WASHINGTON, D.C., January 21, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although the national March for Life is still days away, tens of thousands of pro-life activists across the nation protested the killing of the unborn this weekend.
State and local marches drew crowds from the hundreds to more than 10,000 at capitol buildings, public venues, and courthouses in virtually every metropolis and hamlet in the United States.
Between 8,000 and 10,000 pro-lifers gathered in Dallas on Saturday in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, 1973.
“Abortion’s days are numbered,” said David Bereit, 40 Days for Life founder, at the Missouri Capitol. “There won’t be an 80th anniversary, or a 60th anniversary.”
Some 5,000 rallied in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday – a cohort that included Governor Dave Heineman, Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, and Congressmen Jeff Fortenberry and Lee Terry.
Another 4,000 met at the Louisiana state capitol in Baton Rouge – including U.S. Senator David Vitter.
Members of Congress like Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Rep. Diane Black spoke at the Tennessee Capitol.
Pastor Jim Garlow organized a March for Life in San Diego that was 3,000-strong. (Note: Watch for LifeSiteNews' firsthand coverage.)
Thousands more marched through the streets of Little Rock, as pedestrians carrying signs silently spooled out over endless city blocks.
“Twenty-five years ago, this could have been the city that was the death of me,” said Angela Martinez-Balderaz, a 25-year-old woman at the Dallas event.
"It's very encouraging to know that we are young and we can still make an impact, and I just want to go out and spread love," said Angie Schreiner of the Flagler College Catholic Fellowship, as she met with fellow Floridians.
The reasons for attending were as wide-ranging as the number of people participating.
“When you look at the ultrasound and see that baby from the very beginning of conception, what can you do? You can't kill. You know it's against God's law,” said Sally Horner in St. Augustine.
Not every participant cited religion as a motivation. Tom Healey, 78, was a professor of biology who has worked at SUNY Plattsburgh. “I understand when life begins — life begins at conception, that’s a matter of certainty,” he told Pittsburgh media.
Others cited their own personal – and often heartbreaking – stories of abortion.
In Knoxville, Tennessee, Lisa Morris remembered an abortion she had 33 years ago, before the ubiquitous use of ultrasounds. “There's not a day that goes by that I don't regret that decision," she said. "It's not that I have not felt forgiveness, but the consequence remains.” She is now active in 40 Days for Life and Silent No More.
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Carol Rybacki had an abortion 43 years ago. “My problem didn't end with an abortion; it was only the beginning,” she told a crowd of 400 in Palatine, Illinois – an event headlined by Joe Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League.
Their stories were “a challenge to me as a man to think about more how I can protect my sisters and friends that I have around me as a man,” said Russ Polhemus.
They challenged large and growing crowds – of 600 in Cheyenne, Wyoming; 500 in Cincinnati; 300 in Yakima, Washington. One of the Washingtonians said the Holocaust of 70 years ago is still remembered. “Don’t let this modern-day Holocaust continue,” she implored.
In tiny Putnam County, Ohio, more than 100 people showed up. Last year, the Diocese of Toledo took 13 buses of Ohioans to the national march in Washington, D.C.
In Santa Cruz, a pro-abortion rally drew 60 people. Keynote speaker Lupe Rodriguez, the public affairs director of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte said the $850 fee is too low. “We have less and less providers, and they're getting reimbursed at the rates of the 1980s. This is potentially really devastating.”
Jeanne Monahan, who is organizing the national March for Life, told OneNewsNow she expects this year's march to set another attendance record. Some expect the participants to exceed the number of people who attended President Barack Obama's second inauguration.
“The pro-life movement is a movement of love,” Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Everything we do is to help people who we don't know and we won't meet.”