Kate Maloney
Kate Maloney

The Evangelist continues its interview series with Kate Maloney, the Northeast regional coordinator for Students for Life of America. Maloney, 25, talks with Emily Benson of The Evangelist about her family, her dream of performing on Broadway, and the future of the pro-life movement. Catholic Voices will feature a wide range of women and men and will appear ­periodically in the paper and online.

Kate Maloney never thought she would be working as the Northeast regional coordinator for Students for Life of America. The national non-profit is striving to end abortion in America by educating students at the middle, high school and college levels about pro-life issues. Maloney, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2017 with a degree in vocal performance, sat down with The Evangelist to talk about her work with Students for Life and her passion for the pro-life movement.

TE: Tell me about your upbringing?

KM: I was born in Oklahoma. My dad has been in the military for 32 years; he is a retired lieutenant colonel. It was amazing growing up in a military family. It teaches you so much. It’s taught me to be very flexible. I can go with the flow a little bit, but it’s also taught me the real importance of family... that consistency that you get from home, because my parents are sometimes my best friends. And it teaches me that when I get married and I have my own family, how important family is. That was really prevalent to me growing up. 

TE: What was your first religious memory?

KM: I grew up in a Catholic home, so praying the rosary with my family (was my first memory). My mom used to say, ‘A family who prays together, stays together.’ So we would always pray the rosary together: me, my mom, my dad, my brother and I. But a really strong religious memory that I have was in my post-graduate life. There was a Students for Life group on my campus that I was part of, and I resonate well with college students who are afraid to get out on their campus because I was always afraid to get out on my campus and be pro-life. I was trying to be in the performing world and I didn’t want to be blacklisted or denied things because of my views on abortion and being pro-life. And I was praying one night and telling God how I felt like I wasn’t doing enough, and as I’m praying my cell phone buzzed. And when my praying ended and I looked at my phone, it was the original Northeast regional coordinator. She had texted me and said, ‘Hey Kate, I’m leaving my position. Would you like to apply for it at Students for Life?’ It was the most direct thing God has ever done in my life. So I was like, yes I’d love to apply! And that’s how I got here.

TE: You went to school for vocal performance, how did you get into that?

KM: Music and singing has been my forever (loves). I used to cantor Masses when I was little in Watertown. I’ve been in so many shows, sung the national anthem for my brother’s football games, done a lot of things in singing. And I always thought that you serve God when you use your gifts, and I definitely think singing isn’t over. I think there’s a way I can marry it to the pro-life movement. But my education is in music, and it shows that He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. I wanted to be a singer. I wanted to be on Broadway; that was my goal for a really long time, since I can remember. So it was funny when this new passion started to emerge, and I always felt a draw to being pro-life even when I was little. Having that career in performing has helped me to do things like this — getting out and talking to people. I get that performance high that I love, and I get to talk about something that I love. It’s a lot of fun. 

TE: What’s an average day like? 

KM: It’s different each time. Monday, Wednesday, Friday I always have meetings with my team. Fridays we have all team calls; so West Coast, East Coast, we all get on a giant call, and the days change. Either I’ll have an office day where I get up really early in the morning, do my readings and I’ll have my emails and phone calls to make and things to plan and campus tours to visit and all these different amalgam of things. If I’m traveling, especially if I’m in New York City, I get up super early, try to beat the traffic, and when I’m on campus, we do campus tours. Usually I’ll be on campus for hours, and then I’ll grab dinner and go home, so it’s different every day. Things can change at the drop of a hat.

TE: Are people surprised by how young you are?

KM: I do find that people are surprised that I’m so young. Because culture has their hooks into thinking that young people are really on board with Planned Parenthood and all these pro-abortion places...it’s great that this organization allows other young women and young men to come in and say those organizations don’t speak for me. 

TE: Is that a common misconception you see? When people assume young people are pro-choice?

KM: Yes, oh my gosh. Sometimes when I’m at schools I want students who are on the pro-choice side to feel like they can communicate with me. I’m not gonna shut them down or make them feel uncomfortable, because the only way we get to grow in anything is to have dialogue. I want to show that they can have dialogue with me and that we can communicate and connect because there’s such a divide. Obviously, I think that abortion is anti-feminine (and) I think that (the pro-life) movement is better for women; and pro-choice people think their movement is better for women, so it’s bridging that gap. It’s an education thing. It’s a misinformation thing, and it’s a stereotypical thing, too, that people have to look a certain way to belong to a certain movement. It’s not the case at all; ideas are ideas. 

TE: Where do you see the future of the pro-life movement going? 

KM: I definitely think it’s going in a positive direction ... We have science on our side. It doesn’t get much more objective. And I definitely see the pro-life movement and Students for Life really growing in a positive direction because there’s so much opportunity for us to talk about abortion now, especially with the RHA (Reproductive Health Act) passing in New York State. So it’s opened up those doors to have conversations. We can have discussion and at the same time it will help to rally students to know Roe vs. Wade was passed in 1973; it doesn’t have to stay that way. I really think we’re going to see a more pro-life New York.

TE: What is your life philosophy?

KM: This was the quote that spoke so much truth into my heart and was the reason I applied for the job at Students for Life. It summed up how I felt in school and it’s hopefully the confidence I can give to other students so that they can make a difference on their campus. It’s the St. Joan of Arc quote, because I absolutely love her, and its goes: “One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”