Abortion Opponents, Proponents Rally at State Capitols With AM-Abortion Protest, Bjt
Undated (AP) _ While some 50,000 people marched in the nation’s capital Friday to protest the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, smaller rallies around the nation marked the 15th anniversary with petitions, prayers, bells and baby food.
In Illinois, anti-abortion groups staged a noon rally in Chicago’s Daley Plaza that drew about 500 people as part of three days of rallies planned by both opponents and supporters of the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision.
However, Amy Dienesch, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Chicago, lauded the ruling. ″I think it’s really immoral to have a society in which women are forced to have illegal abortions and die,″ she said.
In Peoria, abortion opponents continued a 14-year tradition of delivering a truckload of baby food to the Peoria office of House Minority Leader Bob Michel.
″Instead of delivering roses to our congressman as other Right to Life groups do, we wanted to do something that would benefit the community,″ said Patricia Abson, chairwoman of the Tazewell County Right to Life.
Some 400 people rallied at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to show their opposition to abortion. ″I think that more and more people are coming to the realization that abortion is not the solution to the social problems of our day,″ said Bishop James Griffin of the Columbus Roman Catholic Diocese.
In Tallahassee, Fla., speakers addressed about 100 abortion oponents in the Statehouse rotunda while a bell tolled softly to mark the 52,000 pregnancies activist Carole Griffin said were terminated in 1986 in the state.
″It’s wrong to blame babies for the woes of the world,″ said Griffin, president of Big Bend Right-to-Life.
A spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Federal of America in New York cited a poll conducted recently for the National Abortion Rights Action League that showed a majority of people favor keeping abortions legal.
″The bulk of Americans are in favor of keeping the decision a private decision between the woman, her doctor and her conscience,″ said Doug Gould.
In Michigan, the anniversary was marked with pleas from pro-choice forces struggling to block a cutoff in welfare for abortions, and with prayers from about 200 activists determined to stop all abortions.
After 17 straight gubernatorial vetoes, the Legislature decided Michigan will stop paying for abortions for the poor on March 31. However, pro-choice forces have begun a petition drive to prevent the ban from taking effect.
Members of the People’s Campaign for Choice spent Friday trying to gather a total of 200,000 signatures, far more than the 119,829 needed to suspend law and force a statewide vote, said spokeswoman Judith Frey.
In Georgia, Gov. Frank Harris proclaimed Friday ″Respect for Life Day″ and spoke at a rally in Atlanta. Several hundred people braved cold wind to hear speeches, say prayers and sing at a rally at the Capitol.
In Minnesota, more than 500 abortion opponents gathered on the Capitol steps in St. Paul, while pro-choice leaders asked abortion opponents to denounce violence against abortion clinics in the Twin Cities and Duluth.