ORTL state fair booth changes Hearts & Minds Every Summer

Oregon Right to Life

Jodi Hess is consistently amazed at the stories that Oregon State Fair attendees willingly share with her every summer. 

Hess, a Keizer resident, has volunteered at the state fair booth presented by the Oregon Right to Life Education Foundation (ORTLEF) for approximately four years. “I first chose to volunteer because I believe in the mission and vision of ORTLEF in their passion for the sanctity of human life, specifically for the protection of the unborn,” Hess says. “I am also an extrovert and enjoy engaging with people from all walks of life.”

The booth informs fair-goers about fetal development, local resources for pregnant women, support for parents in crisis and the lack of legal restrictions on abortion in Oregon. Volunteers hand out biologically accurate fetal models, lead visitors through informative games, engage in life-focused conversations and share ways to support women in the Beaver State.

“I’ve had a teenage boy who came around three different times to the booth to engage with me,” Hess shares. “There are people sincerely interested in the truth about when human life begins. It’s inspiring to hear them ask questions.”

 Stories often include tales of abortion near-misses, past abortion-related pain, the joys of adoption and the agony of abuse. Women who have had abortions or other diehard pro-choice supporters sometimes insult booth volunteers or try to dissuade passersby from approaching. It’s often emotionally and mentally exhausting, but the positives far outweigh the negatives, Hess says.

“We are advocates for the preborn and do not need to fear how our current culture reacts to our pro-life position,” she says. “For pro-lifers apprehensive about talking with strangers, please know that God will equip you to do the job and grow outside your comfort zone.” ORTLEF also offers training from the prestigious Equal Rights Institute beforehand.

“You will not be disappointed for standing up for life in this way,” Hess says.

This year’s state fair runs from August 25 to September 4 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem. To volunteer at Oregon Right to Life Education Foundation’s state fair booth, sign up at ortl.org/volunteer-with-us or call 503-463-8563.

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