The 2009 LLDF Dinner: Our 20th Anniversary Celebration

On November 7, 2009, LLDF took the occasion of its annual banquet to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of its founding. Over 160 pro-life attorneys, clients and guests enjoyed dinner and an evening of camaraderie and inspiration at the Marriott Hotel in San Ramon, California. In recognition of the two decade milestone, guests were treated to a video retrospective of the history of LLDF consisting of interviews with many of those who have played critical roles in the organization, development and operations of LLDF since 1989. It was in the summer of that year that a few young attorneys volunteered to provide pro bono legal representation to scores of pro-lifers arrested during an Operation Rescue blockade of a Sunnyvale, California abortion clinic. Those attorneys (and some of their clients) became the founders of LLDF.

Among the banquet guests were Baptist pastor Walter Hoye of Oakland and his wife Lori. Rev. Hoye has been the object of a targeted campaign by the City of Oakland—including the passage of an ordinance—to prevent him from sidewalk counseling outside Family Planning Specialists clinic. Rev. Hoye, now a client of LLDF, has remained undaunted in this ministry, even in the face of harassment, arrest, trial and imprisonment. Rev. Hoye’s crime: standing on a public sidewalk while holding a sign that reads, “Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help.”

To Rev. Hoye went the honor of introducing his friend and mentor Rev. Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr. Rev. Childress is the senior pastor of the New Calvary Baptist Church in Montclair, New Jersey, and founder of the website Rev. Hoye credited Rev. Childress “. . . with opening [his] eyes to the horror of the genocide that is happening in the African- American community.”

Abortion is indeed a matter of civil rights, said Rev. Childress, but not in the way the pro-aborts mean. Citing the staggering loss of human life in this country due to abortion, Rev. Childress remarked on its disproportionate impact on African- Americans. In fact, said Rev. Childress, in his last Sunday sermon before his death, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., expressed his deep concern about the pre-born death rate in the African-American community. So in spite of the pro-aborts’ attempts to co-opt the spirit and momentum of the African-American civil rights movement, it is the pro-life movement that is the continuation and fulfillment of the civil rights movement.

Referring to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, Rev. Childress observed that the case was never about the Constitution or its proper application or intent, but about ideology. That was certainly the understanding of current U.S.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—at least at one time. She is quoted in a mid-2009 interview as saying, “Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

Similarly, said Rev. Childress, the healthcare bill currently before the U.S. Congress is not about health or even about saving money. Again, it is about ideology—an ideology that holds that human life is not sacred and has no intrinsic value. Not only would the proposed legislation provide public funding of abortions, but it would also withhold or limit medical treatment to veterans, the elderly and the terminally ill or disabled, in effect dismissing such people as, in the words of Adolf Hitler, “useless eaters.”

Why, asked Rev. Childress, would abortion even be in the healthcare bill other than for ideological reasons? It is, after all, an elective surgery and has nothing to do with health. In fact, it is no coincidence that African-American women, who percentage-wise lead the nation in abortions, also lead the nation in miscarriages. A pregnancy in a woman who has already had an abortion is considered a high risk pregnancy, resulting in more costly prenatal care. How does funding and encouraging abortion reduce healthcare costs? It doesn’t. Again, said Rev. Childress, it’s not about health or even economics. It’s about ideology.

As a matter of fact, observed Rev. Childress, if abortion were really a question of “choice,” women would be given adequate information to make an informed choice, including information about the proven link between abortion and breast cancer. Surprisingly, Rev. Childress views the election of Barack Obama, “the biggest pro-abort in our history,” as “the best thing to happen to end black genocide.”

With the election of Barack Obama, said Rev. Childress, “we now have a face to put on the abortion plague and a link to the leading abortion provider in the country, Planned Parenthood.” It is an opportunity to educate people about the racist legacy and history of Planned Parenthood, and the bond that Barack Obama has with that organization.

The twentieth anniversary banquet was an opportunity for LLDF and its supporters to pause and reflect on two decades of fighting against the culture of death. It was also an occasion for them to pray to God that He hasten the day when LLDF and organizations like it will no longer be necessary, and to ask for His help in continuing the fight until that day comes.