Not to be deterred by unpleasant weather conditions, a crowd of 50 pro-lifers gathered last night outside Planned Parenthood in Aurora, Illinois to mark the seventh anniversary of the day the “Abortion Fortress” opened its doors. Reflections were shared, songs were sung, candles were lit, and the faithful came together to mourn the babies and mothers hurt by abortion as well as to thank God for his ongoing kindness to the pro-life movement in our struggle against this facility. Following introductory remarks by Pro-Life Action League executive director Eric Scheidler, Father Michael Miller of St. Therese Parish in Aurora offered a reflection, drawing particularly on words of Pope Francis in his encyclical letter Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”):
Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual”. Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or ‘modernizations’. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.
After Tim Gregson of Aurora’s First Presbyterian Church led the group in singing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” Tom Olp, an attorney with the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center, gave an update on the zoning lawsuit against Planned Parenthood, which was filed in February 2008 and is still very much alive. Candles were then lit during the singing of “You Are Mine,” after which Pastor Jeff Moore offered a moving reflection on the need for perseverance in the fight against abortion. To conclude his remarks, he read from the only passage in the English Standard Version’s New Testament that contains the word “perseverance”:
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:11-20)
The vigil closed with a special memorial for all the babies who have died at the hands of Planned Parenthood’s abortionists over the last seven years. After a final song, everyone present brought a red carnation across the street to the edge of Planned Parenthood’s property as a peaceful symbol of the loss the whole community suffers whenever a child is aborted.
- See a Flickr set of photos of the prayer vigil here.