15th annual Rose Day continues Okla. momentum for the unborn

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)--Hundreds of pro-life supporters descended on the Oklahoma State Capitol Feb. 8 for the 15th annual Rose Day observance.

While there, they delivered roses to their elected officials to urge support for pending pro-life legislation and for continuing to fight for the rights of the unborn.

“Rose Day is a day for Southern Baptists, other evangelicals, Catholics and other people of faith to come together to celebrate life and to show our elected officials our desire -- our demand, really -- that the state does everything in its power to protect innocent life,” said Todd Pauley, public affairs consultant for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

“We gather on Rose Day to pray for the millions of innocent unborn children who have been, or will be, killed by the process called abortion,” Pauley said. “We pray for the mothers and the families who have experienced, or will experience, this terrible tragedy.

On Rose Day also is a time “to thank those legislators who fight for those who are helpless to protect themselves, the innocent unborn children,” Pauley continued. “We also are here to remind all legislators that abortion is not a harmless medical procedure, as some will claim. Abortion is the intentional destruction of a person whom God may have intended to cure cancer, to explore the great unknown or to live in service to Him, and by such service our communities were to have been made better and stronger.”

The Catholic archbishop of Oklahoma City, Eusebius J. Beltran, delivered the invocation and opening remarks at the 11:45 a.m. Rose Day program in the House of Representatives chamber. “[T]he first right of a human being is life,” he noted.

Beltran said he had been asked by several members of the media if all the time and effort of the Rose Day observance is worth it.

“I told them, yes, we are making a difference,” Beltran proclaimed, offering five statistics as proof.

“First, there are fewer abortions being performed than there were a decade ago,” Beltran said. “Second, the number of Americans who are pro-life is increasing. Third, the development of the ultrasound machine is demonstrating the humanity of the unborn, especially to those young mothers considering abortion. Fourth, in the last 30 years there have been more pro-life groups emerge to fight the battle for the unborn. And fifth, most state legislatures in the United States have enacted measures against abortion.”

Beltran concluded his remarks with a glance at those jammed into the chamber.

“One of the most important advances is the number of young people who value life in the womb,” he said to applause. “Most young people today are pro-life.”

Other speakers included Becky Abell of Miami, who gave her testimony as a woman who aborted her first child, and Alan Day, pastor of First Baptist Church in Edmond.

Abell, who is a volunteer with the Agape Pregnancy Center, shared her story “from the table” as she put it, describing the cold, unfeeling attitude displayed by the workers who helped abort her child.

“The one overriding sound I remember from that day was the sound of the suction machine,” Abell emphasized. “I have heard it every day since then, and I can still hear it now.”

Abell said her life was forever changed by the abortion, and she described living with a consuming guilt for many years.

“After I was later married and became pregnant again, I had a miscarriage in the fifth month of that pregnancy,” she said. “I just knew God was punishing me for having aborted my first child.”

Abell became pregnant again at age 35, and in the seventh month of that pregnancy she confessed the sin of her abortion to God. Her son was born two months later.

Still, she suffered from guilt, and she told of her fear of telling anyone else about her experience. That fear was compounded by the fact that she was a secretary for a Baptist association which included 52 churches.

“I was afraid of what those pastors would think of my secret,” she confessed.

Abell finally got some help from a former Navy chaplain and a group in a retreat setting, where she was encouraged to grieve for her aborted daughter and give her a name. They conducted a funeral for the child.

“I am here speaking for Jamie Lee, my aborted child,” Abell concluded. “I am a voice for the unborn.”

Day, a founding board member of the Crisis Pregnancy Centers (now Hope Pregnancy Centers) with the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, gave thanks for the parental notification bill passed by the Oklahoma legislature last year.

He said a friend recently told him the right-to-life issue is a lost cause.

“But, I believe the battle for life is winnable,” Day declared. “It is winnable because we have history on our side.”

He pointed out that the United States was historically pro-life until the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion.

Day reminded the audience that equal rights were not afforded to women and blacks in the United States for many years, yet the times have changed.

“I think our children and their children will look back on these days of legalized abortion like we look back on the days of discrimination against blacks and women and wonder, How could that have been possible?” he said.

Even science is on the side of pro-life Americans, Day said, noting that medical advances have helped “humanize” the unborn in the minds of those who previously thought otherwise.

He added that “we have a majority of Americans on our side now,” referring to several polls which show most people in the United States value the life of the unborn.

“We appeal today to our lawmakers to give us good laws, to give us just laws to protect ... young innocent [children] who become the victims of abortion in a permissiveness society.

“And we appeal to the elected officials to give us judges who will interpret the law and not make the law.”

Many elected officials attended the program, including state representatives and senators, Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin and Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode.


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