By Irvina Parker
UPDATE: The IPHC March for Life rally will now be held at Kingsway Christian Center, 7403 Gum Spring Rd, Rosedale, MD 21237, at 7:30p.m., Thursday, January 18, 2018.
In just a few short weeks, thousands of people will converge upon the nation’s capital for an event with a powerful message: Love Saves Lives. The event will mark the 45th March for Life. Thousands of pro-lifers travel to Washington, D.C. to join together to support life! It is intentionally observed in January, despite weather conditions, because it reflects on the devastating Roe v Wade landmark decision on January 22, 1973. That Supreme Court decision invalidated the state laws of all 50 states and made abortion legal and available on demand. The first March took place on that first anniversary of the decision that has resulted in nearly 60 million abortions. Each year, the march has grown by the thousands and has reproduced itself in cities literally around the globe.
I participated in my first March for Life in 2015 when I joined a delegation from the IPHC and was literally blown away by the crowds, the emotions, and by the sheer volume of youth involved in the march. I vowed that it would not be my last. Mother Nature had another plan for 2016 when I traveled to Virginia and could not travel any further because of the blizzard. Last year I attended Accelerant since they were both held the same weekend. My plan is to participate in this 45th annual march, scheduled for January 19, 2018. My flight is booked and I’m making all the necessary arrangements.
When I was first asked about writing an article for the upcoming Sanctity of Human Life observance (which also ties into the landmark Roe v Wade decision), I started thinking about the direction I would take. I spent time thinking about my own emotions of having lost a child through miscarriage. In fact, it was termed a “missed abortion” because the dead fetus was never “aborted” by my body through miscarriage. The ensuing infection was so severe that my doctors told me that the scar tissue left behind would most likely keep me from getting pregnant or being able to carry a child full-term. I hate having that word “abortion” associated with the loss of our child. Even though I knew I had done nothing to cause it, it created emotions that were tough to navigate. God, in His providence, gave David and me two children. Both arrived quite early by emergency c-section and with their own miracles to tell. So here, 37 years after our own loss, I will march again to remember our child because it intensifies my grief for the loss of any child.
I also began thinking about two of my dear friends who have their own stories to tell. When I saw that the theme for the 2018 March was “Love Saves Lives,” I knew that I had to include their stories in this article. They are a true depiction of that theme. Let me tell you about Susie West, first. I have known her for more than 40 years. Our children grew up together. We’ve gone on vacations together, but it wasn’t until recently, that I heard her story. The year was 1950 and her mother, Suda Faulkner, found out that she was expecting…again! Seriously? After an unstable beginning, her marriage was great now. Three of her children were nearly adults, a fourth was soon to be a teenager, and the youngest had just started school.
After the shock of being pregnant at the age of 40 wore off, it was followed by yet another shock. In light of Suda’s allegedly “advanced” age and the recent diagnosis of a series of large and painful uterine fibroid tumors, her doctors recommended a simple solution. Under California law in 1950, an abortion could be performed if the life of the mother was threatened. According to Suda’s doctors, her uterine tumors would not allow her to carry a baby to term and her own life would be endangered. Suda took great offense to the mere suggestion that killing her unborn child was a solution. Love won as the couple chose life.
Fast forward seven years later to the town of Lawton, Oklahoma, where Orville and Myrna Drake were expecting their first child. Their excitement, however, was tested when Myrna’s pregnancy became challenging with severe nausea and weight loss. The doctors told her that her small frame (barely 5 feet tall) and a weight of only 96 pounds did not make her a great candidate for an easy pregnancy. He said the pregnancy was taking its toll on her body and that she was not strong enough to sustain a full nine-month pregnancy. “I know someone who can take care of this problem,” he said.
Myrna’s reaction was very similar to Suda’s reaction years earlier. She was livid! She too was prepared to give her own life to save her child. Her answer was given in a voice full of passion and godly fear. “God gave us this child. We believe children are God’s gift to a married couple. So even though I may be sick for the next few months we will not kill or let someone else kill our child. No. No. No. We believe God will strengthen me and strengthen our child. I will live. The child will live. We will pray for a miracle and God will provide one for us.” My long-time friend and IPHC Bishop Randall O. Drake was the result of that decision.
Both of my friends gave me permission to share their stories of how love saved their lives! Bishop Drake tells his story in his book, Just Sayin’.
When I participated in the 2015 March, I arrived the evening before and joined an elite group of bikers who would be leading the way on their motorcycles in the march the next day. They represent a group of “macho” men whose hearts have been softened by the babies at our IPHC Royal Home. They have ridden cross country to collect diapers and supplies for the mothers who have chosen life for their babies! They will continue to represent M25 and the IPHC as we meet in Washington, D.C. for the March for Life. They know indeed that “Love Saves Lives!”
Gary Burd, M25 Director, explains his increasing involvement as only he can do! “The saddest thing in the world is to be insulted and not have enough awareness that you realize it is an insult. Every time an abortion is performed, we are insulting God, spitting in His face, telling Him He made a mistake. See, the Bible says He knew us before the foundations of the world, He was involved in our creation, while in the womb!” That is why Gary will be leading the way in a “Ride for Life” from Falcon, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C on January 18.
M25 invites you to be a “50 for Life” sponsor which means that your name (business, individual, or church) will be printed on the banner that is carried at the March. That $50 sponsorship can be mailed to the Royal Home (7569 N West St, Falcon, NC 28342), given by texting “Baby” to 71777, or given by credit card (910-980-1065).
IPHC Girls’ Ministries sponsors Baby Hope Club and is our way of supporting the Royal Home and its ministry to the girls who choose life over abortion. We encourage our groups to collect change (and bills) in a baby bottle year-round. Funds are collected quarterly and sent to Royal Home.
So, whether you’re a biker like Gary or a walker like most of the rest of us, consider joining us in Washington, D.C. in January. The “Ride for Life” group will arrive for a rally at Kingsway Christian Center, 7403 Gum Spring Rd, Rosedale, MD 21237, on Thursday evening January 18, at 7:30 pm. Then we will meet by the Washington Monument on Friday morning at 10 am for a rally with Bishop A. D. Beacham, Jr. Watch the IPHC Facebook page for updates as we get closer to march time.
MarchforLife.org has a planning packet, maps, and suggestions for participating at the March and beyond. If you can’t make it to the nation’s capital, search for marches near you. Encourage your pastor to observe Sanctity of Human Life at your local church this year on Sunday, January 21, 2018. Find a way to get involved. We have a lot of love to give and clearly, “Love Saves Lives!”