Speakers impress pre-March audience
About 2,000 people filled the University of Saint Francis’ Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center auditorium on Saturday for a rally preceding the 45th annual March for Life through downtown Fort Wayne.
But it was one man who made a particular impression, several of those in attendance said.
The rally’s last speaker was David Bangs, a representative of Silent No More, a group that urges those affected by abortion : both women and men : to speak out.
The Kokomo resident told the crowd he regretted that a college girlfriend had a second-trimester abortion years ago. For a long time, he said, he tried to push the experience aside.
He married and had three other children. But unresolved anger, grief, guilt and emotional trauma contributed to his losing a “dream job,” his home and his marriage.
“Rarely do we think how the men are affected,” he said. “Men are the forgotten victims of abortion.”
Those who attended the rally also heard from keynote speaker David Bereit, founder of 40 Days for Life, an annual event stressing prayer and fasting to end abortion. Fort Wayne residents have participated for about a decade, said Cathie Humbarger, executive director of Allen County Right to Life.
U.S. Rep Jim Banks, R-3rd District, also spoke. About two dozen office holders and candidates who oppose abortion were asked to stand to be recognized.
Bereit outlined ways for people to get involved, from marching to prayer to supporting existing organizations or starting a new one.
“Find your place. Find your role. If you don’t know your role, ask God to show you,” Bereit said.
Humbarger said Bangs’ message was especially relevant because a ban for the abortion procedure he described is proposed in a bill introduced during this session of the state legislature.
House Bill 1211 would ban a second-trimester procedure called dilation and evacuation, also called D&E. Bangs described it as dismembering a fetus and crushing its skull before removing it.
“Abortion is not only a choice or an issue. It is a gruesome process of destroying the body and ending the life of a human being,” he said.
“Men need to say (to women facing an unwanted pregnancy), ‘I will protect you and your child,’” he said.
“You can’t imagine how much impact it would make on this culture.”
The Rev. Michael Freese of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne and his wife, Janet, said Bangs impressed them with his presentation.
“That a man stepped forward and admitted the effects of abortion from his point of view was important,” Freese, 43, said.
Added Gloria Carrrel of Fort Wayne: “I was impressed by what he said. We haven’t contemplated the effects of lost fatherhood at all.”