Oregon Right to Life’s Pro-Life Communities project is expanding to Eastern Oregon

Oregon Right to Life

The Pro-Life Communities initiative aims to ensure that every woman facing an unsupported pregnancy will have at least one pro-life advocate in her circle who can empower her to choose life for that child. The project initially focused on Marion, Deschutes, Polk and Lane Counties as ORTL Education Foundation staff identified and built connections with local churches and life-affirming resources. In November 2023, helped in part by a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Pro-Life Communities officially expanded to Eastern Oregon. 

“The laws are extreme here in Oregon, but we have the resources, data, advocates and networks to fill our communities with support and empower women to choose life,” says Makyra Williamson, ORTL Education Foundation’s Community Outreach Director.

To that end, ORTL Education Foundation is focusing on Eastern Oregon. The primary reason? Oregon is becoming known as an “abortion destination,” especially for vulnerable women from nearby states like Idaho. 

“The Ontario Planned Parenthood, for example, is strategically located next to the Oregon/Idaho border. So we are focusing our Pro-Life Communities efforts in Eastern Oregon to combat abortion tourism and make it clear that the pro-life movement is alive and well in Oregon,” Williamson says. “There are women and families in need in that area, and we are committed to working to connect them with the available resources and bringing pro-life advocates together to support them.”

That’s where Shannon Garlitz steps in. ORTL Education Foundation hired Garlitz, a longtime pro-life advocate, as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Eastern Oregon region. Working from her home in Cove, a small city near La Grande, Garlitz does the hands-on work meeting with local churches and community groups to help them catch the vision for Pro-Life Communities.

“My job is to connect life-affirming resources and advocates with each other to build a strong network of support among volunteers of diverse backgrounds,” Garlitz says. “Just like in metro areas, rural communities have access to local pregnancy resource centers, community resources and church ministries that are willing and able to care for and support mothers in need.”

To help promote these life-affirming resources, ORTL Education Foundation has recruited two interns to design printed resource guides to distribute in focus areas.  

Step by step, ORTL is building communities with a unified voice and vision for protecting the preborn by stepping into the gap and providing consistent, compassionate support for women and families.

Want to get involved? 

Pro-Life Communities is looking for local churches to join the referral network. For Eastern Oregon, email shannon@ortl.org. For other regions, contact makyra@ortl.org. 


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