We had quite a day yesterday!
After assisting at Mass in the morning, we got lunch and then hung around in Portland for a while. The reason? The pro-life Roe v. Wade memorial rally, of course!
Usually, the rally is held in Salem, but this year, the organizers -- Oregon Right to Life -- decided to move it to Portland. What a great call! Veterans told me they had never seen anything like it in Oregon. Past years, some 500 or so had shown up to the rally outside the state Capitol.
This year, we had around 7,000!! The largest pro-life rally in Oregon history!
The rally began with the tolling of a bell once for each million babies killed by abortion. I am not usually into this sort of thing, but I found myself weeping as the slow, deep tolling made me grasp more deeply just how huge is the number of lives devoured by abortion. And this didn't even count all those innocents abroad who are victims of abortion export by IPPF and others.
But I digress ...
ORTL had a dynamic lineup of speakers, beginning with Archbishop John Vlazny of the Archdiocese of Portland who opened with prayer and then spoke of the importance of the life issues and of stopping FOCA. He said that life issues -- like abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, and assisted suicide -- are not only "faith" issues but ethical issues, just like stealing or hurting others. That it is science, not faith, that shows that human lives begin at conception. And that while there are many social issues we should be concerned about, abortion "dwarfs" all the others. Finally, he called on us all to work tirelessly to reverse these unjust laws, saying "our voice is needed now more than ever." The crowd reacted with cheers and roars of approval as he made all these points.
The Archbishop was followed by several other speakers, including Esther Riplinger, who spoke about how abortion hurt her and about how she found healing, state Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, who spoke about the need for pro-life citizens to contact and educate their representatives in government, and pre-med student Jennifer Salame (a homeschool graduate!) who called on youth to make this struggle their own. Pastor Dale Ebel finished out the lineup with a wonderful personal story of choosing life, and ended the rally with prayer.
Lots more photos are posted at 50 million lost, and there should be transcripts of the speeches up there soon.
A very cool postscript to this is that as we dispersed after the rally and got into the Max (light rail), a man in the train asked what had been going on. Someone told him, "a pro-life rally," and he answered, "Oh, cool!"
In Portland?!? Needless to say, I was / am shocked. In a good sort of way, of course!