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Several from area to attend pro-life rally in Washington, D.C.
Youths and adults from the area's religious community are expected this week to board airplanes and chartered buses to attend an annual anti-abortion demonstration in the nation's capital.
Scheduled for Friday, the March for Life protests Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled a woman has the legal right to end her pregnancy. More than 200,000 people attended last year's demonstration.
Kathleen Keesee, president of the Voice for Life organization, is helping coordinate a Wednesday bus trip. Missouri Right for Life used to handle the trip, but Voice for Life, a pro-life organization that works closely with the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, took over in 2005.
Keesee expects a larger turnout this year when protesters converge upon the streets of Washington, D.C. She believes a possible option in the health care overhaul bill that could include subsidies for abortion may draw in some people who normally wouldn't attend the event.
"It's because of the health bill and the abortion issue that is a part of it," Keesee said. "The government wants the people to pay for abortion, but we believe citizens shouldn't pay for them.
"Most of our group are eighth-graders through high school, and it's such an impressionable age," she said. Her group believes that life begins at conception, she said. "When you hear a heart beating for the first time from inside the womb how can you not realize that it's human life?"
About 60 students, parents and teachers from St. Vincent de Paul School and Notre Dame Regional High School in Cape Girardeau are expected to board one of three buses traveling from Springfield, Mo., and Poplar Bluff, Mo., on Wednesday afternoon.
Passengers will travel overnight and should arrive in Washington, D.C., by Thursday afternoon.
While there, the group will room Thursday night at the Catholic University of America and
participate in the rally before heading back to Southeast Missouri at 5 p.m. Friday.
Meanwhile, 16 juniors and two teachers from Notre Dame Regional High School will fly to Washington, D.C., on Thursday for the rally. The group is scheduled to return Sunday.
Notre Dame principal Brother David Migliorino said the school has taken 16 juniors to the march since he became principal 11 years ago. The students were chosen to go on the trip based on an essay contest.
"It's important for the students to voice their opinions on pro-life issues and to march with hundreds of thousands of people who will be asking for the pro-life message to be proclaimed," Migliornio said.
"There will be people from throughout the U.S. to voice their opposition to Roe v. Wade. I think the students in particular see it as important because they believe in the
pro-life movement and that it begins at conception and continues until we die."
265 Notre Dame Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO
1913 Ritter Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO