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Our Compassionate Message

Melody Durrett
ORTL President

I had an epiphany sitting at Launch (formerly Camp Joshua) at 16 years old. I witnessed a panel of post-abortive women speak about the complex trauma and pain they experienced. These women described situations in life that felt impossible to them at the time and which ultimately led them to abortion. 

In each story, I noticed an element of coercion. For some, their parents drove them to the abortion facility, others had boyfriends who pressured them, or teachers who said they would never be successful in life without an abortion. Some felt no support, leaving them feeling like abortion was the only choice. I realized then, in many cases, the “choice” of abortion is illusory.The reality that abortion deeply impacts people, and that being pro-life is not an abstract moral stance, was life-changing for me. I left feeling inspired to share what I had learned and reach my peers. I began community college that year and started a Students for Life club. What developed from there was years of pro-life activism including interning in D.C. for national pro-life organizations, organizing and speaking at rallies, holding countless events on campuses, and running a pro-life club at University of Oregon, where I later graduated from. 

As our political and social climates continue to shift, I believe compassion is the central message that our counterparts on this issue need to hear from us. If compassion isn’t evident in our conversations, then our facts, statistics, and pictures of aborted fetuses will sound like condemnation to others.  
The year 2020 marks Oregon Right to Life’s 50th anniversary. Our movement has accomplished so much. Thousands of young people across our nation are speaking about life, with compassion being the strongest emotion, as we communicate the truth of abortion. It is inspiring!
Fellow advocates, I am humbled and honored to be serving as the new president of Oregon Right to Life as we enter a new season of the pro-life movement.

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