The new respect life coordinator for the Diocese of Burlington brings with her a passion for the Church’s teaching on the dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death.

Eileen Haupt has 20 years of experience working in the pro-life cause that includes serving on the board of Vermont Right to Life Committee, writing, testifying and speaking on pro-life issues.

“As Catholics, we believe in the dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death. There are many ways to respect life across the continuum of life,” she said.

She has been active in Chittenden County Right to Life for more than 20 years and is co-founder of Keep Infants with Down Syndrome, a group formed to bring together families who have a child with Down syndrome and to raise awareness about the high rate of abortion of babies with Down syndrome.

A former technology department help desk technician and IBM programmer, she has a bachelor’s degree in business from Trinity College in Burlington.

One of her immediate concerns as respect life coordinator is reaching as many Catholics as possible about the danger of amending the Vermont Constitution with the language of Article 22 to ensure that every Vermonter is afforded personal reproductive liberty. It will be on the November ballot, but ballots will be available to voters beginning Sept. 24.

“The more long-term challenge is spearheading the implementation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ ‘Walking with Moms in Need’” initiative, she said. “Ideally, we would like every parish to be ready to assist a pregnant woman who might approach them for help. To achieve that goal, we need a … point person in each parish.”

There are many ways to respect life across the continuum of life. “For example, in nascent human life, we need to oppose embryonic stem cell research and cloning,” Haupt said. “’Walking with Moms in Need’ — caring for both mother and baby — respects life, and so does providing healing for women suffering from grief after an abortion. Supporting the vulnerable, such as individuals with disabilities, the poor and the elderly, are all ways in which we respect life.”

Haupt said she is “excited and honored” to help the Diocese build a culture of life in Vermont as respect Life coordinator.

—Originally published in the Fall 2022 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.