A small demonstration was going on when my ten-year-old grandson and I were walking together on a Congress Street sidewalk last summer. I’d forgotten that the Planned Parenthood clinic had moved there from Forest Avenue a while ago. It was a Friday morning and that’s when they do abortions. One group of about eight people was holding pro-life signs and smaller group of older women had signs saying: “I stand with Planned Parenthood” and "PLANNED PARENTHOOD PROVIDES VITAL HEALTH CARE." Two more people in pink vests stood one on each side of the entrance to 443 Congress Street. A Portland cop leaned against a mailbox watching everything.
The older women didn’t try to engage my grandson but some of the younger pro-life demonstrators talked to him. As we walked on past he asked me what abortion was. I thought for a minute and said, “When some women get pregnant, they’re very happy and look forward to when the baby is born. Other women aren’t happy to be pregnant, so they come here to have the baby removed before it can be born.”
“They do?” he said.
He looked troubled, but at that moment we came upon a pickup truck parked next to the curb with multiple splotches of paint all over it that looked like it had been applied by Jackson Pollack. It also had matchbox cars and skulls glued to the top edges of the truck bed and my grandson was fascinated. He walked all around it looking carefully at its many details. I told him I knew the truck’s owner, an artist named Zoo Cain. There were no more questions about abortion and we proceeded further up Congress Street toward the Maine Historical Society, our original destination.
The pro-life demonstrations were happening on the sidewalk at 443 Congress Street before our encounter that day and have continued afterward. Andrew March, pastor of a Lewiston, Maine church, has organized some of them and literally made a federal case out of them. Portland police confronted March telling him he may not raise his voice so it disturbs women coming there for abortions. Writers at the leftist magazine Slate call it, “religious invective.” Well, “invective is defined as “insulting, abusive, or highly critical language.” Was the Reverend March using insulting, abusive, or highly critical language? Or, was he simply telling the truth?
The rest is here.