By Baptist Message staff
ALEXANDRIA, La. (LBM) — Despite COVID-19 restrictions, pro-life supporters still found a way to band together at 32 locations statewide Jan. 23 to declare their love for life.
Originally, the annual life marches were scheduled to take place around the state over a three-week period in January and February, but novel coronavirus pandemic concerns caused organizers to alter the format to a one-day, social-distanced life chain event for “Stand for Life, Louisiana.”
Only the Baton Rouge event included a program that featured messages, music and prayer.
Ben Clapper, executive director for Louisiana Right to Life, told the Baptist Message that while they did not have an official attendance count, he estimated more than 1,000 people turned out for the life chains.
“Even in the face of the Covid pandemic, pro-lifers in Louisiana cannot sit idly by why abortion continues to take the lives of Louisiana babies,” Clapper said. “It is inspiring that more than 31 groups gathered to stand for life in their communities. While we couldn’t march this year as we normally do, we know that our march continues daily to save every baby and help every mother.”
Brian Gunter, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pollock who also serves as director of outreach for Louisiana Right to Life, added:
“Covid has stolen so many things from us over the past year, and we were simply unable this year to hold our usual marches that features thousands of people. However, we felt it was important to find a safe way to advance our pro-life message in the midst of this pandemic, which we accomplished. I am so thankful for the people in communities across Louisiana who came out to stand for life.”
According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, preliminary numbers for the state in 2019 (latest data available) showed 8,144 abortions were performed, an increase from 8,097 reported in 2018.