EVERETT – On Wednesdays, Ed Mohs stands in front of Planned Parenthood, praying for an end to abortion.
“It’s just always been very important to me to be a witness,” said Mohs, a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Everett. “In my heart, I knew right from wrong.”
Mohs has a unique perspective as an advocate for the unborn: His birth mother, Irene, was a rape victim who gave her baby up for adoption instead of having an abortion.
Praying outside abortion clinics like the one in Everett is just one way the Marysville resident advocates for the unborn. A former pro-life chair for the Knights of Columbus council in Marysville, Mohs coordinates pro-life activities at other parishes, sits on the board of Two Hearts Pregnancy Aid in Everett and has advocated for life issues in Olympia.
“He’s got a heart of gold and he is so committed to the cause,” said Michelle McIntyre, a member of North American Martyrs Parish in Seattle.
Mohs has championed the pro-life cause since his high school days in the 1970s, when he invited a Human Life of Washington representative to visit his health class for a debate on life issues with a Planned Parenthood official.
Now 64, Mohs remains persistent in his efforts to end abortion. The only way to accomplish that is through the power of the Eucharist and prayer, he said.
“It’s God who actually changes hearts and minds,” Mohs said.
Finding his birth mother
Mohs was raised in the Catholic faith by his parents, Raymond and Mary Mohs, who adopted him at 9 months old. The family attended St. Pius X Parish in Mountlake Terrace.
When he was in his 20s, Mohs began looking for his birth mother. “There was a feeling I wanted to find my birth family,” he explained.
The search “was very scary,” said his mother, Mary Mohs, “because he didn’t know if he would be accepted or rejected.”
It took more than 20 years and the help of a private investigator. In 2002, Mohs met Irene over cookies and ice cream. Because of her fragile mental state, he was simply introduced as a family friend (Irene died in 2014).
Using God’s gifts as a witness
His pro-life work, Mohs said, is a natural spiritual progression for him. The retired Boeing engineer and married father of four said he is using the gifts God gave him — mouth, hands and feet — as a witness for Christ.
One of his regular advocacy activities is participating in 40 Days for Life, a worldwide Christian effort that uses prayer, fasting and peaceful activism outside abortion clinics in the effort to end abortion. Local campaigns, like the one outside the Everett Planned Parenthood clinic where Mohs participates each spring and fall (the fall campaign ends November 3), are independently organized. Mohs was the local organizer in 2008 and 2009.
“The intention on being there is to pray,” Mohs said, adding that he often prays 15 decades of the rosary.
Occasionally, Mohs, a member of his parish choir, breaks out in song while standing vigil. Two of his favorites are “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.”
“He’s been dedicated since the beginning,” said Rachel Carrier, coordinator of the Everett event, which began in 2007. She described Mohs as kind, gentle and calm. “He’s a solid rock.”
‘We try our best to lead them to Christ’
In the back of his car, Mohs carries several signs that bear photos of infants or unborn babies. “Real men support life born and unborn,” reads one. “Every child is a wonderful creation,” another says. He also has informational pamphlets on hand to distribute to passersby.
When Mohs prays in front of Planned Parenthood on Mondays and Saturdays, he sometimes encounters aggressive pro-choice supporters.
“As followers of Christ, we don’t hate them, we try our best to lead them to Christ,” Mohs said. “The spirit of Christ is within us and we’re to love our neighbors as ourselves.”
Roberta Wolcott, a member of St. Mary Parish in Marysville, has seen Mohs for years at various pro-life functions. “He always has a positive attitude,” she said.
Earlier this year, Mohs took his pro-life advocacy to the state Capitol. He joined the annual Washington State March for Life in January; in February, he participated in Catholic Advocacy Day for the first time, lobbying his state representative on pro-life issues.
On Fridays, Mohs attends Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in north Everett, and then ventures to nearby Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church for adoration.
“It’s really the overall grace of being present,” Mohs said of adoration. “It gives me the energy and grace to push on.”