Sarah Livingstone, new coordinator for respect life ministry in the Archdiocese of Portland, poses with David Bereit in March at the Oregon Right to Life Conference. Bereit founded 40 Days for Life, twice yearly vigils held at abortion sites. (Courtesy Sarah Livingstone)
Sarah Livingstone, new coordinator for respect life ministry in the Archdiocese of Portland, poses with David Bereit in March at the Oregon Right to Life Conference. Bereit founded 40 Days for Life, twice yearly vigils held at abortion sites. (Courtesy Sarah Livingstone)
" We need to back up our stance and support these mothers.
" Sarah Livingstone New respect life coordinator for the Archdiocese of Portland
A former fashion designer who started advocating for unborn babies while in high school three decades ago is new respect life coordinator for the Archdiocese of Portland.

Sarah Livingstone said aiding both mothers and babies should be the focus at a time when the national right to abortion may be ending.

“We need to back up our stance and support these mothers,” said Livingstone, a mom of children ages 7 and 4.

Livingstone wants to calm the polarity over abortion. She thinks compassionate care for mothers is the best first step.

“We don’t just want abortion to be illegal, we want to make it unthinkable,” Livingstone said. “We do this one heart and one soul at a time.”

Livingstone began the part-time position in early April.

She grew up in an Irish Catholic family in Wisconsin. One of her earliest memories is standing as a child at a pro-life rally holding a sign. In high school, her older sister told the student body at a rally that Sarah would start a pro-life club; that got the hesitant sophomore going for a lifetime.

Livingstone, who worked for a period in Mexico and Spain, is fluent in Spanish.

She pursued a career in fashion for decades but felt drawn back to pro-life work. Three years ago, she founded the Saint Michael The Archangel Parish Pro-Life Group, based at the downtown Portland parish.

Livingstone has long been sounding the alarm about the Lilith abortion clinic downtown. Should decisions on the legality of abortion fall back to the states, that clinic will become a regional site for people from Idaho and other states where abortion will be outlawed. Oregon almost certainly will keep abortion legal.

Lilith already advertises airport pickup and lodging for out-of-state women wanting abortions. The doctor there trains medical students in doing abortions.

“They are trying to make Portland a late-term abortion hub,” Livingstone said. “We want Portland to be a place where we promote a culture of life, not a culture of death. Most Oregonians, whatever they feel about the legality of abortion, don’t want their state to be an abortion tourism site.”

Pro-life advocates keep vigil outside Lilith and speak with people on the sidewalk year-round: Thursdays 8 – 10 a.m., Fridays 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Livingstone said the stereotypes of Portland are wrong. “I have been so impressed with the pro-life and Catholic community here,” she said. “It is very strong. Where there is a lot of darkness there is a lot of light.”

Advocacy at clinics is just one part of Livingstone’s plan, which includes prayer at parishes, pro-life homily suggestions, local leadership, support for mothers and education for adults and children.

Livingstone said the wider public seems to be getting wise to the erroneous notion that to have a successful life, a woman must kill her unwanted unborn child.

She urges pro-lifers to support local pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes. The Salem area has long had Catholic homes for young mothers. A new home is set to open in Beaverton in the coming months.

Livingstone also will lend support to retreats for women who have had abortions.

Deacon Kevin Welch, director of pastoral ministries for the archdiocese, said Livingstone was chosen after a long and patient search. She is charged with working closely with parish leaders to develop and grow a solid and faithful culture of life, Deacon Welch said.



Learn more

archdpdx.org/beginning-of-life

slivingstone@archdpdx.org