EL CENTRO — As the evening grew darker Saturday afternoon, faint tiny lights flickered in the 3,000 luminaries distributed over the eastern slope of Bucklin Park during Speak Up Imperial Valley, a pro-life event hosted by the Real Hope Center.
“These luminaries represent the number of babies who die to abortion every day in the United States,” said Debra Ellett, coordinator of Speak Up Imperial Valley. She said she wanted people to understand that lives have been ended and mothers’ lives have been damaged by abortion.
“It is an opportunity to educate people about the effects abortion has on women’s lives,” Ellett said.
According to Ellett, four women told their own personal stories of having abortions, including the consequences, suffering and problems they’ve experienced in their lives because of that choice. Those guests speakers were Cathy Coronado, Janet Cowne, Lucy Trujillo, and Roxy Guizar.
Coronado was the first to speak before the audience.
“When a woman has a miscarriage, everyone grieves for her," Coronado said. "But there is no one grieving for a woman who decides to go and abort her child.”
Coronado went on to make the point that reaction does not makes sense, saying when you lose your child, you lose your child. “I knew it the first time, but I was pretty numb the second and third time, because I’ve numbed myself so much and built up so much of a wall around me,” Coronado said.
Abortion is a difficult topic to talk about, she said. Nevertheless, the past is past, and Coronado said she finds solace in her faith in Jesus Christ. “I find my peace in him, because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And I just lean on that,” she said.
Coronado said she is willing to speak with anyone contemplating an abortion, and she will talk about the dangers of killing the child who resides for a time inside a mother’s womb. “I’ll tell somebody not to," she said. "I will, because it is wrong.”
As then she recounted her previous abortions, she said, “It was not the right decision. What I did was wrong.”
And for those who’ve had experience losing their child, Coronado encouraged them. “You need some healing,” she advised.
Attending the event was Janell Zinn who came with her six-month-old daughter, Ava Zinn, resting in her stroller.
Zinn said she learned about the Speak Up event through Facebook the previous week.
“It was nice to hear women who told of their experiences," Zinn said. "Their stories were all different, and yet similar in how Jesus worked in each of their lives. The conversion stories were so powerful. Even in something so bad, God can make good come out of it,” Zinn said as she rolled the stroller, where Ava rested, back and forth.
Zinn recalled organizer Marty Ellett had said, “Abortion is not a political thing, it is a biblical thing.”
“I hope Planned Parenthood will be defunded,” said Zinn. “I’m hoping people will open their eyes and see the harm that abortion really does.”
When all four speakers had delivered their messages, the audience was encouraged to participate in the prayer walk, an invitation to stroll through and pray as they walked among the lit luminaries.
“Our hope and prayer is that people would understand that life is very precious. This is an educational time that hopefully makes attendees go home and do something else to save a life,” Ellett said.