Our board president Melody Durrett delivered the following message at the virtual Oregon March for Life on January 25.
Today, I’d love to talk about optimism and uniting together in the pro-life movement. Last year and this year continue to shake up our culture and our world. As we now face a federal administration that is hostile to the protection of unborn human life, and as we have already begun to see pro-life policies repealed and pro-choice policies instituted at the federal level, the message of hope and unity among the pro-life movement is more important than ever. It is time for us pro-lifers to band together and continue spreading the truth about abortion, undermining the lies the pro-choice movement tells, and spreading the hope that choosing life offers.
In the pandemic, there has become this idea of having a “group” or “bubble” of people that you meet in person with, rather than staying in personal contact with a large group of people. The funny thing is that being willing to engage those in our closest bubble has always been key to changing hearts, minds, and our culture about abortion. It can be easy to become jaded about the realities of abortion is in our state and across the nation. Oregon remains the only state with no legislative restrictions on abortion. In Oregon, abortion is legal up until the moment of birth.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” If we look at other social justice movements, such as the civil rights movement for equality for African-Americans, we see that progress is not linear, but instead is sometimes two steps forward, one step back. The important thing is that we continue to be optimistic and stay focused on achieving equality for unborn humans.
I want to encourage us all that science and facts are on the side of the pro-life movement. Medical textbooks teach that the moment a new and separate human life begins is the moment of conception. Modern ultrasounds now clearly show, with precise detail, the development of a human life, and embryology reveals how many developmental milestones an unborn baby reaches by just six weeks, when the unborn human’s heart starts to beat. It is so important that all who agree with equal rights for unborn humans work together to change our state’s culture to be one that supports life. The facts are on our side and the truth always wins in the end.
It’s not just the science of when a human becomes a human that is central to our message—it is the hope we offer to our culture by empowering women to choose life. Our culture tells us that becoming pregnant unexpectedly is one of the worst things that can happen to a young woman. Our culture will tell that pregnant woman that her dreams of the kind of life she wants, the education she hopes to pursue, the career she wants to have, are pitted against the life of her unborn child. This is the damaging message the pro-choice movement offers to women.
In stark contrast, the pro-life movement tells that woman she is strong, that her dreams are achievable without abortion, and that she has options that don’t involve a psychologically-scarring, life-taking abortion. The pro-life movement empowers women with resources and support.
We advocate the value and equality of all humans, regardless of their differences in development or dependence. This is a message that I believe so many across our state can agree with. People with very different religious convictions, cultural backgrounds, life circumstances, and political views agree that unborn humans should have equal rights to born humans. The diversity of the pro-life movement is our strength and we should work together with all pro-life people to change the politics, policies, and culture in our state.
We have to stay focused on the goal of creating a culture of life in Oregon so strong that abortion is unthinkable and irrelevant. We must continue spreading the truth about abortion and offering hope to those in need. It has been so impressive that Oregon Right to Life’s donors have continued to give strongly to this cause throughout the pandemic. It shows that this issue is so near and dear to our hearts. We must continue to engage people in our bubble on the issue of abortion, and to compassionately share why this issue continues to motivate us to change our culture.
If you are on our email list, then you may be aware of a huge victory of the pro-life movement, which is that Lovejoy Surgicenter, a large abortion center in Portland, which performed late-term abortions, has closed its doors, after almost 50 years in business. Regardless that another clinic may take its place, it is a victory that no more innocent lives will be taken there. A strong 40 Days for Life presence and other sidewalk counselors have been outside its doors for years, peacefully praying and offering hope to those there.
Let’s each look to the example of those faithful pro-life people who consistently stood outside Lovejoy Surgicenter until its doors closed and each continue working to create a culture of life in Oregon. I am so honored to serve in this movement alongside all of you! Thank you for all that you do for life!