Across the nation, states remember Roe v. Wade and vow to stop abortion
As hundreds of thousands of people prepared to make the annual pilgrimage to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. for Thursday’s 42nd annual March for Life, thousands more who couldn’t make the trip gathered in communities across the nation this weekend to commemorate the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion-on-demand in the United States.
In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin (R), U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R), and U.S. Congressman French Hill (R) led a crowd of thousands on the steps of the State Capitol in Little Rock.
"The 2014 General Elections were very good for unborn children in our state and nation," said Executive Director Rose Mimms of Arkansas Right to Life, which organized the event. "In Arkansas we have a 100% Pro-Life Congressional representation in the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, State Capitol and have a pro-life majority in the AR General Assembly."
"Folks all across Arkansas understand the importance of speaking out for life and protecting the unborn,” said Congressman Hill. “We are glad to be out here on this beautiful day with a prayerful group for that purpose.”
Among those in attendance at the Little Rock march were Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, along with several members of the Duggar family, along with more than a dozen of their children. One of their daughters, newlywed Jessa Duggar Seewald, took to social media to document the event, sharing a photo of the impressively sized crowd:
In Denver, Roman Catholic Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila told marchers to be bold and courageous in their defense of the unborn.
"Fear is always the work of the emissaries of death, ... of the evil one," Aquila said. He urged the crowd to spread the message of life throughout their communities, even going door-to-door to educate people about the evils of abortion. "The cause of life deserves excellence," the archbishop said.
Later, Archbishop Aquila tweeted a photo of the crowd, which he estimated at over 5,000 people:
Despite wet weather in Portland, Oregon, more than 1,000 marchers turned out. Reporter Jeff Mapes of the Oregonian said they filled up to three city blocks at a time as they made their way through the downtown area:
Anti-abortion march finish in math through downtown Portland. Marchers fill about two to three blocks at a time. pic.twitter.com/8YSybmUiDu— Jeff Mapes (@Jeffmapes) January 18, 2015
At a rally before the march, attendees heard from Bryan Kemper, founder of Stand True Ministries, who called legalized abortion the “modern Auschwitz” and told the crowd, “We cannot hand this holocaust down to the next generation.”
Kemper made no apologies for comparing aborted babies to the Jews slaughtered by Nazis during World War II. "What is there to sugarcoat?" he asked. "It's about human beings being killed every day."
In Fort Wayne, Indiana, up to 3,000 people gathered to march on the federal courthouse and listen to pro-life speeches from elected officials and prominent activists. The keynote speaker was Pastor Mike Spencer, executive director of the Life Training Institute.
Spencer called abortion “the greatest moral injustice the world has known, in which some people matter and others are candidates for the dumpster.”
“If that’s not evil,” Spencer said, “is anything evil?”
Spencer was critical of pastors who fail to speak out on the issue of abortion for fear of being labeled extremists.
“Their silence shows that they don’t see abortion as all that bad, or the gospel as not that good,” Spencer said.
The national March for Life, which is expected to attract upwards of 200,000 people, will take place on Thursday, Jan. 22 – the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.