By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
“Louisiana Loves Life” and thousands of Louisianans will show their love for life at five pro-life marches scheduled throughout the state in the coming weeks.
For the first time, Lake Charles and Monroe/West Monroe will host a Louisiana Life March, Jan. 22 and Jan. 27, respectively. Baton Rouge and Shreveport/Bossier City marches are scheduled for Jan. 26 and Alexandria/Pineville will host its march Feb. 2.
The Louisiana Life Marches are 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.
The theme for this year’s marches is “Louisiana Loves Life.”
“In Louisiana, we love life, and our love for life must extend to these least among us, especially unborn babies,” said Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Benjamin Clapper. “By marching for life together, our love can overcome the tragedy of abortion, provide support for mothers in need, and build a future without abortion.”
The life marches will kick off in Lake Charles Tuesday, Jan. 22. Participants will gather for a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park at the Lake Charles Civic Center for the march to the downtown area.
Two marches are scheduled Saturday, Jan. 26. 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. Further south, the Baton Rouge march will begin in the grassy area of the State Capitol building and end at Galvez Plaza on the site of the Old State Capitol building.
The march on Sunday, Jan. 27 will begin with a short program at First West at 2 p.m. and end at Anna Grey Noe Park in West Monroe.
Central Louisiana will host the final life march Saturday, Feb. 2. The march will begin at 10 a.m. at Louisiana College in Pineville and end at the amphitheater in downtown Alexandria.
The Louisiana Life Marches will feature pro-life supporters from various denominations and organizations. Congressman Ralph Abraham, Congressman Mike Johnson and his wife, Kelly, State Rep. Frank Hoffman, First West Lead Pastor Michael Wood, and Louisiana Right to Life Director of Outreach and First Baptist Pollock Pastor Brian Gunter are among the Louisiana Baptists scheduled to speak at one of the marches.
Other speakers include state Rep. Katrina Jackson, Kay Robertson, co-star of the TV series “Duck Dynasty,” Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and Krista Corbello, Southwest Louisiana director for Louisiana Right to Life.
Sponsors include CENLA Pregnancy Care Center, Louisiana College, Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home, Louisiana Baptist Convention and Northwest Louisiana Baptist Association. Other sponsors include Louisiana Right to Life, Catholic Diocese of Alexandria, United Pentecostal Church of Louisiana, Louisiana Family Forum, the Knights of Columbus, Concerned Women for America, New Life Counseling, ABC Pregnancy Center, Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, Baton Rouge Right to Life, Caring to Love Ministries, Heart of Hope Ministries and Care Pregnancy Center.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, preliminary numbers for the state in 2017 (latest data available) showed that 8,706 abortions were performed, a decrease from 8,972 reported in 2016.
Since 2014, the state has reported a continued decline in abortions, with 9,362 abortions reported in 2015 and 10,211 reported in 2014.
For more information on the Louisiana Life March, visit the Louisiana Right to Life website or call 866-463-5433.