Protesters hope silence will resonate at abortion march

  • Follow Your Faith

A handful of men and women will mark today, the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, with vigils outside the offices of local abortion providers.

Back | Next
Susan Swanson, the executive director of Augusta Care Pregnancy Center, held a luncheon for pastors and supporters this week at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. She joined Friday's anti-abortion march in Atlanta.    Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Susan Swanson, the executive director of Augusta Care Pregnancy Center, held a luncheon for pastors and supporters this week at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. She joined Friday's anti-abortion march in Atlanta.

Others from Augusta and Aiken will ride buses and vans to Washington, D.C., for Monday's annual March for Life.

Some people gathered at the Georgia Capitol for a silent march through Atlanta on Friday.

"It's an important day, and the point is to do something, however we can, to be a witness," said Mike Lammers, the youth pastor of St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church.

For the first time, he's taking a group of high school students to the nation's capital. With chaperones and students, he expects to travel with a crowd of about 35.

"We've been wanting to do this for a number of years. Our students care about this," said Lammers, who will leave early Sunday and return Tuesday.

The annual Washington march began in 1974 with about 20,000 people and now draws closer to 200,000 each year.

"We have hope that we can change hearts and minds with love and prayer and just by being visible," he said.

It's why every Wednesday and Sunday, groups of Christians pray outside the offices of local clinics that offer abortions, in addition to other health services, said John Peduto, a member of the Augusta Chapter of Georgia Right to Life.

The state organization plans the annual Together for Life Memorial Walk, held on Friday this year.

"It's very moving," Peduto said. "They play the sound of a baby's heartbeat over the PA system and 8,000, 10,000 people move in silence. It provides a really powerful witness. You're proud to be there."

So are the youth, he said.

"These kids show up at marches, and it blows their mind. There are so many other young people who believe what they believe. They don't see it in the media, so they have to show up and experience it for themselves."

The scene -- at rallies and prayer vigils -- is often surprising for first-timers, he said.

"People expect us to be screaming and hollering murder," he said, "when really, we're whispering just to say, 'Please reconsider.' "

It's true, said Susan Swanson, that the day-to-day business of the pro-life movement is found less in headlines and more in client consultations, parenting classes and prayer meetings.

The executive director of the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center held a luncheon for pastors and supporters this week as the anniversary of Roe v. Wade approached.

She planned to march in Atlanta on Friday, as in most years.

"It's powerful because, in the day-to-day stuff, it's easy to forget that you're not alone," Swanson said.

To the crowd of 50 who gathered Tuesday at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion, she noted that the past year has been full of controversy for the center.

"Sometimes, we have to stir up the dirt to get to the right place," she said. "I don't like warfare, but it seems like I'm always in it. God calls us to march right up to the front lines."

March for life

The annual rally begins at noon Monday, followed by a march at 1:30 p.m. starting at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and ending outside the Supreme Court. Learn more at marchforlife.org.


Search Augusta jobs