Every year for decades Oregon Right to Life has organized an event on a Sunday afternoon in January to remember the lives lost to legal abortion since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. It is a large event that we dedicate significant resources to producing and every year the dedicated and the die-hard show up. I am sure there are some who have attended nearly every one. But why? Why do we still gather and march in the cold?
I mean, it’s been 45 years, right? Can I be transparent here? I used to wonder the same thing. When I first entered the pro-life movement as an active participant rather than a passive but likeminded observer it seemed so weird to stand out in the cold every January when there was work to be done inside in the halls of power.
I have since attended many, many Roe v. Wade memorials here in Oregon. In January I am headed for the first time to the March for Life in Washington D.C. I am so excited! Here’s why I believe it is powerful to stand and march every January: we are bearing witness to the evil, injustice and cruelty of abortion. The Webster’s Dictionary definition of bearing witness is, “to show that something exists or is true.” Injustice thrives on apathy and secrecy. While it can appear passive, bearing witness is the most important role we have.
I have loved biographies ever since I can remember. I am pretty sure that I read nearly all of them in my elementary school library. Two of the memorable ones I have read in the past 5 years are about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Wilberforce. If you have never read about either one of these men I highly recommend it!
One of the major themes I have gleaned from their lives is the power of bearing witness. They both faced rejection, loss of social position, financial ruin and—in Bonhoeffer’s case—execution. In spite of years of defeat they continued to speak out, tirelessly refute lies, make arguments, gather support, and inspire others to join them along the way. Eventually, the evil they were fighting gave way and was defeated. And the evil of abortion will give way as well. In fact I believe it already is. Abortions in the US continue to decline to new lows each year.
So, gather up some friends, gear up for our changeable weather and join us Sunday January 14th at Pioneer Courthouse Square to honor the 60 million victims of legalized abortion and bear witness to the injustice together. Trust me, you’ll love it.