Arizona pro-life rally hopes to gather 13,332 in memory of those killed through abortion last year

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Women who’ve suffered from having abortions carry a banner during the 2016 Arizona March and Rally for Life as they march along Washington Street in downtown Phoenix Jan. 22, 2016. (Courtesy of the Office of Marriage and Respect Life)
Arizona for Life
March and Rally

Jan. 20

10:30 a.m. — Gather at Cesar Chavez Plaza, 251 W. Washington St., Phoenix; March begins at 11

12:30-2 p.m. — Rally at Wesley Bolin Memorial Park, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix

A family-friendly, bilingual event ­including live entertainment, inspiring speakers and food available.

MORE INFORMATION

Pro-lifers across the country will once again march and protest the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion next month, including in Phoenix. In the 44 years since the landmark case, nearly 60 million unborn babies have been killed.

Organizers of the Arizona for Life March and Rally are hoping to gather 13,332 people for the bilingual event to represent the number of abortions that took place in 2016 in the state.

Mike Phelan, director of the Office of Marriage and Respect Life for the Phoenix Diocese, said the call to be a voice for life has resonated well with people.

“By being present they are giving a voice to one of the 13,332 children whose voices won’t be heard this side of heaven because as a culture we’re not willing to protect their voices,” Phelan said. “You are personally representing a child who didn’t get a voice in this life.”

And that, he said, is reason enough for people to attend the march and rally. Another is that the state has had the first rise in reported abortions since 2012. Though Phelan said that could be attributable to the rise in population — Maricopa County is the fastest growing county in the nation — the trend is “unacceptable and calls for a renewal of commitment.”

EN ESPAÑOL: Esperan reunir a 13,332 en mitin provida en Arizona

While the Catholic Church has historically been the most outspoken regarding the evils of abortion, those of other faiths have steadily joined their voices through the years. Those who plan to attend the Jan. 20 event will hear from an array of speakers, including the Rev. Warren Stewart, pastor of Remnant South Phoenix Church.

Stewart is no stranger to the cause. As a young child, he remembers his father, Rev. Warren Stewart, Sr., being dragged off to jail by Phoenix police during a protest at an abortion center.

“It made an impression on my mind to stand for the things he stood for,” he said. “Those are marks on my memory.”

As for the upcoming rally, “The church cannot lose its passion to protect the image of God in these precious babies,” Stewart said. “We have the opportunity to protect lives of the next generation of leaders and pastors and teachers and educators, so that’s why people need to attend.”

Stephanie Gray, who co-founded the Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform and who now directs Love Unleashes Life, will also speak at the rally. Phelan called her “the strongest apologist on abortion in the English language” who speaks with love but “does not shy away from the truth one iota.”

Gray focuses her efforts on “influencing the influencers” as she speaks to future physicians, attorneys and clergy about the issues of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide. She’s appeared widely on national news programs across the U.S. and Canada.

Her path in life as a pro-life activist may have begun as early as her mother’s womb, she said, when her mom attended a presentation by the now deceased former-abortionist-turned-prolife-advocate, Dr. Bernard Nathanson. That passion for life only increased as she went from childhood into adulthood.

“I was that kid protesting outside clinics, and going with mom when she volunteered at the pregnancy center and writing letters to local politicians and local newspapers when I was 12 and 13 years old,” Gray said. She hopes parents will bring their children to the Jan. 20 march and instill in them a sense of justice.

Pam Tebow, mother of former National Football League quarterback Tim Tebow, will also speak at the rally. An Evangelical, Pam became a well-known pro-life speaker following an ESPN interview in which she said she had been encouraged to
abort Tim.