By Terry Vanderheyden

WASHINGTON, January 23, 2006 ( – Thousands of pro-life Americans demonstrated throughout the US over the weekend, in anticipation of the national March for Life in Washington today to mark the 33rd anniversary since the US Supreme Court legalized abortion in its landmark ruling, Roe v. Wade.

In Minnesota, thousands braved the cold to call for a ban on public funding for abortion. Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty addressed the crowd gathered at the Capital: “We have a dream today that someday soon this will not be an anniversary of sadness, but an anniversary of justice restored,” he said, according to an AP report. Minnesota’s Supreme Court imposed public funding for abortion on the state in 1995. A bill, called the Taxpayers’ Protection Act, to restrict funding failed to pass in the Senate last year after receiving approval in the House in April.

About 400 pro-life protesters marched at the Idaho Statehouse Saturday.

In California, thousands marched at the second annual Walk for Life West Coast, which began at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco, ending at Marina Green later Saturday. See pictures of the large crowd of demonstrators: A popular message with the pro-lifers was a sign which stated: “Women deserve better than abortion.”

In downtown Los Angeles, pro-life Americans held a March for Life/Life Chain procession Sunday.

Waco, Texas, organizers held a march Sunday. The march coincided with the unveiling of the first of several planned national memorials, the “Rachel’s Park Memorial,” to commemorate the casualties of abortion. “The Lord laid on my heart a vision to create a Memorial to the Unborn called Rachel’s Park Memorial,” explained organizer Rusty Lee Thomas, who is with Operation Save America. “The inspiration for the park is based upon the Scripture in Jeremiah 31 where Rachel is weeping for her children, who were no more (Jeremiah 31:15).” Read Thomas’ moving testimony about why the memorial was created:

About 1,000 people marched Saturday in Tucson, Arizona, at the state’s annual March for Life.

Dallas marchers commemorated not only the 1973 Supreme Court decision, but also the 1970 case that got the ball rolling. “Jane Roe,” of Roe v. Wade is Texan Norma McCorvey, who is now pro-life. Her landmark court case was first launched in Texas; “Wade” was state attorney general Henry Wade. Catholic Bishop Charles Grahman described abortion as akin to terrorism: “It takes you at your most vulnerable moment and snuffs out life from you like a terrorist does.”

In Rochester, New York, pro-lifers held a Sanctity of Life Sunday to commemorate the anniversary, while Rescue Rochester demonstrated at the federal building downtown Friday and again Saturday in front of a local abortuary.

In Mississippi, several hundred people jammed the rotunda at the state capitol in Jackson Saturday night to pray and sing hymns to commemorate Roe v. Wade. Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck, addressing the group, said that state lawmakers are overwhelmingly pro-life. “We did pass six bills in the ‘04 session, and I think we can do it again if people call or write their elected officials,” she said.

Pro-Life Mississippi has plans to propose five new pro-life bills this year, including one that would mandate women listen to the heartbeat of their unborn child and see an ultrasound before being allowed to abort the child.

The Yakima (Washington) Herald said about 300 marchers took part in the 18th annual March for Life there. “We’re walking because they (unborn babies) can’t,” said youth minister Jenny Escobar.

Ohio Secretary of State, Republican Ken Blackwell, marched alongside about 400 participants who walked from Cincinnati City Hall to the Hamilton County Courthouse Saturday. Blackwell is running for governor of the state this year. Immaculate Conception pastor Father William Jenkins spoke at City Hall.

“The real evil of abortion is not that it is a crime against man, but it is a sin against God,” Fr. Jenkins said. It was Ohio’s 22nd annual march. A record 600 people plan to attend the national March for Life in Washington from the Cincinnati area, traveling on 11 buses.

In Reno, Nevada, about 100 people gathered outside St. Therese of the Little Flower Catholic Church at an annual Life Chain to commemorate Roe v. Wade.

In La Crosse, about 20 people from Wisconsin Right to Life protested outside the Gundersen Lutheran hospital. They were there to commemorate Roe v. Wade and to protest the hospital’s decision to commit abortions.

In Quincy, Illinois, about 120 people carried electric candles in a vigil march covering six-blocks of downtown Sunday. The annual march is in its 26th year. Daniella Kendrick told The Whig that she has been involved in pro-life activities for over 30 years. She described how a miscarriage at three months made her realize the sanctity of life. She was expecting a “blob of tissue,” as was described to her. Instead, she saw a perfectly formed little person. “He looked like my other children,” Kendrick said. “I recognized his facial features. It showed me that life exists from conception. I got involved. . .”

More than 100 people from San Juan Right to Life joined a protest Friday night in Montrose, Colorado, to commemorate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

President George W. Bush is expected to address the annual March for Life in Washington today by phone. This will be the 33rd year for the annual event which is expected to draw tens of thousands of marchers from across the US.

See related coverage:
“March for Canada Too” – Canadian Pro-Life Leader to US March for Life