By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
PINEVILLE – Central Louisiana saw 432 lives lost to abortion in 2015, but Brian Gunter is confident that trend can be reversed, if thousands of believers stand strong in unison.
“We need to join together in central Louisiana,” said Gunter, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pollock. “We may have different religious beliefs but we are in full agreement that we must stand up for the unborn,” he told a diverse religious group gathered in Louisiana College’s Granberry Conference Center, Oct. 26, during the CENLA Pro-life Prayer Breakfast.
“The 432 lives that were taken in central Louisiana through abortion need to be saved,” he continued. “And we are going to do it.”
Gunter is spearheading efforts to bring the first pregnancy care center to central Louisiana.
Multiple speakers added to Gunter’s message about how to reduce abortions in this area of the state.
Last year, 9,311 abortions were performed in Louisiana, down from 10,211 abortions reported in 2014. The 2015 figure is the lowest number of abortions in the state since 2012, when 9,225 abortions were reported.
Hosted by Louisiana Right to Life, the breakfast program increased awareness and raised funds for the promotion of and expenses related to the Louisiana Life March Central, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017.
The 1.6-mile procession will begin at Louisiana College and conclude in Alexandria at the downtown amphitheater.
In January of this year, an estimated 1,200 people participated in the inaugural CENLA pro-life march, according to Ryan Verret, associate director for Louisiana Right to Life.
He encouraged the crowd to be part of the 2017 event and to step up in terms of promoting pro-life causes in the area — saying every person is needed.
“Your voices are so essential,” he said. “I appreciate all you do.”
Philip Caples, associate professor of Christian studies and vice president of integration of faith and learning at Louisiana College, said the school is honored to serve as the starting point for next year’s march. Caples said his students made a bold pro-life statement for the institution by carrying the Louisiana Life March banner to lead the crowd.
He said that at times, fighting the battle of ending abortions in the U.S. can be discouraging.
However, he told the crowd they must go as God tells them and be a shining light as He commands them as part of the battle against abortion atrocities.
Citing Jeremiah’s obedience in the face of crushing odds and setbacks, Caples said the prophet’s faithfulness even in the face of prophesied defeat was a timely example “for where we are in our nation and for where we are in this meeting.”
“What is the Lord really saying to us today?” Caples asked. “It’s not time to give up. It’s not time to give in. It’s time to stand up.
“The mission which we have been called to do is worthy because we’ve been called to do it,” he continued. “Let’s get to doing it, and let’s stay the course. Louisiana College is in all the way, and we want to encourage you to be a part of that journey.”
This is a fight that will continue for many more years, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham told the audience.
He said no matter the challenge or the state of the battle, Christians must charge on and not give up.
“We have to continue this fight,” said Abraham, a member of Alto Baptist Church. “We have to wear His armor every day and be vigilant. The day that we are not vigilant is the day they win.”
Louisiana Life March Central is the one of three such marches scheduled in the state next year.
Louisiana Life March South will be held in Baton Rouge, Jan. 21, and the Louisiana Life March North is scheduled to take place in Shreveport/Bossier City, Jan. 28.
For more information on all three marches, visit proflifelouisiana.org/lalifemarch.html.