Local protests mark anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Sunday, January 27, 2013
Madelyn Bartels, left, and her sister, Caroline Bartels, hold signs at a Stand Up for Life rally Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 at Independence and Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

Along with the March for Life in Washington, D.C., and the Walk for Life rallies along the West Coast, peaceful protests were held Saturday in Cape Girardeau to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

Demonstrators in two locations quietly presented signs that signified their opposition to abortion to passing motorists. Carol Trankler of Jackson had her two granddaughters with her at the intersection of Independence and William streets.

"We're here to stand up for the babies," she said. "There's no voice for them if we don't."

The Rev. Samuel Bailey, right, and Yvonne Bailey join in a Stand Up for Life rally Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 at Independence and Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

Trankler said she was amazed by the number of abortions performed since the Roe v. Wade decision.

"It's believed to be 55 million," she said. "The thought of that many babies being aborted in 40 years is stunning."

Others at the location voiced similar views.

Pastor Samuel Bailey, a Cape Girardeau resident who preaches at the Restoration Assembly of God Church in St. Louis, said he became strongly pro-life when he learned of how abortion affects the African-American community.

"The majority of abortions performed in this country are on babies who are African-American," Bailey said. "Think of that. We're talking about generations being destroyed. We're living in some bad times now."

Yvonne Bailey, his wife, asked, "If we don't stand up to this, who will? I think 55 million abortions are enough."

Cheri Adcock, a pro-life activist for the last four years and an organizer of the demonstrations, wants people to reexamine the abortion issue.

"The other side of the debate wants a woman to have a choice," Adcock said, "but they don't mention that a baby is involved. We need to help people see that."

Adcock said she recognizes there has been violence associated with the pro-life cause.

"Some people think we're haters," she said. "They look at us as radicals. Some of us are, I admit. But the basic message you see around here today is defending babies and women. The key is love."

She wants people who support abortion rights to consider this thought.

"If a person is declared dead when their heart stops beating," she said, "then why aren't they declared alive when their heart starts beating? It's only logical.

At the intersection of William Street and Silver Springs Road, a more lonely vigil was held. Sara Bohnert, a pro-life activist for 10 years and an organizer of the demonstrations, held a sign, along with a friend, against abortion.

"I have to do something," Bohnert said. "It's not a choice, it's murder."

Bohnert said she has been to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., six of 12 years, and she may go again next year.

"I'm itching to go back to Washington," she said, "but somebody may have to stay here for the cause. I'll do it if need be."

There are equally determined people on the pro-choice side of the debate. Pamela Sumners, executive director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League-Missouri, said in a telephone interview from St. Louis that she believes Roe v. Wade made women full citizens.

"Before having reproductive rights, women were second-class citizens," Sumners said. "The decision made it possible for women to have full options when it comes to reproductive choices, including abortion. We shouldn't even be thinking of going back to how things were before Roe. It's 2013."

Sumners added that she appreciated the rights of those opposed to abortion to demonstrate.

"I respect everybody's right to protest, especially when they are disagreeing with me," she said.

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address: Independence and Kingshighway Streets, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

William Street and Silver Springs Road, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

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