By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
Standing up for the lives of the unborn is the unofficial theme of two Louisiana Life Marches scheduled for later this month.
Scheduled for Jan. 17 in Shreveport/Bossier City and Jan. 24 in Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Life March is a chance for different denominations, ages and ethnic and racial backgrounds to march together and pray to declare their opposition to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, preliminary numbers for 2013 showed that in the state, 9,976 abortions occurred in 2013, an increase from 9,225 in 2012 and 8,955 in 2011. The most abortions of any metropolitan area in the state were Bossier and Caddo parishes, with 3,803 combined. Other parishes with reported abortions performed in 2013 included Orleans, 2,196; East Baton Rouge, 2,001; and Jefferson, 1,974.
Representatives from Louisiana Right to Life urge pro-life supporters to attend either of the marches.
“We were delighted by the turnout last January at the first annual Life March for North Louisiana, when nearly 5,300 people joined to gether in support of the sanctity of human life,” said Mike Johnson, legal counsel for Louisiana Right to Life and organizer and emcee of the Louisiana Life March North event. “This year, we expect an even larger crowd on January 17 to march together and help us raise awareness about this critical issue.
“There is an even greater sense of urgency about our efforts this year than last,” he said. “From a statistical standpoint, Shreveport-Bossier continues to hold the terrible distinction of being the ‘abortion capital of Louisiana. And, if our litigation in defending the new admitting privileges statute in federal court is successful, this may be the last place in Louisiana where one can still obtain an abortion. That will drive up the numbers locally. If the volume of abortions here is going to rise – then the level of our compassionate, pro-life outreach and awareness efforts must rise as well.”
Benjamin Clapper, executive director for Louisiana Right to Life, said the first chapter of Isaiah is clear that the defenseless must be defended.
“There is no one more defenseless in our world than the unborn child,” he said. “The Life March affords us the opportunity to unite across denominational lines to defend the lives threatened by abortion. Together we can bring an end to the destruction of innocent human life.”
The march in Shreveport/Bossier City on Jan. 17 is from 10 a.m. to noon. Just like last year, the march will start at the Boardwalk area in Bossier City, crossing over a bridge before ending in Shreveport’s Festival Plaza.
The following Saturday, the march in Baton Rouge will begin at the LSU Greek Theater, located on Dalrymple Drive next to the College of Music and Dramatic Arts, with pre-program festivities. The Life Ministry Mobilization area will open at 9:45 a.m. and the rally will begin at 10 a.m. The march itself will take place from 11 am. to 11:30 a.m., before merging with The Response Louisiana, a time of prayer for life, after the conclusion of the march.
Sponsors include the Louisiana Baptist Convention, Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, Louisiana Right to Life, Louisiana Family Forum, the Knights of Columbus, Baton Rouge Right to Life and Louisiana’s Concerned Women for America.
For more information on the Louisiana Life March, visit www.prolifelouisiana.org/LALifeMarch or call 866-463-5433.