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Thousands participate in rally for life at statehouse


After Mass at the Topeka Performing Arts Center, the crowd marched to the state Capitol to hear remarks from Gov. Sam Brownback and other pro-life proponents.

After Mass at the Topeka Performing Arts Center, the crowd marched to the state Capitol to hear remarks from Gov. Sam Brownback and other pro-life proponents.

by Marc and Julie Anderson

TOPEKA — The most pro-life state in America. That’s what Gov. Sam Brownback called Kansas to the applause and cheers of at least 2,000 people in his brief remarks at a rally for life held Jan. 22 on the south side of the Kansas state Capitol. The rally commemorated the 42nd anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

In conjunction with the rally, nearly 1,800 prayed together at a Mass celebrated by Bishop John Brungardt of Dodge City at the Topeka Performing Arts Center. After Mass, participants and others walked between the third of a mile from the venue to the south steps of the Capitol, joining Brownback, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and at least 40 pro-life legislators representing both the Kansas Senate and the Kansas House of Representatives.

As part of the governor’s introduction, Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, told rally attendees that since January 2011, the beginning of his first term, Brownback has signed into law 13 different pro-life bills, again to the cheers and applause of the crowd.

“It’s great to be with you in the most pro-life state in America — Kansas,” the governor said, “and you’re the ones who’ve done it. And because of you, I had those 13 pro-life bills come to my desk. And I also want you to recognize and thank with a big cheer all these pro-life legislators.”

Brownback added he is ready to sign another pro-life bill into law, the recently introduced Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

“That bill should pass. I’ll sign it,” Brownback said to cheers and applause.

Sponsored by Sen. Garrett Love of Montezuma, the proposed legislation would be the first of its kind in the nation and would outlaw dismemberment abortion, the standard method used between 13 to 22 weeks gestation in Kansas. In 2013, 578 such abortions were recorded as having been performed throughout the state.

Love told rally attendees that “protecting the most defenseless among us has always been a passion for me, and dismemberment is a particularly gruesome type of abortion.”

Prior to the governor’s remarks, Knights of Columbus member Patrick Winchester of Lecompton, also the state deputy of the Kansas state council, addressed the crowd and spoke with passion about the Knights’ ultrasound initiative which has now placed 500 ultrasound machines throughout the country in pro-life pregnancy care centers — including seven in the state of Kansas, and most recently two in Johnson County.

“We believe that life is a sacred gift of God,” said Winchester. “Sadly, many hundreds have been confused and exploited by slick slogans that attempt to hide the ugly, tragic reality of abortion. They have been misled to think that euthanasia and assisted suicide are some form of medical care. The Knights of Columbus don’t believe this, and we will have none of this.”

“Supreme Knight Carl Anderson has said of the ultrasound initiative, ‘It is without a doubt the most effective pro-life program we have ever undertaken. It saves lives each and every day. And with each woman who sees an image of her child, we continue to turn the tide of public opinion one person at a time.’”

Encouraging the crowd further, Winchester added, “Even though this crime against humanity is allowed to continue, we must have hope that it will end. And, ladies and gentlemen, we must believe. We must always believe that we will be successful in our endeavor to end the holocaust of the innocent.

“We must always believe that one day our culture will turn away from the evil of abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia. We must also believe that one day we will embrace reason and compassion. We must believe that one day people will heed our message.”

About the author

Marc & Julie Anderson

Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson are long-time contributors to the Leaven. Married in 1996, for several years the high school sweethearts edited The Crown, the former newspaper of Christ the King Parish in Topeka which Julie has attended since its founding in 1977. In 2000, the Leaven offered the couple their first assignment. Since then, the Andersons’ work has also been featured in a variety of other Catholic and prolife media outlets. The couple has received numerous journalism awards from the Knights of Columbus, National Right to Life and the Catholic Press Association including three for their work on “Think It’s Not Happening Near You? Think Again,” a piece about human trafficking. A lifelong Catholic, Julie graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School and Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka. Marc was received into the Catholic Church in 1993 at St. Paul Parish – Newman Center at Wichita State University. The two hold degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. Their only son, William James, was stillborn in 1997.

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