Southeast Missourians go to march against abortion

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

To 15-year-old Codie Isom, her anti-abortion stance is a simple matter of her own existence: Her mother was adopted. So if her natural grandmother had chosen to abort her pregnancy, then Isom's mother -- and by logical extension, Isom herself -- would never have been born.

"I wouldn't have been here if she had done that," Isom said, seemingly reluctant to even say the word. "Other babies don't even have a chance. They don't have a choice in the matter."

That was the emotional tone from a group of 50 or so anti-abortion protesters who left Cape Girardeau Tuesday morning, bound for Washington, D.C., to join thousands in today's rally to protest the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared abortion a constitutional right.

The group was a mix of adults and students, some of whom had made signs or wore T-shirts saying: "I survived" and "It's a child, not a choice." Others said they just wanted their voice to be heard in one of the country's most hotly debated and emotional issues over the last three decades.

"Our goal is to end abortions and to start respecting life," said Connie Drury, the Kelso, Mo., resident who helped organize local participation for two groups -- the Catholic-based Voice for Life and the anti-abortion group Missouri Right to Life.

Carrying residents from all across Southeast Missouri, the red-and-white, chartered bus was scheduled to arrive in Washington, D.C., at 7 a.m. today after driving through the night. Protesters were planning to participate in the anti-abortion march and to make a trip to the U.S. Senate building before returning to Cape Girardeau Thursday.

Some speculated that abortion is nearing its legal end with the hope that abortion rights would be eliminated or severely curtailed under President Bush.

"It's close," said Wes Drury, Connie Drury's husband. "It's already overturned in people's hearts. Anybody who has morals and values already know it's wrong."

Mark Loos of Cape Girardeau compared abortion to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"There are 3,500 abortions every day," he said. "That's similar to the number of people who perished in the Twin Towers. That was a big deal, but you don't hear anything about this. But that's going to change."

Lester Wells of Cape Girardeau went to anti-abortion rallies as early as 1973. Though he couldn't attend this year's event, he showed up to support the group at the Holiday Inn parking lot -- where the bus took on more passengers after earlier stops in Springfield, Mo., Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Sikeston, Mo.

"It's a violation of God's law," he said. He then quoted a Bible passage: "What you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me."

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