Print Edition: March 8, 2015
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Much of the media’s attention at the Democratic National Convention in Denver focused on Barack Obama, but outside the convention, thousands of people protested the Democratic Party’s continuing embrace of legalized abortion.
BY Wayne LaugesenREGISTER CORRESPONDENT
DENVER — You’ve heard the news from
the convention floor. Chances are, you didn’t hear the news from outside the
walls where the Democratic National Convention took place Aug. 25-28.
Radical leftist organizations,
including one called Recreate 68, promised violence and mayhem. They planned to
steal the show.
Instead, thousands of peaceful
pro-life demonstrators managed to grab center stage outside the convention’s
massive security perimeter and throughout metropolitan Denver. During four days
of the convention, and for days leading up to it, mostly Catholic pro-life
protesters from around the country chanted through megaphones, held signs and
organized peaceful rallies.
“I’m heartsick that Barack Obama may
become our next president,” said Heather Mechanic, a Catholic who flew from San
Diego, Calif., to attend the event and spend subsequent days picketing the
abortuary. “When we have politicians who defend the murder of our children, it
destroys hope. I’m here because of my commitment to Jesus Christ, who stood for
On Tuesday morning, millions of
people visiting and living along Colorado’s Front Range awoke to a giant
pro-life message on North Table Mountain, west of Denver in Golden, Colo., that
said: “Destroys uNborn Children” (see photo, page 2). The words were stacked in
order to emphasize the yellow letters “DNC,” which stand for both Democratic
National Committee and Democratic National Convention.
Though no pro-life protesters made
the news for violence, 13 pro-life protestors were arrested for sitting down to
block the entrance of the Denver Convention Center, not far from the perimeter
surrounding the Pepsi Center. They included the Catholic leader of Operation
Rescue and two priests.
Throngs of cops in heavy riot gear
were visible at all times and places throughout Denver during the convention,
often with rifles drawn. They stared down all organized anti-war protests, but
generally had a hands-off approach to pro-life demonstrations.
A YouTube video, however, shows
police using what may be excessive force in the arrest of two pro-life
teenagers, ages 15 and 17, who were chalking the sidewalk outside the Westin
Hotel where Barack Obama was staying. Jayne White, 17, and Julia Giacopussi,
15, both of Lake Arrowhead, Calif., had permission from Denver City Attorney
David Fine to chalk sidewalks. On Wednesday of the convention, they were hauled
away by police, along with the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian
Defense Coalition based in Washington, D.C.
“I was peacefully sidewalk chalking
when I was forcefully pushed to the ground by a police officer from behind,”
White told Christian Newswire. “As I was being cuffed on the ground, the police
officer pushed his knee into the back of my neck. I was pulled roughly off the
ground and taken away.”
All three were released that day.
Standing for Life
One could not walk through any part
of central Denver without frequently encountering pro-life demonstrators, such
as Knights of Columbus member Rick Dugan. He and a group of fellow Knights
ventured to Denver from the Midwest to drag one of several giant wooden crosses
around the city; each cross weighed more than 100 pounds.
Dugan explained that Jesus made the ultimate
sacrifice to pay for sin. Nothing, he said, could be more sinful than the
pro-abortion platform of Obama and the Democratic National Convention.
One event alone — organized by the
Archdiocese of Denver’s Respect Life and Black Catholic Ministry offices, in
conjunction with the Denver Ministerial Alliance, an organization of black
ministers — drew an estimated 5,000 pro-life demonstrators to Denver’s Martin
Luther King Jr. Park on Monday evening. The park, in a mostly black
neighborhood, is a half block from the largest abortion business in the United
States: Denver’s new 52,000-square-foot Planned Parenthood of the Rocky
Mountains, which opened July 1.
Mike Winter attended the Monday
rally, and as a member of Denver’s Risen Christ parish, he has been picketing
Denver abortion clinics every week for years. Winter hands fliers to customers
of abortion businesses, who are mostly young girls. The fliers tell them about
maternal support organizations, such as Denver’s Maternity of Mary Maternity
“This saves about 100 babies a
year,” Winter said. “This facility [in its old building] has been conducting
about 5,000 abortions per year. But if we can save only one, it’s worth doing
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s niece,
Alveda King, was among the speakers at Monday night’s rally, and she wasn’t
surprised by the overwhelming bustle of pro-life activity in Denver for the
convention. She told the crowd that abortion is emerging as the new civil
rights movement, as evidenced by the showing in Denver.
Indeed, as pro-life protesters had a
cohesive message and a professional presentation, anti-war and radical
environmental activists couldn’t seem to coordinate chants or comprehensible
slogans on signs. Large crowds mostly just stared quietly at small armies of riot
police watching their every move.
Winter explained that more people
are beginning to link Planned Parenthood with its founder, eugenicist Margaret
Sanger, who founded the Negro Project to reduce black reproduction in the
“They build in black neighborhoods
like this to target the babies of minorities,” Winter said. “This is becoming
increasingly clear, and it is rather obvious that the momentum is building.”
The massive new abortion business is
adjacent to the Renaissance Hotel near the old Stapleton International Airport,
which housed hundreds of Barack Obama delegates. As delegates came and went
from the hotel all week, pro-life demonstrators politely explained their belief
that Planned Parenthood facilitates genocide of unborn minorities.
Planned Parenthood of the Rockies
did not return multiple phone calls, nor did the national headquarters of
Planned Parenthood. A Register correspondent asked an armed guard outside
Denver’s new vaulted Planned Parenthood facility to ask spokeswoman Leslie
Durgin, or another official inside, for a response to the demonstrations. The
guard returned and said the organization’s official statement is “No comment.”
Durgin is a former mayor of Boulder,
Alan Keyes Takes Action
In addition to King, other speakers
at the Monday rally included Alan Keyes, a black Catholic who was trounced by
Obama in his 2004 Illinois race for the Senate. Keyes is running today as the
official candidate of the Independent Party.
While protesting at Martin Luther
King Jr. Park Monday, Keyes noticed Planned Parenthood guards taking large
pro-life signs that had been leaned against the outside of the facility’s giant
steel security fence.
“He saw them taking the signs inside
the building, and he ran onto the property and began pulling the signs away
from the guards,” said Donna Ballentine, office manager for Colorado Right to
Life. “They were stealing our signs, and he used what looked like Herculean
strength to rip them out of their hands. It was absolutely amazing.”
Keyes reportedly argued with guards
and Planned Parenthood officials to give back the other signs, which had
already been taken into the facility. He prevailed: The signs were returned.
“He said they couldn’t take the
signs just because they were leaned against a fence,” Ballentine said. “He just
knew what to say. He said it was like taking some child’s bicycle, just because
he leaned it against a fence along a sidewalk.”
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput
also addressed the crowd, as well as the Rev. Willard Johnson, pastor of
Macedonia Baptist, a black church near the new abortion business.
“The message of the event was to
bring awareness about the agenda of Planned Parenthood, which is building
abortuaries in minority neighborhoods,” said Mimi Eckstein, director of the
Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Denver.
“Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist,”
Eckstein said. “Her agenda is being carried out today with these clinics in
minority neighborhoods. People are seeing this, finally.”
At the end of the convention,
pro-lifers had made their message clear.
Enyart noted, “Even the Denver Post
has said that the most organized and significant protest message at the
convention has been the pro-life message.”
Wayne Laugesen filed this
report from the Democratic National Convention.
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