Hundreds of pro-life advocates and sponsoring organizations will gather on Wed., Feb. 9 for the 20th Annual Rose Day observance at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Each year, hundreds gather at the Capitol at the beginning of the new legislative session to promote and support the lives of unborn babies by meeting with their state senators and representatives and presenting them red roses, which represent the sanctity of the unborn. Attendees are encouraged to present roses to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and their state senator and representative.

“Invite family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to join you,” said Heidi Wilburn, Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee advisor for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. “Your voice is important and influential regarding these issues. When Christians do not speak up, legislators believe we are content with the outcome of their decisions. We are overwhelmingly blessed to live in a nation where our voice matters; take part in the political process!”

The keynote speaker this year is former Planned Parenthood executive Abby Johnson.

Johnson’s life was changed on Oct. 6, 2009. That was the day that she resigned from the largest abortion corporation in the nation—Planned Parenthood.

Johnson worked and volunteered for Planned Parenthood for eight years. For the last year of her employment, Christ had been working on her heart. Although she didn’t understand why, she had begun to question her work and the motivations of the company she had dedicated herself to for eight years.

In September 2009, she saw something that forever changed her mind on the issue of abortion. Johnson was asked to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion procedure. On the ultrasound screen she saw a 13-week baby in the womb fight for its life . . . only to lose the battle in the end.

Not knowing where to go, Johnson turned to a local pro-life resource group, The Brazos Valley Coalition for Life. She explained the events she had witnessed, and swore that she would begin to advocate for life in the womb, instead of destroying it. Even though she had not intended on being a public figure, God had different plans.

When Planned Parenthood found out about Johnson’s change of heart, they were frightened that others would hear her story and then change their minds on abortion. Their defense was to silence her with a temporary gag order and eventually take her to court. They also decided to inform the media of their gag order.

The media were very interested in Johnson’s story. A local news affiliate ran the story on the 10 p.m. news. By Monday morning, she was receiving calls from Mike Huckabee and Bill O’Reilly. On Nov. 10, 2009, Planned Parenthood faced off with Johnson in the courtroom. It was easy for the judge to see that the lawsuit was a sham. After an hour of testimony from Planned Parenthood, the judge dismissed the case on the spot.

On Nov. 11, Johnson appeared on the O’Reilly Factor. Since her departure from Planned Parenthood, she has been traveling the country sharing her story and motivating others to continue the pro-life fight. She also works on projects for the national 40 Days for Life team.

Johnson lives in Texas with her husband and daughter.

“Significant pro-life legislation has passed over the last several years because pro-life Oklahomans made their voices known at the Capitol,” Wilburn said. “This legislative session presents another grand opportunity to move forward in the battle to protect one of God’s most precious creations—human life.”

Rose distribution begins at 10:30 a.m., Feb. 9, with the rally in the 4th Floor House Chamber beginning at 11:45 a.m. Attendees are asked to bring their own roses, which will not be provided.

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