Saturday is the 32nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion in the United States. To mark the anniversary, some MU students will march to abortion clinics in support of abortion rights while others will be in the nation’s capital to participate in a rally opposing abortion rights.
Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom is sponsoring 12 students to be present at abortion clinics Saturday in the St. Louis area to support abortion rights. They will also attend an evening fund-raiser sponsored by the Freedom of Choice Council.
The students acting on behalf of Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom will meet with abortion rights supporters at an Illinois clinic where protesters of abortion rights are expected.
“We plan on being a peaceful presence in honor of the triumph of Roe v. Wade,” group vice president Sarah Amos said. “It is important to support Roe v. Wade and important to uphold that decision.”
Amos said her group will also meet at a St. Louis Planned Parenthood center expected to be the focus of an anti-abortion rights march led by St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke.
In the evening, the students will meet at the Mad Art Gallery in the Soulard area for the premiere of the documentary “I Had an Abortion” to raise funds for the Freedom of Choice Council.
Following the film will be a discussion on abortion rights in Missouri, said the Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region’s Web site.
This anniversary of Roe v. Wade coincides with the start of the second term for President Bush, who has proposed further restrictions on abortion. It will also see members of a Republican majority in both houses of Congress take their seats in the federal government. On the other side of the issue, nine students who oppose Roe v. Wade will head to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life rally on Monday. The rally is expected to draw more than 100,000 abortion-rights opponents to the National Mall.
“The more people that go, the bigger the message it sends to the government and the rest of the country of how many people support life,” said Angela Beaver, campus ministry intern for the Newman Center and an MU graduate.
Although marchers are given a chance to lobby for the support of legislators before the march, Beaver does not expect to change any senators’ minds in one day. But she is hopeful.
“I think it shows that many people in this country will not ignore this issue,” she said. “Unborn babies are dying every day. We just have to get ourselves out there showing it’s still an issue.”
MU student Donald Lee, a six-year participant in the March for Life rally, expects a large turnout, boosted by the presidential inauguration.
“The last time I went to the March for Life was shortly after President Bush was sworn in, which was the largest march I’ve attended,” Lee said. “The pro-life movement had received a tremendous boost with the election of a pro-life president.”
Lee said the passage of the partial-birth abortion ban at the federal level and other restrictions through state legislatures are evidence of the effectiveness of the efforts of abortion-rights opponents.
Beaver, who is attending the rally for the first time, said she thinks it will be “inspiring for us to meet others who are also passionate about the right to life, and I hope that we will be strengthened to continue in this fight against the killing of innocent human life.”
A prayer vigil is scheduled for noon at Speakers Circle to coincide with the March for Life.