COLUMBIA—Storm clouds hovered on the horizon, but no rain fell to dampen the spirit of hundreds of people who took a public stand for life and an end to abortion in Columbia on Jan. 11.
The 47th annual Stand Up for Life March and Rally has taken place every year since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide in 1973.
The crowd was larger than recent years when blasts of winter weather kept numbers down. Organizers estimated about 1,200 people turned out for the event this year. Many Christian denominations were represented, and Catholics were among the most visible.
The Knights of Columbus led the long line of marchers who made their way through city streets to the Statehouse, and many people held signs and banners representing pro-life groups from parishes in all corners of the diocese.
During the rally on the steps of the Statehouse, speakers focused on the “Heartbeat Bill,” which could ban most abortions in South Carolina after six weeks and is set to come before the state Senate during the current legislative session that opened Jan. 14.
The proposed legislation, H. 3020, would make it illegal to perform an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually between the fifth and eighth weeks of pregnancy.
The bill was passed by the state House of Representatives in April 2019 but faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where leaders say there currently are not enough votes to pass it.
S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson and pastors from churches in Greenwood and Taylors encouraged pro-life voters to contact their state senators and express support for the bill.
After the rally, about 400 Catholic youths and adults met at the Township Auditorium for their 11th annual rally. They took part in games, sing-alongs, and prayer; and attended Mass celebrated by Father Andrew Fryml, parochial vicar at the Basilica of St. Peter in Columbia.
The youth also heard from guest speaker Sean Forrest, a Nashville-based musician who also is founder and president of Haiti 180, a non-profit that provides education, medical care and housing for children and the elderly in Haiti.