Undeterred by snow, pro-lifers march with hope to end abortion

| Susan Klemond | January 23, 2018 | 2 Comments

Ann Hagens, left, of St. Peter in Richfield and Beth Boyle of St. Bonaventure in Bloomington walk from the Cathedral of St. Paul to the State Capitol in St. Paul Jan. 22 during the March for Life, sponsored by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. Father Eugene Brown/For The Catholic Spirit

With renewed hope that efforts to end abortion are having an effect — and sharing the determination of U.S. mail carriers — thousands of Minnesota pro-lifers observed the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade by participating in the March for Life Jan. 22 in St. Paul as driving snow made travel difficult.

“Braving the snowstorm is an amazing testimony to the heart and soul of the pro-life movement, that you were all able to make it today,” Andrea Rau, legislative director at Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the march’s sponsor, told attendees of all ages.

During a program at the State Capitol following the march from the Cathedral of St. Paul, MCCL leaders, state legislators and others gave the participants who filled three levels of the rotunda, reasons for hope, while updating them on pro-life legislation and the movement’s status.

Before the march, a slightly smaller-than-usual crowd attended a prayer service at the Cathedral, led by Archbishop Bernard Hebda. Heavier snow in southern Minnesota prevented some groups from making the trip.

Two women and a child stand outside the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul Jan. 22 as part of the March for Life. Father Eugene Brown/For The Catholic Spirit

In noting the 45th anniversary, several speakers at the Capitol drew a parallel between the abolitionist and pro-life movements.

“I believe that in the years to come, history will remember Roe v. Wade alongside the Dred Scott decision of 1857,” said Leo LaLonde, MCCL president. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that no black person, free or slave, could claim U.S. citizenship. “We hope and pray that the Supreme Court will correct its errors and vacate this Roe v. Wade decision of Jan. 22.”

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka noted that William Wilberforce’s involvement in the British abolitionist movement lasted 46 years.

“We’re at 45,” he said of the pro-life movement. “I’m saying we’re right at the edge, let’s push this thing over. By God’s grace, by God’s courage, by God’s compassion that calls all of us, let’s work together. Let’s work with legislators, let’s work with the governor, let’s work with the people. We’ll change it federally, we’ll change it at the state level, and once again, unborn human life will be protected.”

Since the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, 60 million babies in the United States have been killed as a result. In Minnesota, more than 628,700 were killed between 1973 and 2016, according to state statistics.

Carla Stream, a member of the post-abortion awareness campaign, Silent No More Minnesota, described proposed state legislation that MCCL will promote during the 2018 session to enable abortion-seeking women to see their babies during ultrasounds.

Stream shared that she wasn’t shown a sonogram of her 10-week-old baby before her abortion 27 years ago.

“Let women see their ultrasounds,” she said. “Women are strong. They can handle the truth. Many women choose life after viewing the ultrasound [pictures]. Abortionists know this and do not show them. I know I would have rejected abortion if I’d been allowed to see my child.”

Thirty-two state legislators were present for the rally, along with other local government leaders. Before the program, pro-life advocates of all ages chanted, “We are the pro-life generation.”

Ruth Statz, 16, and Mary Kracht, 15, students at Chesterton Academy, came to defend the right to life.

“We came out because babies have the right to life, and we came to defend that right, and nothing can stop that,” Statz said.

Kracht said she is inspired by her grandparents’ long dedication to the cause.

“What gives me hope is the people who step up to believe and actually act.”

Pro-life supporters fill the State Capitol rotunda in St. Paul Jan. 22 as part of the MCCL’s March for Life. Father Eugene Brown/For The Catholic Spirit

At the prayer service, Archbishop Hebda said, “We live in a world that needs to know Christ’s love, to be reassured of Christ’s love. And the gift of new life gives us an insight into that love unlike any other.”

Acknowledging especially young people who are “willing to dream big, work hard and sacrifice much,” the archbishop encouraged all pro-lifers to offer God their time, energy and creativity. “Nothing is impossible with God. He is able to accomplish more in the world than all we ask or imagine.”

If pro-lifers want to be convincing in creating a culture of life, they need to be consistent in their defense of all life, he said.

“This is important work that requires that we act, that we not remain silent,” he said.

The importance of the event made Yen Fasano, 36, brave the weather with her three children, Maria, 9, Francesca, 7, and Joey, 5, to attend the prayer service and march. Francesca said abortion made her sad, but she hoped someone would see the sign she and her siblings made and change their mind about abortion. Said Yen, a parishioner at St. John Neumann in Eagan, “I hope [my children] live their baptismal call and realize that though their voices are small, they matter, and they can serve.”

Lou Cellette, 79, attended the prayer service but didn’t march, although he’s participated in many since the first one in 1974. One of 27 who came from Epiphany in Coon Rapids, he now stays at the Cathedral and prays the rosary during the march.
Undeterred by the weather, he said, “The Lord wants us here, so we’re here.”

Cellette said he’ll always have hope for the end of abortion and wants more young people and families to pray the rosary for life.

“We carry the torch for the little ones who can’t carry it themselves,” he said.

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