Hundreds of men, women and children who oppose abortion will gather for a prayer rally outside a Christian pregnancy center in Augusta on Saturday, one day before the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
The 1973 Supreme Court decision established a constitutional right to abortion.
Anti-abortion activists will line the streets at the intersection of Walton Way Extension, Scott Nixon Boulevard and Pleasant Home Road. In previous years, the rally has been held in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic on Broad Street.
This year, it was relocated to the west Augusta offices of the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center, a Christian nonprofit that provides free pregnancy testing, parenting classes and post-abortion support groups.
The move is intended to direct attention to the resources available in the community, said Gary Garner, the leader of “pro-life” activities for the Alleluia Community, an ecumenical Christian community in south Augusta.
“We’re not protesters,” he said. “We’re not hollering at people. We’re standing up for the sanctity of life. We won’t be giving people a hard time, but we are encouraging people to come stand up with us.”
The Alleluia Music Ministry will lead praise and worship music. Three speakers, moderated by Alleluia elder Bob Garrett, will address the crowd.
Dan Almeter, who is also an elder of the Alleluia community, the Rev. Scott Winchel, the parochial vicar of St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church, and the Rev. Mike Freed, the pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church, will speak.
The prayer rally goes on rain or shine, Garner said.
“We’ve been rained on pretty well, but we have a diligent group,” he said.
Garner welcomes anyone to join the group in prayer, regardless of background or beliefs.
“We’re seeing a cross-section of people in recent years. We’re encouraged that more and more people have been joining us,” he said. “We obviously disagree with abortion, but we welcome anybody, regardless of whether they agree with us. The only thing that will change abortion in this country is the love of Jesus, so we’ll be there, praying.”