Proudly pro-life: March and rally held despite winter storm
COLUMBIA—The numbers may have been fewer than in years past but well over 200 hearty souls faced frigid temperatures to make a stand. The group of people, led by the Knights of Columbus honor guard, moved from the University of South Carolina’s Russell House on Greene Street to the South Carolina Statehouse on Gervais Street to rally for life.
And though the weather may have been inhospitable for the annual Stand Up for Life March and Rally on Jan. 7, the organizers from South Carolina Citizens for Life welcomed the crowd with warm praise and a reminder of their purpose.
All photos/Deirdre C. Mays: Alveda King speaks to the crowd at the pro-life rally in front of the Statehouse on Jan. 7.
“The abortion centers won’t close today so why should we,” said Lisa Van Riper, SCCL president. She told the crowd that an estimated 4,200 babies would be aborted across the country that day, so their responsibility to gather and pray was clear.
“We have to go on, the weather can’t keep us from gathering — so we gather, rain, sleet, snow or sun,” Van Riper said.
Winter storm Helena had dumped snow on the Upstate and prevented more people from coming. It delayed buses of youth who were to attend another rally later that day. The annual event has been held rain or shine since Roe v. Wade allowed abortions in 1973. But the speakers rallied the crowd, saying victories were being made in South Carolina with legislation such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in 2016.
Alveda King, evangelist and director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, was the guest speaker and she started out her speech, abbreviated by the cold, encouraging the crowd to sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
King, who is the niece of slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., quoted Romans 12 telling people to rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, and persevere in prayer.
“Don’t burn out, keep yourselves fueled and aflame,” she said. “Don’t quit, in hard times pray all the harder, help needy Christians.”
She reminded the crowd of their Christian duty to help people — from conception until natural death.
“That’s the poor, the sick, the young, the old, the babies, the mama, the daddy, society, those who … are helping to raise this generation, because we’re all needed,” she said.
Father Richard Wilson, parochial vicar at St. Joseph Church in Columbia, bows his head in prayer at the rally.
She quoted her uncle, whom she referred to as “ML”, saying people must learn to live together as brothers and sisters of one blood.
She also told the crowd to be active when it comes to pro-life work, and depend on each other as they move forward for the cause.
After the rally, Daybreak Pregnancy Center celebrated its grand opening at 1601 St. Julian Place across from the Planned Parenthood center.
The Knights of Columbus honor guard leads the march to the capital grounds.
Participants brave frigid temperatures for the Stand-Up for Life march and rally.
Stasi Gormley, who attends Christ Our King Church in Mount Pleasant, walks in the event with her son, Michael, and his friend, Collin Funk.
From left, Mac Tollefsen (12), Hilde Tollefsen (14), Maddie Torres (18), Alice Tollefsen (18), and Joseph Tollefsen (17), of St. Martin de Porres parish, hold a sign on the South Carolina Statehouse steps. The event was sponsored by South Carolina Citizens for Life and took place despite snow and temperatures in the 30s.
Some of the youngest marchers take a stand for life.
During the rally, participants recited The Pledge of Allegiance and sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
A crowd of more than 200 people attended the march and rally in freezing temperatures.