By Margaret M. Russell
Nancy Clark didn’t want to carry a sign when she was praying outside the abortion facility on Pleasant Street. She said she didn’t want to draw attention to herself and just wanted to quietly pray for the women and babies entering the building where abortions are performed.
One day a friend gave her a sign to hold and said that people need to know why she is standing there. Reluctantly, she took it. But, since the sign saved a life, she is no longer reluctant about professing her beliefs.
Mrs. Clark, a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament Parish, was one of three speakers at the national #ProtestPP rally held Saturday outside Planned Parenthood in Worcester. More than 200 cities around the country participated in the peaceful protest, according to Sandra Kucharski, local organizer. Ms. Kucharski estimated about 170 people attended the local rally. She said rallies were also held in Boston and Fitchburg.
Mrs. Clark, a sidewalk counselor who was also a part of the Massachusetts buffer zone lawsuit that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, said that the first day she was holding a sign proclaiming life, a young woman came up to her and changed her mind about having an abortion.
Chillingly, another time, a woman told her that she was headed for her second abortion and couldn’t find the words to explain to her boyfriend why she really did not want to kill her unborn baby. She was hoping that the protesters would be there with their signs so she could start the conversation. But they were not there. And she went through with the abortion.
The importance of standing up for life in a public way was echoed by other speakers too.
“We have been given the blessing and the call to be part of the greatest human rights struggle of our day,” said Allison LeDoux, director of the Respect Life Office for the Diocese of Worcester, in her prepared speech.
“Whatever it is God is asking of us, we can all work to build a Culture of Life and Love by educating and encouraging others to live according to their true God-given dignity, to reject the idolatry of selfishness, and to live in a way that upholds authentic love and respects life.”
She noted that the videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress “have brought the horror of abortion to a heightened level of awareness.” Those videos, showing Planned Parenthood workers’ role in the procurement and sale of unborn-baby organs for research, were the impetus for #ProtestPP coalition to call the annual day of protest.
“Just this week it was reported that a congressional investigative panel had produced clear, detailed, documented evidence that Planned Parenthood is not only making a profit from its heinous practice of organ harvesting, but is also breaking federal law,” Mrs. LeDoux said.
“If we really want to not live with abortion, but to get rid of abortion, then we must in addition to fighting the sidewalk skirmishes, engage in the larger battles with the abortion lawmakers themselves…,” said Mark Fisher, a former candidate for governor of Massachusetts.
He emphasized that “we must not allow ourselves to ever cast a vote for any candidate who believes in the right to abortion.”
“Abortion seems like a formidable stronghold. But so did the wall of Jerico, so did the Berlin Wall. They fell and so will abortion but only when religious leaders join together with the good men and good women to tell our lawmakers to tear down the law of abortion,” he said to applause.
The unborn have waited long enough, he said, calling on religious leaders to use this Year of Mercy to admonish pro-abortion lawmakers.
“Will our religious leaders practice that spiritual work of mercy that call them, with charity, to ‘admonish sinners,’” he asked.