PROVIDENCE - Frigid temperatures prevailed during the annual R.I. State Right to Life Pro-Life Rally at the State House on Jan. 25, but the encouraging messages that the crowd received warmed their hearts.
Dr. Alveda King, the rally's main speaker, whetted the enthusiasm of the audience with her own excitement. She told of the absurdity of bigotry, portrayed best by television character "Archie Bunker," when in an episode, he wanted a "reverse transfusion" after receiving the blood of his black neighbor, "George Jefferson." She assured the crowd that people of all races are loved equally by God. "We are all members of the human race," she said, and aliens "are found in movies like Star Trek."
King's simple message was of peace, love and protection of the baby in the womb. "We should all love each other; God made all people."
"Pray for peace," she urged those present. And, when praying, remember that "the greatest war in America is being waged in the womb where 40 million-plus have died."
The niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights activist and author, said killing babies violates "their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and has "unleashed a spirit of murder."
King said that she recommitted her life to Jesus Christ and became pro-life after she had two abortions and one miscarriage. The first abortion, she said, was performed by a doctor without her knowledge. The second occurred after the father of the baby refused to support her and bullied her into having an abortion. Today, she has six children and is a grandmother. As a mother and true witness of the harm that abortion can do, she said, it cannot be justified, especially to one's living children.
Those who claim that they have a right to choose "because it is their body," King said, "do not have a right to kill anybody - no body!"
The pro-choice movement is based on secrets and lies, said the former college professor with a Master of Arts in Business Management from Central Michigan University and a Doctorate of Laws conferred by St. Anselm College, Manchester, N.H. The truth about possible links to different cancers and other health risks is kept from women considering an abortion. "What about the breast cancer link?" she asked.
In conclusion, she urged those present to continue their efforts in support of the unborn. "We will overcome!" she cried.
Steve Boyce, pastor of New Life Church, Smithfield, also spoke at the rally. He urged legislators, scientists, professors, doctors and others to "search their hearts and minds" and weigh the moral influences. "They should ask themselves 'Is this the best that I can do?'"
"Teaching your daughters that the answer to an unwanted pregnancy is death" is not acceptable, he added. "Telling your sons not to marry the girl, kill the child," is wrong. When a woman has an abortion, "something dies in the woman as well."
Father Marcel L. Taillon, director of vocations for the Diocese of Providence, told the crowd to remain optimistic. "Switches do occur," he said. Just as one would not have expected that former Red Sox centerfielder Johnny Damon would cut his hair and be playing for the New York Yankees or that former New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri would be going to the Super Bowl with the AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts, so too can other changes occur and Roe v. Wade will be overturned, he said.
"Thank you to all of the pro-life legislators of all (religious) denominations or of no (religious) denomination," the Catholic priest said. "Let the others be open to switching sides."
When Father Taillon said that "the pro-life movement is young," with the average age of the participants at the recent Pro-life March in Washington being about 20, a round of applause and cheers came from the large contingent of students from Bishop Hendricken High School, Warwick. Father Taillon is the chaplain there.
Father Bernard A. Healey, pastor of St. Ambrose Church, Lincoln, and director of the Office of Government Liaison for the Diocese of Providence, gave kudos to Rhode Island legislators who have proven to be friends of the pro-life movement.
He praised the stand being taken by the six legislators present at the pro-life rally: Reps. Jon Brien, D-Woonsocket; Arthur J. Corvese, D-North Providence; Joanne M. Giannini, D-Providence; and Sens. Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence; Harold M. Metts, D-Providence; and William A. Walaska, D-Warwick. He thanked a former senator from Providence, Democrat Catherine E. Graziano, who was present at the rally, for her years of sponsorship of the Women's Right to Know Act. He also thanked this year's sponsors of the bill, Rep. Peter G. Palumbo, D-Cranston, and Sen. Stephen D. Alves, D-West Warwick.
The bill has not been submitted yet this year, but, as in the past, it is expected to include a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion is performed; detailed information to be provided by the attending or referring physician, including possible physical and psychological effects of abortion; medical risks associated with the abortion; probable gestational age of the unborn child; and medical risks associated with carrying the child to term. In addition, with passage of the bill, women will be told about the availability of medical assistance benefits, liability of the father for child support, availability of pregnancy services and a right to review information prepared by the state that describes fetal development.
(This article originally appeared in The Providence Visitor)