JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Hundreds of pro-life ralliers gathered on the Capitol grounds for the Midwest March for Life Wednesday morning.
Demonstrators marched around downtown Jefferson City before returning to the South Lawn to engage with speakers. Jeanne Mancini, president of the national March for Life, said it was among the group’s first marches open to participants since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it was a very special day for Missouri and for the rest of the country,” Mancini told The Missouri Times. “There’s so much happening, particularly in Missouri, with regards to lessening abortion clinics, and a lot happening nationally as well.”
Mancini noted U.S. Congresswoman Ann Wagner’s efforts to progress the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act through the U.S. House. She said Missouri was a leader in the pro-life movement, both on the local level and on Capitol Hill.
“Often what we see is that a bill passed on the state level will eventually get passed at the national level,” she said. “When there is grassroots support, the national legislators listen to that. Events like today and people being involved on a grassroots level is critical, not only for the state but nationally.”
Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League awarded the Statesman of the Decade Award to Gov. Mike Parson, who thanked him via a pre-recorded message during Wednesday’s event. Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft were also presented with Patriot for Life Awards with Sen. Bob Onder receiving a Statesman for Life award. Ashcroft, along with several other speakers, made mention of the new presidential administration in his address.
“We’ve had a change of leadership in D.C., and that is not hopeful for us,” Ashcroft said. “But it wasn’t hopeful in 1973 when the United States Supreme Court said life in the womb had no value if the mother decided to terminate — but we are about the work of God Almighty because every life is created in the image of God. Don’t let the storm clouds sway you… Missouri is the Missouri miracle, and we can do it for the rest of the country.”
Other speakers included leadership from Missouri Right to Life, the Missouri Baptist Convention, and Students for Life.
According to organizer Kathy Forck, abortions in Missouri decreased to 39 in 2020 from an annual high exceeding 11,000. Missouri has one active abortion clinic.