March/April, 1998 Volume XII Number 11
Washington, D.C. -- The pro-life movement seemed to heave a huge, collective sigh on January 22, 1998.
Twenty-five years had passed since the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down abortion laws in all 50 states of the Union. In one sense, it was just another year; in another sense, it was a gruesome milestone - a sickening Silver Anniversary.
Twenty-five years of Marches for Life; 25 years of legislative attempts; 25 years of clinic pickets; 25 years of crisis pregnancy work. Twenty-five years and not a lot to show for it.
There are still close to 1.5 million surgical abortions a year; still the same 84% of counties without an abortuary; still the same 60% of Americans in the mushy middle of the opinion polls.
But the huge collective sigh being finished, pro-life activists have picked themselves up and are beginning the battle afresh -- even if it means another 25 years.
The week of this year's March for Life was filled with pro-life activities.
While the March for Life was the centerpiece of the week's pro-life activities, many other, smaller events were conducted. Tens of thousands, as usual, solemnly marched up Constitution Avenue from the Ellipse across the street from the Washington Monument up to the Supreme Court building on January 22.
The day before, January 21, Pat Mahoney of Christian Defense Coalition, Jeff White of Operation Rescue/California, and Bryan Kemper of Rock for Life led a band of activists on the White House tour -- all wearing tee shirts with large prints of aborted babies on both the front and back. A few weeks before the event, the Secret Service found out about the plan and told Mahoney they would not be allowed to take the tour. Mahoney told the group that they could be arrested, but he had also told the Secret Service that there would be a lawsuit if they attempted to stop their expression. Recalling Mahoney's court victory in 1997 over holding huge aborted baby signs at the inaugural parade, the government relented. Twenty pro-lifers brought the message of child-killing into the White House.
Just south of Washington, D.C., David Crane, director of Life Ministries, launched a new organization, American Coalition for Life (ACFL), which he described as "a pro-life mission agency" to assist activists who are called to pro-life work as a full-time Christian mission.
"There is a serious need for an umbrella organization to assist and direct Christian men and women whom God has burdened with a desire to minister in the pro-life mission field," said Crane.
Thirty participants from 11 states ranging from Maine to Missouri to California, would caravan the following day to Washington, D.C. for the march and some special activities. Following ACFL's first meeting.
At the rally before the March for Life it was ironic that the icons of abortion, Roe of Roe v. Wade, Norma McCorvey, and Doe of Doe v. Bolton, Mary Cano, both spoke against the child killing that their names had started.
"Our country has lived with legalized abortion for 25 years now," said McCorvey. "From personal experience, I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that our experiment with legal abortion is an utter failure."
Like a gnat on a huge snake, Refuse & Resist, a radical pro-abortion group, harangued the marchers -- taking time to focus for a while on several who carried "Free Paul Hill" signs.
At the end of the march, Flip Benham, director of Operation Rescue/National stood up to preach at the Supreme Court steps. Refuse & Resist couldn't resist and tried to shout him down.
ACFL director, David Crane led his band of more than 30 activists on the March for Life -- but they were dressed in sackcloth and bore signs calling for repentance within the ranks of the pro-life, Christian movement.
Crane said to his group, "If you have personally repented, and are working to restore your brethren -- starting with abortifacient use in the Church -- then you're on good footing to stand at the murder camps of our land and call them to repentance."
The radical pro-aborts had also designed a huge pro-abortion banner reading, "Keep abortion safe and legal," which was supposed to be borne aloft by bundles of helium-filled balloons. The first attempt to launch the plastic banner was stopped by a sudden gust of wind which blew it into the trees, so it was pulled down and repositioned for another try. Oddly, it was the environmentalists among the Refuse & Resist crowd who responded most strongly, tearing down the sign and the balloons because of the potential damage to the environment they might cause. Some pro-life activists joined in tearing at the sign and popping the balloons and the radical pro-aborts attacked them. Police in riot gear threw themselves into the mayhem and wound up carting off a number of Refuse & Resist activists.
The next day, January 23, Mahoney and White were again the center of controversy. They had committed themselves to a prayer rally on the Supreme Court steps -- defying threats of arrest. Chief Justice Rehnquist, allegedly pro-life, ordered barricades put up. More than that, he ordered the Supreme Court building closed -- even to tourists.
While 200 pro-lifers gathered, so did nearly 100 police officers, eyeing each other across the barricade line.
Mahoney told the crowd and the police that they were not leaving until the barricades came down and they had a chance to pray on the Supreme Court steps. Finally, at 6:00 p.m., the barricades came down and the activists conducted their prayer service on the steps without being arrested.
A rescue revival hit on Saturday, January 24. Sixteen rescuers, including Benham, Mahoney, and White, were arrested at Capitol Women's abortuary in Washington, D.C. About 120 other pro-lifers were there for prayer support. Rescuers arrived at the doors at 9:00 a.m. following arrest, a local pastor paid the bail for all of the rescuers.
The closing act was a protest at Clinton's church, Foundry Methodist. Benham and several others attended the first service and were able to witness to the pastor. The second service -- the one the Clinton's attended -- was under tighter security but a Chicago activist was able to shake the president's hand while he told him to repent and turn to Jesus and to stand up for the babies. Secret Service agents whisked him off to a room where he was searched down to his underwear.
Benham preached outside to the 50 pro-life activists while the second service went on inside.
The Clintons were treated to huge dead-baby signs on both their arrival and their departure.
So, while the Silver Anniversary of Death was an awful reminder of the persistence of atrocity, it was also a trumpet to remind the pro-life movement, "Be not weary in well doing."
Bray conducts third annual White Rose Banquet
On the evening before the March for Life, in suburban Maryland, nearly 100 pro-life activists gathered for the third annual White Rose Banquet presented by Michael Bray and Reformation Lutheran Church where he is a pastor.
The banquet is designed to honor pro-life prisoners and to raise funds for them and their families.
Letters from Paul Hill, Curt Beseda, Jennifer Sperle, and other prisoners were read to the group.
This year's fundraising event included an auction of "relics" from prisoners, including the "fanny" pack used by Shelley Shannon to carry the pistol she used to shoot abortionist George Tiller.
Donald and Thea Spitz were present for special honors to be given to them.
Silver Anniversary of Death
Blast rocks Birmingham abortuary; 1 killed, 1 injured
Charges dropped against Oregon man who destoryed child porn
FL sheriff calls abortion doctor "baby killer"
"Moon" rises over pro-life protest
Doctor's anti-abortion sign violates township ordinances, authorities say