North Texas Daily

Denton church puts on anti-abortion demonstration

Denton church puts on anti-abortion demonstration

Denton church puts on anti-abortion demonstration
October 08
00:10 2018

About 30 members of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Denton gathered from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of University Drive and Carroll Boulevard for an anti-abortion demonstration.

Every year on the first Sunday in October, the organization Life Chain calls upon churches in the United States and Canada to gather in, what the mission statement calls, “a peaceful and prayerful public witness of anti-abortion individuals standing for 90 minutes praying for our nation and for an end to abortion.” The movement was founded 31 years ago and the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church has been participating for the past 10 years.

The organization provides signs for participants and on the back of each are prayers and meditations, as well as the Life Chain Code of Conduct, which states, “Life Chain is not a rally or a celebration. We stand against a holocaust.” In this case, Life Chain is referring to abortion as a holocaust, not the Holocaust.

Denton resident and participant Sandra Guajardo has been coming to events such as this for the past 30 years.

“You’re not victims of a holocaust because you’re here,” Guajardo said. “Your mom said yes, she didn’t say no.”

Facing the road, demonstrators held signs with phrases including “Abortion Kills Children” and “Choose Life,” while talking with each other and waving at passing cars. The response was mixed with some passerby’s waving or honking in support, while others screamed obscenities out of their car windows.

“You get some thumbs up, some waves, some people are not as friendly,” said Mike Pagel, Denton resident and participant.

Protestors make a quiet stance against abortion through prayers and sign holding. Will Baldwin

Guajardo said when she first became involved, her children were young and they would hold signs with her. Many of the demonstrators were also families with children.  

Diana Jelen, who has been a parishioner at the church since 1991, is the Respect Life coordinator for the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. She said the demonstration is a “prayerful service witnessing to the truth: that abortion is wrong.”

Jelen said she has been the Respect Life coordinator for the past five years, however, she has been involved in anti-abortion advocacy for the past 10.

For some, the advocacy comes from personal experience. Cheryl Spooner, who assists Jelen in networking with other churches, said that after undergoing four abortions, she now finds it difficult to connect with her children.

“It destroys a woman,” Spooner said. “It makes you dead inside. The constitution says your right to life is your first right…that means you have the right to life by the time you’re conceived. You’re an American citizen, we’re standing for America.”

As the participants began to dissipate, two opposing demonstrators arrived at the site. Emma Fernandez and her roommate, Rex Davis, brought a sign with the words “Abortion is a right” after spotting the anti-abortion advocates while out getting something to eat.

“Abortion saves lives,” Fernandez said. “It saves people from extreme poverty, it saves people from living a life of destitution because their mother couldn’t afford to raise them. I, myself, have had an abortion. It was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.”

A police officer arrived on scene as the event ended. He said someone had called the Denton police complaining that participants were blocking the turn-in lanes along the edge of the road. However, after a brief conversation with the Jelen and Spooner, the officer saw no reason to intervene.

The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church is involved with other anti-abortion advocacy demonstrations. On Oct. 13, the church will be part of a memorial mass for children who died before baptism.

“A lot of people think that the reason they are for abortion rights is because they don’t think they have a choice.” Jelen said. “Life is a choice.”

Featured Image: Patrick Comiskey stands and prays at the 31st annual Life Chain protest. Will Baldwin

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Madison Wilie

Madison Wilie

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