By Kate Ewald
Oregon Right to Life Education Foundation Director
Editor’s note. This appears Oregon RTL’s “Life in Oregon” June-August newsletter
One again, summer is here, which means that Right to Life chapters around Oregon and the nation are gearing up to provide pro-life booths at county and state fairs in their communities. I’m convinced that fair booths have been effective in educating Americans about abortion and other life issues. The fact that there have been pro-life booths at county fairs across the nation for decades, beginning near the time that Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, shows that consistently offering educational material at public venues has helped people to understand that abortion is the unjust taking of an innocent human being’s life.
A couple of years ago, several family members came up to our booth volunteers to express their gratitude for our pro-life display at the state fair in Salem. Apparently, these people were all related to a young woman who had just learned that she was pregnant – and she was devastated by the news. In fact, she was so depressed that she didn’t want to leave her house. She felt like her life was ruined and made the comment that she didn’t want to live. She was planning to have an abortion.
The pregnant woman’s mother (the grandmother of the unborn baby) who was obviously alarmed, cajoled her daughter out of the house and somehow brought her over to our booth at the state fair. She had her daughter sit down and watch the embryoscopy video that we usually have playing at the back of the booth. Then, they spent some time looking at the fetal models and talking with our volunteers, who gave the young woman informational literature to take home. By the time the young expectant mom left the booth, she was excited about having the baby.
While we can’t know how often our fair booths are instrumental in preventing abortions, this does happen fairly regularly. I think it’s safe to say that we can always expect that a pro-life booth or display will bring about a change in people’s attitude toward abortion and other human life issues. In fact, the editor of Life in Oregon became a pro-life activist as a result of visiting a Right to Life fair booth. Fair booths displays, along with other types of educational outreaches, have been influential in slowing decreasing the number of abortions performed since the 1990s. (See www.org/issues/factsheets.)
We are very excited about the number of fair booths that we have scheduled for the summer months.