By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
Louisianans will have the opportunity to celebrate the lives of children in the womb and their mothers during marches scheduled during three consecutive weekends in some of the state’s larger metropolitan areas.
Scheduled for Jan. 21 in Baton Rouge, Jan. 28 in Shreveport/Bossier City and Feb. 4 in Alexandria/Pineville, the Louisiana Life Marches are a chance for people of different denominations, ages, ethnicities and races to come together across lines that might normally separate them to unite in prayer and in the effort to push back on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in 1973.
The theme for this year’s marches is “Protect Them Both.”
According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, preliminary numbers for 2015 show 9,311 abortions took place, an average of 26 per day. The total represents a 10 percent decrease from the 10,211 abortions performed in 2014. That figure also is the lowest number of abortions performed in the state since 2012, when 9,225 were reported.
Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Benjamin Clapper said he and other march organizers wanted to remind those in the state that the pro-life movement is not just about protecting the unborn but also offering mothers considering an abortion an alternative, such as crisis pregnancy centers.
“As a pro-life movement we not only need to do what we can to protect the unborn but we have to offer the support to the mothers who may be facing a very difficult decision,” Clapper said. “In a society such as ours where abortion is legal, it’s the mother making the choices that will impact lives.
“We want to let them know that we are here for them and let them know there are alternatives to abortion,” he said. “We need to educate people that our pregnancy care centers and adoption resources are available.”
All three events, which include opening and closing activities, are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and last until noon.
The march in Shreveport/Bossier City will start at the Boardwalk area in Bossier City, crossing over a bridge before ending in Shreveport’s Festival Plaza.
In Baton Rouge, the march will begin at the Old State Capitol building and end at the current State Capitol building.
In Central Louisiana, the march will begin at Louisiana College in Pineville and end at the amphitheater in downtown Alexandria.
Speakers named, so far, include newly-elected U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, a member of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, and Katrina Jackson, a state representative who authored legislation that requires admitting privileges for doctors who perform abortions. Johnson and Jackson will speak at the Shreveport/Bossier event, and Jackson will speak at Baton Rouge as well.
Sponsors include Louisiana Right to Life, Louisiana Baptist Convention, Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, United Pentecostal Church of Louisiana, Louisiana Family Forum, the Knights of Columbus, Baton Rouge Right to Life, Caring to Love Ministries, Ark-La-Tex Crisis Pregnancy Center, Northwest Louisiana Baptist Association, Louisiana College and Louisiana’s Concerned Women for America.
For more information on the Louisiana Life March, visit LALifeMarch.com or call 866-463-5433.