More than 100 people of all ages attended a Memorial Observance of the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade hosted by the Sedalia Chapter of the Missouri Right to Life at the Pettis County Courthouse at noon Friday.
“This is the 43rd year since the Supreme Court legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy,” Mitzi Linsenbardt, a member of the Sedalia chapter and event emcee, said before the ceremonies began. “We have gathered every year to remember the millions, tens of millions of babies who were killed by abortion in our nation.”
She added that they are particularly saddened this year due to the “publicity” of Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby body parts.
“We feel the necessity of speaking out publicly for the right to life of the unborn and all vulnerable people,” she added.
Carol Schibi, treasurer of the Sedalia chapter, said the Planned Parenthood “fiasco” has raised people’s awareness of abortion and what takes place during the controversial procedure.
“People who would rather stay neutral before have now chosen sides,” she added.
She said the annual observance reassures her faith.
“When I see all the young people, and people of all ages, to me it reaffirms my faith and the goodness of people,” she noted. “… How important life is to us still in this country. The media has a tendency to want to brush it all under the rug and say it doesn’t matter. But when people show up like this in little towns, of all ages, and make a statement, it says ‘yes it does matter.’”
Liz Suter Van-Leer, development director for the Sacred Heart Foundation, gave the Presentation of Roses that featured 43 roses, one for each year abortion has been legal in the U.S. As she gave statistics for the number of abortions each year, members of the audience placed a rose into a vase by the podium.
Suter Van-Leer said that in 1973 there were 744,610 abortions. By 1981 the number was at its highest at 1,577,340. It began to drop afterward. In 2012-14, the number of abortions was 1,058,490. She added that abortion numbers for 2015 have not been calculated yet.
“As we look at these numbers we have to realize that we are the antidote,” she said. “We are the antidote to ending a culture of death and creating a culture of life.”
Speaker for the event Jami Taylor, 31, of Sedalia, told her personal story of having an abortion at 19 and it’s subsequent aftermath.
“When I was 19-years-old I became pregnant and even though I’ve always been pro-life, I convinced myself that the abortion pill was not the same as surgical abortion,” she said before the event began. “I drove to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I had a medical abortion, where you take the pill …
“It wasn’t until years later that I really came face-to-face with what I’d done,” she added.
During her presentation, Taylor said she came to realize she wasn’t a pregnant woman but a mother.
“… What they do not tell you is that abortion is a forever choice,” she said. “I was 19 when I made that choice to abort … I took a pill and stopped the heart of my unborn child.”
She said she went on with her life for years, as if nothing had happened, until she became pregnant again.
“When I became pregnant the second time, the full realization of what I had done came crashing over me,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t until this point in my life that I ever took time to let it sink in, that I wasn’t just pregnant at 19, but I was a mother.
“When I took RU-486, the abortion pill, I deprived my child of his or her first breath, of a chance to have what everyone of us in here has, a birthday,” she added.
She noted that 12 years ago she “took a pill” and her “choice was forever.”
“Abortion is marketed as the easy way out,” Taylor added. “Twelve years later I am still trying to find my way out of this nightmare, where I wake up every morning to the awful truth that I purposely ended the life of my unborn child.”
Taylor stated that living with her abortion is difficult and said many women can’t live with the memory.
“The suicide rate for post-abortion women is up to three times higher than when they carry their babies to term,” she said. “You see abortion isn’t just deadly to babies, but to mothers as well.”
This year the Rev. W.T Morris, of True Vine Church, gave the invocation for the event. Boy Scout Troop 54 presented the colors and Sacred Heart Junior and High School choirs sang “Amazing Grace” under the direction of Darrin Hartman. Pastor Steve Graff, of Antioch Fellowship, gave the benediction.
After the Memorial Observance at the Courthouse, about 30 people gathered at Calvary Cemetery, north of Crown Hill Cemetery, for the Prayer for the Innocents. Father Mark Miller, of Sacred Heart Parish, spoke and prayed. Those in attendance laid a rose at the memorial in remembrance of the 57,496,011 abortions that have taken place in the U.S. since 1973.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0298 or @flbemiss.