A bit of an oddity was noted on multiple occasions during Saturday's rally and March for Life, the annual event meant to serve as a reminder of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision from 1973 that affirms the right for a woman to have an abortion.
On the one hand, as speakers noted, it was encouraging that individuals turn out each year for the event, which begins with a rally at the University of Saint Francis' Performing Arts Center and concludes after attendees - again numbering in the thousands - march to the E. Ross Adair Federal Building, 1300 S. Harrison St., where more speakers await.
On the other hand, however, the somber reason behind the annual event hasn't changed, with abortions still continuing locally and across the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for instance, reported more than 780,000 legally induced abortions were performed in 2009, the last set of data provided on its website as part of its tracking since 1980.
"None of us are supposed to be here," said keynote speaker James I. Lamb, executive director of Lutherans for Life. "Because you are here, it says something about you."
"Your presence means that you won't quit."
In fact, some members of the community's continued dedication to the cause of abortion awareness, including education about other options women may have, has proved to be source of strength to Cathie Humbarger, the executive director for Allen County Right to Life.
"It gives me the encouragement to continue in this struggle," Humbarger said. "The fact that students and young people, young couples, are supporting this cause, shows that we are not going away.
"We are going to be here until every baby's life is protected."
Members of the clergy also gathered onstage to explain the purpose of Shepherds United, the recently announced group of around 100 local pastors and priests - of various denominations - who believe the time is now to defend traditional principles and values they believe are being minimized today, including abortion.