Saturday was a typical cloudy and cold January day in Jefferson City, Missouri, but there was nothing typical about the crowd of more than a thousand people gathered at the Fifth Annual Midwest March for Life. They chose to unite and march on behalf of the lives of 625,000 babies lost to abortion in Missouri alone since the Roe v. Wade decision legalized this deathly procedure in 1973.
The morning kicked off with a LIFE Runners 5K while another group prayed the rosary on the Capitol steps. Numerous exhibits flanked the edges of the Capitol Rotunda with Vitae’s banner behind the speaker’s podium for the rally summing up the event: TOGETHER WE ARE WINNING!
As bus loads of pro-life enthusiasts gathered near the Governor’s Mansion, you could hear the cheers reverberate through the streets of the Capitol City: “All in Christ…for Pro-Life!” The marchers, who carried a multitude of signs like “She’s a Child, Not a Choice” and “I Regret My Abortion,” made their way through downtown, passed the Missouri Supreme Court Building and headed for the Capitol. Inside they gathered for a rally with cheers and speeches which could have loosened the paint off the frescos – the rally cry: to make abortion unthinkable.
Vitae President Dr. Pat Castle served as emcee of the rally and shared how 82 percent of women would have chosen life if just one person had offered support. “That’s us, and we are here. We will persevere in this race set before us!” he told the crowd who had overflowed to all three floors of the building.
Former Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson was the keynote speaker at the rally. She is encouraged by what she is seeing take place across America, with more and more abortion facilities closing. Johnson believes we will have a country without abortion facilities, not because abortion will be illegal, but because abortion will be unthinkable.
Johnson spoke about her ministry, And Then There Were None, an organization which helps abortion facility workers leave their jobs and assists with job placement and counseling. She shared that in the beginning, she and her husband thought they would be successful if five to ten people responded to their efforts. In two years they have helped 140 abortion facility workers leave the abortion industry.
Johnson fired up the crowd saying, “I am the picture of conversion. No one is beyond the power of conversion, the power of truth, the power of Christ.”
The Texas-born mother of 4 urged that, no matter how you get involved we are all called to do more, even if it’s to pray just a little bit more. The prayers being said in front of abortion facilities have a profound effect, she noted, and Planned Parenthood has the stats to back this up.
“Planned Parenthood says that when people prayed outside their clinics, the no-show rate went up to 75 percent. That should light a fire under us to get out in the front of these facilities and pray,” Johnson reported. “You don’t have to be a sidewalk counselor.”
During the rally there were awards given to legislators for their courageous efforts to help save lives. One couple stood before everyone relating the story of their abortion and how it hurt them and has left them with never-ending regret and pain saying: “Abortion is not the answer. It damages many.”
Dr. Castle noted that abortion is not a solution, but a problem on top of a problem.
“We know women experience PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and sixty-four percent of abortions are coerced. There is nothing less manly than to take a woman to an abortion facility to end the life of their child or grandchild. It goes against our nature to provide and protect. Men, be men!” Dr. Castle urged.
Johnson wrapped up the rally with a message of unity and hope: “Together, we are winning. Together, we are stronger. When we work together, we will win this war!”