GCRTL welcomed about 350 of Central Ohio’s pro-life faithful to the 2017 Annual Roe Remembrance at the Ohio Statehouse. Photos of the event, taken by Larry Pishitelli of PishPhoto.com, are available on our facebook page.
Speakers for the annual event included Fr. Nicholas Droll, Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, Secretary of State Jon Husted, GCRTL executive director Beth Vanderkooi, Linda J., and Pastor Mark Robinette.
The crowd, gathered in observance of the 44th anniversary of Roe V Wade, the US Supreme Court decision which nationalized abortion on demand. Since then, an estimated 60 million unborn children have been lost to abortion.
After Fr. Droll led the crowd in an opening prayer and the pledge of allegiance, President Obhof addressed the crowd, noting that strides that the General Assembly has made in recent years to expand legal protections for the unborn. Obhof also noted that as a father, the right to life is fundamental. Presiden Obhof also brought a pair of shoes, which he donated to and placed in the newly unveiled Memorial of the Unborn.
Following President Obhof, Secretary Husted offered a few words to the group, specifically sharing his his belief in prayer as a way of changing not only the course of a nation but also the hearts of its people. Secretary Husted also shared that to him, the right to life is not only philosophical, but deeply personal - his birth-mother chose life over abortion, placing him with "the most loving parents in the world." Secretary Husted also placed a pair of shoes in the newly unveiled Memorial for the unborn. Comments for the Memorial of the Unborn's unveiling are available in full below.
A third guest speaker, Linda J., shared her testimony from abortion to despair to hope to healing through post-abortion healing programs at Vineyard Church and the PDHC sponsored Rachel's Vineyard program.
At the conclusion of the event, Pastor Robinette spoke for the Hope that lies in the Gospel for each of us and the need to stand up for the innocent unborn.
Update: Because several have requested copies of the comments for the Memorial of the Unborn, the planned comments are available below. Audio archives of the entire program should be available soon.
In revealing the memorial, GCRTL's executive director offered the following thoughts,
"As we turn to our primary reason to be here today – memorializing the nearly 60 million unborn American children that were the casualties of Roe v Wade, there has been much discussion of numbers this week. How many attended the inauguration, how many attended the women’s march on DC, and how many will attend the march for life. Organizers claim that some 2.4 million women attended the DC or regional march this past weekend. Certainly more than that will attend the March for Life, the Walk for Like, or any of the hundreds of events like this one today. But those numbers pale in comparison to 60 million, which is roughly equivalent to the populations of DC, VA, MD, PA, DE, NJ, NY, KY, and Ohio, combined. Nationally, there are about 2735 unborn children lost to abortion each day. Here in Ohio, there are 57 abortions every single day, and 13 of them are performed right here in Columbus.
The magnitude is hard to comprehend. The numbers boggle the mind, and make it almost impossible to comprehend, impossible to process. In some ways, the sheer volume of an abstract number like 60 million contributes to the dehumanization of the aborted unborn child in a way that makes him or her less real, less personal, and less of a tragedy. I often wonder why this is, and while there are undoubtedly many contributing factors, I cannot wonder if it is because if we truly experienced the grief and the loss we would not be able to bear it, much less respond as God calls us to respond.
This idea has been heavy on the hearts of all of us at Greater Columbus Right to Life; how can we as individuals, as families and congregations and as a community truly be witness to the staggering magnitude of abortion in a way that remembers the unborn, respects and upholds their innate dignity, conveys the magnitude of this great injustice of our time, moves us to respond in act and word and deed and prayer, and inspires hope and healing and restoration to those who suffer.
With that in mind, I am pleased to share with you the Memorial of the Unborn. For the past months, GCRTL has been collecting hundreds of baby shoes, 47 hundred and fifteen to be exact. As an aside, we are still collecting, and if you would like to help us with the effort, you can share your name and contact information with one of our volunteers and we will be in touch.
We are collecting these shoes to be part of a traveling memorial exhibit that churches, schools, and organizations can host throughout the region, each shoe representing an unborn child lost to abortion right here in our community. The project will provide supporting materials to local respect life committees, small group worships, clubs, and community groups with concrete ways to get involved, and it starts today. We have produced some beautiful project information pieces that open up as education materials; please take one when you leave, or reach out if you would like them in larger quantities. But first, I want to ask you to join me in a moment of silence as we invite some volunteers to help share with you the impact that the memorial will have.
Each day, an average of thirteen children are robbed of life at one of the two central Ohio abortion clinics.
That means about 91 each week.
So far this year, that is 299 unborn children.
And each of us bears the responsibility for these abortions, by what we have done and by what we have failed to do. That casts an incredible darkness in our community. But in order to stand up to the darkness, we only need one light, and the light of Christ is the light of truth and shines bright, eternally.
It is a light that burns not as a spotlight on our transgressions, but as a beacon to hope, forgiveness, and mercy, leading us home, because in this call to life, we are reminded that we each are broken people, living in a broken world, and so we are called to works of transformational mercy in ourselves, in our brothers and sisters in Christ, and in our communities."