Story, photos by S.L. Hansen
LINCOLN (SNR) - “We are so proud of the more than 4,000 pro-life Nebraskans who again showed that they will march in terrible weather to make a stand for life,” said Julie Schmidt-Albin, president of Nebraska Right to Life.
Huddled under umbrellas or rain ponchos donned over winter coats – save for a group of boys from Pius X High School in Lincoln, who sacrificially went shirtless to display the “W-E−y−B-A-B-I-E-S” message stenciled on their chests — the crowd gathered around the north steps of the State Capitol in Lincoln after a Mass at St. Mary Church.
Sandy Danek, president of Lincoln Right to Life, delivered the sobering statistics: more than 57 million lives have been lost to abortion in the U.S since 1973. More than 182,300 of those happened in Nebraska.
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry pledged their commitment to the pro-life cause, as did Lt. Governor Mike Foley. (Governor Pete Ricketts was unable to attend due to a funeral.)
Keynote speaker Mario St. Francis also rallied the crowd, while about 15 abortion-rights supporters looked on in silence.
“If you are not safe in the womb, you are not safe anywhere,” he said.
As pink and blue balloons made their way up through the fat, wet snowflakes, the walkers proceeded down 14th Street, some singing “Amazing Grace” or “Salve Regina." Many parishes and schools attended in groups, such as students from Lourdes Central in Nebraska City.
“I’m here to stand up for the babies who don’t have a right to,” said Alexis Brouillette of St. Cecilia High School in Hastings.
Allison Blum, who attends Bishop Neumann High School in Wahoo, said, “I have been going to this ever since I was little. We all need to stand up for those who don’t have a voice.”
Jane Ferrin of St. Joseph Parish in Springfield brought her two children to the walk. “I want to be part of the cause. I want my children to see the many people who are pro-life.”
At the Student Union, walkers gathered literature and bought t-shirts from various pro-life organizations, patronized the bake sale and crowded into the ballroom to hear Mario St. Francis speak.
“Mario’s humble, heartfelt comments connected well with the packed Union audience,” Albin reported. “They also were very moved by the video showing the sheer impact of over 57 million abortions on the United States.”
Tim and Barb Isaacs of St. Paulinus Parish in Syracuse brought their Godteens group to the event. “Their goal is for their generation to witness the end of abortion.”
Diane Smith of Oak Lake Evangelical Free Church in Lincoln also walked. “We’re very supportive of the pro-life movement and would love to see legalized abortion come to an end.”
Photos of the Walk for Life are posted in the Register's photo gallery.