By JOHN FORTMEYER
PORTLAND – The organizers of a Jan. 15 rally here hadn’t initially intended to hold their annual event indoors for the first time, but with a polar grip outside that day, the estimated 750 attenders stayed warm while expressing deep concern over the millions of lives lost to abortion nationally.
“It’s great to be here on the East Coast,” quipped featured speaker Ryan Bomberger of Virginia, pausing for effect as he then added, “With your weather I was slightly confused.” He said he had flown out of Washington, D.C., where it was 70 degrees, only to land in 25-degree Portland.
The crowd braved stubbornly icy roads and sidewalks to get to the Oregon Convention Center for the Roe vs. Wade Memorial Rally sponsored by Oregon Right to Life, the Oregon Family Council, Christian News Northwest and other Christian pro-life groups. So slick was the ice that a post-rally “March for Life” had to be limited to the immediate outside perimeter of the convention center, where sidewalks had been cleared.
The rally remembered the estimated 58 million lives lost to abortion nationally since the January 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand. The event was moved indoors because the usual Portland venue, Pioneer Courthouse Square, was not available due to renovation work, and other possible outdoor venues were deemed unsuitable.
An Emmy Award-winning broadcast media designer, producer, columnist, activist and author, Bomberger co-directs the Radiance Foundation with his wife, Bethany. His strong pro-life views are tied to his own background; his biological mother was raped, yet chose to continue the pregnancy, giving him life. He was adopted as a baby and grew up in a loving, mutiracial Christian family of 15. He earned his master’s degree in communications from Regent University in Virginia, which named him 2012 Alumnus of the Year.
Bomberger displayed on screen photos of his big family when he was a child, followed by a more recent shot showing an extended family of 62 people, including his parents, his siblings and their spouses and children.
“This is what love looks like,” he said, explaining how his family reflects a firm belief that “every single life matters, in and out of the womb.”
Bomberger and his foundation were sued by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, for parodying that organization’s name in a way that called attention to the NAACP’s pro-abortion actions and close ties with the abortion provider Planned Parenthood. With the help of the Christian legal rights agency Alliance Defending Freedom, Bomberger won in court.
Bomberger told the Portland crowd that Planned Parenthood does not deserve support within the black community or any community. He said it is “not a savior of black people, white people or women … We already have a Savior, and He came to give life and not take it away.”
He commended the crowd for their consistent, undying efforts to change the culture’s attitude on abortion.
He likened them to beavers — Oregon’s official state animal — for their non-stop energy and work ethic.
“Pro-lifers are a lot like that. You will not give up! Amen?” he said to quick applause in answer.
Other speakers included Harmony Daws, Oregon Right to Life president; her sister Liberty Pike, Oregon Right to Life communications director; Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Portland; Margot Loza, representing Hispanic pro-lifers; Katie Lodjic, Northwest regional coordinator for Students for Life of America (SFLA); and several students representing SFLA chapters at various local schools.
Lodgic said SFLA now has 1,000 chapters nationwide because of many young adults’ great dismay over abortion.
“Abortion is the greatest human rights injustice today, and it is this generation that will abolish abortion,” she said. “This generation’s passion and action are turning the tide. We are shifting the debate, and we are winning.”
Daws said it is important for pro-lifers to be willing to work with all groups who are similarly troubled by the mounting death toll from abortion.
“I’m willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone who will work to end this tragedy, even if we don’t agree on other issues,” she said.