COLUMBIA — For 30 consecutive years, ever since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion across the nation, South Carolinians have protested the ruling with song and prayer. This year’s Stand Up for Life rally will be in front of the Statehouse on Jan. 10 and will feature powerhouse testimony by a nationally famous speaker.
Demonstrators will gather at the Greene Street side of the Russell House on the campus of the University of South Carolina at 11 a.m on that Saturday morning. According to Father James LeBlanc, director of Family Life for the Diocese of Charleston, they will then follow the lead of fourth degree Knights of Columbus on a march to the capitol.
The rally itself will begin at noon on the massive front steps of the Statehouse. Past rallies have drawn from 1,500 to 4,000 participants.
The speaker for the 30th annual Stand Up for Life rally will be Vera Faith Lord. Lord is the only child of an only child, and she aborted her only child.
Her parents are deceased, and she is not married, so she is “nobody’s anything.” Vera Lord says that she has no legal or biological relatives.
Organizers of the pro-life rally call her story a powerful one “of post-abortion pain and desperation and ultimately her healing through Christ’s love.”
“I saw Vera at the National Right to Life convention,” said L. Holly Gatling, executive director of South Carolina Citizens For Life and secretary of NRL. “People were coming out of her workshop weeping. I said to myself, ‘This must be some powerful message’ – and it is.”
Gatling said that Bishop Robert J. Baker asked if her organization could focus the rally this year on post-abortion syndrome. She said that the speaker’s message and that focus are a perfect match.
Lord, who is the outreach director for Maryland Right to Life, said that advocates of abortion misrepresent the procedure, and that when she had an abortion she was ignorant of the traumatic consequences.
“Our society tells women, ‘It’s your body and your right to choose,’ … but no one tells you what happens after you make that choice. I have pledged the rest of my time here on Earth to ripping the mask off of abortion and revealing its true face to the world,” she said.
Lord is an American Orthodox Christian now, but when she had her abortion she was not practicing any religion.
She said that her conversion and the healing from her abortion coincided: “I came out of denial during confession before my christening. Being forgiven by God is one of the first steps in the healing process.”
Vera Faith Lord’s message has been endorsed by Father Frank Pavone, founder of Priests For Life; Wanda Franz, president of National Right to Life; and dozens of other spiritual and pro-life leaders. Lord was at a Jesuit retreat house on the weekend of the big snow in New York (Dec. 5-7) giving what she called an intense retreat at the invitation of Father Pavone, whom she has known for five years. She gives talks and retreats across the country. Franz called her presentation heartfelt and emotional.
Appearing with Lord at the Stand Up for Life Rally will be a traditional bluegrass group, the Frontrunners of Lexington Baptist Church.