. To its credit, the Wichita Eagle gave Gittrich a respectful write-up.

The one thing the Eagle refused to do, however, was describe Gittrich the way he and his friends would have described him, as a pro-life activist. The Eagle editors insisted on labeling him as his opponents would, “an anti-abortion activist,” one who was “a prominent figure in the anti-abortion movement.”

Gittrich’s obituary uses a different vocabulary altogether. According to the obit, Gittrich was actively engaged “in the pro-life movement” for the last 35 years. In 1982, his best friend, John Shay, showed him a film about abortion, “and from that time on David was a tireless worker for the right to life of all human beings.”

David helped grow Kansans for Life from a small, inchoate group centered in a few cities to a statewide organization with thousands of members and chapters in 85 Kansas towns and cities. “He enjoyed pro-life educational projects the most,” the obituary reports, but he got involved in politics “when he realized political efforts were needed in order to advance the pro-life movement’s goals.”

“At a time when few understood the severity of the issue of life,” said Sen. Pat Roberts upon Dittrich’s death, “he led the charge in the battle to protect the lives of our most vulnerable, and built a grassroots army through education and compassion. His advocacy changed the political landscape in Kansas.”

Gittrich, 70, was serving as the development director for Kansans for Life when he died. He previously served as executive director for the same organization. “He was very integral in establishing Kansans for Life as a force at the state level,” said Mary Kay Culp, KFL’s current executive director.

Funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m., Monday, October 23, with a rosary at 7 p.m. Sunday, both at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 124 N Roosevelt St., Wichita. Memorials have been established with Kansans for Life and Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. KFL plans to hold an “Evening of Appreciation for David Gittrich” on Nov. 8.

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