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CURRENT ISSUE:  February 6, 2012
VOL. 50, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
 
Bishop’s Appeal benefits
all parishioners in diocese

 
Catholics urged to be more assertive in advocating values
 
Social Justice Forum on Feb. 11
Oakland rallies for life
 

The Rev. Walter Hoye, left, and Lori Hoye of the Issues4Life Foundation and Ana Benderas of Live Action were among the speakers at the Conversations4Life gathering on Jan. 20.
JOSé LUIS AGUIRRE PHOTO

The first rain in 34 days did not dampen the enthusiasm of the more than 150 people who gathered in Oakland on Jan. 20 to call for the end of abortion, and to call particular attention to its impact on the minority community.

The Issues4Life Foundation’s fifth annual rally in Oakland featured talks by the Rev. Clenard H. Childress, founder of Black Genocide.org; Dr. Vansen Wong, a Sacramento-area obstetrician-gynecologist who has stopped performing abortions; and Lori Hoye, wife of the Rev. Walter Hoye.

“Today my wife is going to tell her story for the first time, so I’m going to be standing next to her as her husband, not as her black, pro-life activist in the movement,” the Rev. Hoye said in introducing her.

SF walk brings out
thousands of activists


Catholic San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — About 50,000 pro-life activists massed in front of San Francisco’s City Hall and then filled the city’s main thoroughfare Jan. 21, walking about two miles down Market Street to the Embarcadero.

Banging drums, praying and chanting “We are pro-life,” the enthusiastic throngs stopped traffic for more than a mile in a peaceful walk that took about an hour. Abortion rights protesters briefly stopped the walk by pulling orange netting hung with coat hangers in front of the walk, led by a banner that said “Abortion hurts women.” Police who rode bicycles and motorcycles in advance of the walk pulled the abortion rights protesters out of the street.

“We are here to say life is the choice, and women are hurt by abortion,” said Dolores Meehan, who co-chairs the Walk for Life West Coast, which is held on the Saturday closest to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.
 
 
And next to her he stood as she told her life’s story: Born to “her family’s greatest hope” — a young woman who had been raped at 16 — she grew up with a stepfather who abused her and sexually molested her when she was 10. “But it did not define me,” she said.

A love of mathematics propelled her to a future that included a scholarship to San Jose State University.

But one day, her world changed. As she was at her front door, trying to leave her house, her mother and sister were coming in the door: “My sister is standing in front of me. She has a hospital brand on her wrist and her complexion was gray she looked like the life has literary been sucked out of her. As I reached forward to help her, my mother stepped in between us. She said, ‘I did not want her life ruined like mine was.’

Later, Mrs. Hoye said, she cried. “It was unfathomable for me to realize that my mother had taken the life of her grandchild, my nephew, because of me. I told myself I was responsible for the death of my sister’s child.”

Her life changed again, she said, when “a co-worker, now my husband,” led her “to the saving arms of Jesus Christ.”

“God is the author of life,” she concluded. “We need to recognize that we are not in control. If God blesses you with a life, you need to accept that life, you need to nurture that life, so that life can grow up to be the life God intends it to be.”

Childress, the New Jersey pastor whose phrase, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb,” has drawn national attention, spoke of the effect abortion has on women. He cited a study in which 55 percent of the respondents said they could not forgive themselves after an abortion.

“God in his mercy comes down and takes a bad situation, a crooked situation, he turns it around,” the Rev. Childress said. “Women are being hurt. Women are being oppressed.”

As he began his talk, Wong unfurled a banner reading, “I’ve done hundreds of abortions and regret the destruction of every precious life.”

Acknowledging, “I’ve got some explaining to do,” Wong told the rally how he justified his participation in abortion. “I was on a crusade. I felt women who had the right to decide what to do with their bodies. I felt it was intolerant of others to try to tell other women whether or not they should have a child. I felt I could be a different sort of doctor. The older doctors who worked where I did were jaded.”

Additionally, “I haven’t made the decision to do this. This young woman has made the decision. It is up to me to perform the procedure in a — get this — compassionate way, with understanding and professional skill.”

After seeing his obstetrics and gynecology patients in his practice, he would travel to an abortion clinic a couple of nights a week to supplement his income.

It took the death of patient after childbirth to lead him in a different direction. “As the legal proceeding worked itself out, I made a deal with God. I promised God if he if he got me my license back, then I would be his forever.”

After his exoneration, he was in church, listening to his pastor preach on the partial-birth abortion controversy. “God spoke to me, and I got it: I shouldn’t do abortions any longer.”

He has since become involved with a crisis pregnancy center, and has used his medical license to help it be able to offer ultrasound services.

After the rally and walk, the group convened at the parish hall of the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

Following dinner, many continued up to the Cathedral for the annual Prayer4Life service commemorating the lives lost to abortion. The Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, Bishop of Oakland, presided.

Among the speakers was the Most Rev. Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento. After reading the story of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, Bishop Soto said, “This is a familiar story. The story of the Visitation turns inside out the common perception that pregnancy is a private matter.”

A gospel choir composed of members of the St. Columba and St. Benedict choirs provided spirit-filled music during the prayerful event, which included the opportunity for people to bring to the altar roses representing babies lost to abortion.

As a steady stream of people, young and old, brought the flowers to the altar, they left cards with the names of children, which were read aloud. Sometimes there was a name, and sometimes the card read “my lost brothers and sisters” or “my sister’s baby.”

By the end of the evening, more than four dozen roses — red, yellow, pink and white — lay at the altar.

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