The pro-life community of the Illinois Fox Valley came out again in force this month to protest the mid-west’s largest abortion facility, the “Abortion Fortress” of Aurora, Illinois. One of the most striking aspects of the pro-life community in the Fox Valley is the ecumenical spirit that has been foundational to the pro-life efforts here since the Planned Parenthood controversy erupted in the summer of 2007. Though there can often be ire and resentment between Protestants and Catholics even in the pro-life movement, God has blessed the community here with a spirit of unity in fighting for unborn babies and their mothers.
Ecumenical Cooperation from the Beginning
From the beginning of the struggle, Protestants and Catholics were drawn together by their outrage over Planned Parenthood’s murderous business and deceitful tactics. A group of local clergy covering many different denominations came together to sign a statement opposing Planned Parenthood. Catholics stood shoulder to shoulder with Protestants at protests and they prayed together during the 24-hour vigil that spanned more than 50 days. Down to the present, many deep friendships that cross between churches form the foundation of the pro-life effort. I was pleased to see the same spirit in effect at the protest last Saturday. As we picketed along New York Street outside Planned Parenthood, many Catholics prayed their Rosaries, as Protestants sang songs of praise and offered other prayers. There was no animosity because the deep commitment to life that comes from our worship of the same Triune God is enough to let love cover our differences.
Knights of Columbus Support Protestant Sidewalk Counselors
During the protest, a group of Knights of Columbus prayed a Rosary closer to the clinic supporting Tom and Mary Kay, two of our most stalwart sidewalk counselors, who are themselves Protestant. The Rosary isn’t a devotion they employ themselves, but they were happy to have the support that the Knights’ Rosary offered as they engaged in the critical work of talking to abortion-bound moms.
Pro-Life Cause Will Persist Until Victory
At the close of the protest, we all gathered for a final prayer. I told to the group that I had heard that the Blockbuster video next to Planned Parenthood was closing. The Blockbuster has been a landmark since the first days of protest outside Planned Parenthood, but now it was closing and pro-lifers were still here. I called their attention to the many businesses, political movements, social groups and the like that have come and gone since pro-lifers started fighting abortion in 1973. Many businesses and movements have come and gone, but pro-lifers are still fighting. Why? Because of our commitment to life rooted in our love for God and respect for His image which is stamped on every human being. That is why I’m confident that abortion will end in America, even if it takes three more decades. Then together, as those who love Jesus Christ, we prayed the prayer He taught us, the Our Father, and went our separate ways. I was greatly encouraged to see the ecumenical spirit going strong, and indeed driving the pro-life movement in the Fox Valley.