As Missouri state legislators grappled with whether to extend the waiting period for an abortion to 72 hours, a Planned Parenthood volunteer had a simple message for them: “Abortion is sacred.”
Those words, emblazoned on a sign held by Juleigh Snell on the south lawn of the state capital in Jefferson City, spoke for many of those present at the “Stand With Missouri Women” rally yesterday morning. Snell, who describes herself as an atheist, drove 150 miles from her home in Alton, Illinois – the hometown of Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly – for the demonstration on the capitol steps.
“Our health care, our bodies, our choices,” Snell told The Missourian at one of two rallies designed to sway lawmakers.
Pivoting from its previous depiction of abortion as a necessary evil, the abortion industry and its political stalwarts have increasingly begun describing abortion as a positive, even holy, event.
Last August, Wendy Davis said she launched the 11-hour filibuster that thrust her into the limelight, because “sometimes you have to take a stand on sacred ground.”
Two months earlier, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi referred to the issue of abortion as “sacred ground” while deflecting a question from a reporter from The Weekly Standard.
Topless protesters with the group Femen chanted “abortion is sacred” while attacking the Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela, in February.
The pro-abortion rally – which was led by the state chapters of NARAL, the ACLU, NOW, and Catholics for Choice – included many young girls holding signs telling legislators to “step away from the uterus.” Another was dressed as a pack of birth control pills.
Meanwhile inside the state capitol rotunda, pro-life advocates from around the state had their own slogan, chanting alternately, “We love babies” and “We love women.”
A number of the speakers spoke about pregnancies resulting from rape, and how they ultimately decided the best thing was to keep their children.
Angie Grogg said that her 14-year-old daughter had been impregnated by rape. At first, she wanted her daughter to have an abortion, but after having time to reflect, and listen to her daughter, she allowed the pregnancy to go forward.
The crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to her four-year-old grandson, Noah.
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Seeing dueling rallies between pro-life and pro-abortion protesters is becoming commonplace. During a special session of the Texas legislature that passed a 20-week abortion ban, the two sides often got into pitched confrontations.
The temperature, and the heads, proved cooler in Missouri, with little outright animosity between the two. One pro-lifer reportedly yelled at a pro-abortion protester. Several pro-abortion protesters entered the rotunda and screamed in an attempt to disrupt the pro-life event.
As in Texas, the pro-life side ultimately carried the day. State legislators voted last night to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of House Bill 1307 by an overwhelming margin: 117-44 in the House, 23-7 in the Senate.
House Speaker Tim Jones told KRCG TV-13 that the 72-hour waiting period “comes from the women.”
“They want this reflection period to bring a new life into the world,” he said.