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January 18, 2009

Pro-life rally to be held here on Jan. 18

By Alicja Pozywio


Not everyone can go to Washington to help defend the sanctity of life. Not everyone who wants to be a part of the national March for Life has to go to Washington, D.C. in order to show their solidarity.

This year, for the fourth time, Chicago will have its own March for Life marking the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States.

“By organizing this demonstration we can extend the march which will take place in Washington D.C., throughout the rest of country,” said Rick Ryan, cofounder of March for Life in Chicago. “We can together cooperate in protesting this unjust law. Chicago, among many other cities will stand up for the rights of the unborn babies.”

The local march is organized by volunteers from the Missionaries of the Holy Innocents, local parishes, the archdiocesan Respect Life Office and some Christian pro-life groups. It will take place on Jan. 18 immediately following 12:30 p.m. Mass at Holy Name Cathedral at State and Superior streets.

Beginning on the front steps of the cathedral, it will proceed north on State Street to Chicago Avenue, and then east to the Old Chicago Water Tower at 800 N. Michigan Ave., where a prayer vigil will be held.

While marching, the participants will pray for a conversion of the nation. Especially remembered in the prayers will be the women and men who participated in different ways in the abortion of over 50 million babies since the passage of Roe v. Wade.

“We are expecting a crowd of about 200 people to gather in front of the Chicago cathedral,” said Charlotte Isaacson, founder of Chicago March for Life.

The estimated number of participants has doubled since the first march was organized. “It happened in the past that random people whom we were passing on Michigan Avenue joined us after finding out what purpose the march served,” Isaacson said.

Frustrated, not angry

Typically, the march is a very peaceful event. The participants sing, pray and carry various signs. Despite this peaceful history, the pro-life movement is often perceived to be an angry crowd.

“We are not angry. As a group we are frustrated that this Christian nation, America, is watching the rights of human beings taken away from them. We are upset with the law which aborts the life of innocents,” said Ryan.

Just like the march in Washington, the Chicago march creates an opportunity for education on abortion. After the march, Joe and Ann Scheidler of the Chicago- based Pro-Life Action League will speak to the group. Anyone is invited to attend.

Emily Hergenrother, who has been involved with the march from its very beginning, said, “We are pro-life people and we have to make ourselves known, because life is so precious it has to be defended.”