Allen County Right to Life holds march, rally to say ’45 years is long enough’

The Allen County Right to Life annual March for Life reached about four block long Saturday on Berry Street. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of
Several members of the clergy and children joined in the annual Allen County Right to Life March for Life on Saturday. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of
Despite the rain, nearly 2,000 people filled Berry Street for the annual Allen County Right to Life March for Life on Saturday, to protest the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of
Allen County Right to Life March for Life speaker Kelsey Vander Vliet smiles Saturday at the University of Saint Francis Performing Arts Center while telling about the birth of her son, whom she had tried to abort. She picked his adoptive parents, whom she called, "me, but 10 years in the future." (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of

Kelsey Vander Vliet sat on the bathroom floor, stared at her two positive pregnancy tests, and wondered what to do.

Having moved into her parents’ basement after getting her music degree and working as a waitress, she told the father of her child. He had already moved on to another relationship.

Vliet told the crowd at the Allen County Right to Life rally before its annual March for Life on Saturday that the man said, “The best thing for us to do is get an abortion.”

The man drove the Indiana woman to Michigan for her appointment during which she looked at the mandatory ultrasound, though she didn’t want to.

“I’d accepted my fate,” she said.

Praying to God and feeling abandoned, she woke up from the anesthesia bewildered. A nurse told her the abortion hadn’t taken place.

“My cervix was so hard they couldn’t get through. But I could come back tomorrow,” they said.

Despite the father of her child telling her to go back again, she chose to have her child and place him with a couple through an open adoption.

“They were me, but 10 years in the future.”

Her son was born in May 2016 and she now works to help other birth mothers through the Adoption Support Center in Indianapolis.

The annual March for Life is held each year around the time of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. One speaker said, “Forty-five years is long enough; don’t you agree?”

The stage had two clear plastic bins of paperwork that the group said contained the reports for 2017, minus December, on Indiana abortions.

They represented the 6,211 recorded terminated pregnancies in Indiana, 300 of which were women who came from Allen County. Since the closure of a clinic in Fort Wayne in late 2013 Allen County has not had an abortion provider.

The group is paying attention to Indiana Senate Bill 340, which passed out of committee last week that in part would require abortion clinic inspections and the reporting of any abortion complications to the state health department.

Several local and state representatives attended Saturday’s event, including U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-3rd) and U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-4th District).

Banks noted that the speeches at the 45th annual March for Life earlier this month in Washington, D.C., by Vice President Mike Pence, Indiana’s former governor, and President Trump was the first attended by a president.

“This is the most pro-life president that we have ever had,” Banks said.

It’s also the most pro-life Congress, he said.

He and Rokita voted in October for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortions after a fetus reaches 20 weeks, because that is the time at which nerve connections are made in the fetus. The Senate is expected to take an initial vote Monday on the legislation, which has exceptions for rape, incest and danger to the mother’s life.

“Abortion is not, and has never been a right,” Banks said. “Life is the most important right given to us by God and protected by our Constitution.”

Rokita, who attended the Washington March for Life, said, “I’m a hundred percent pro-life without exception.”

Rokita talked about his son Teddy who was born nearly 10 years ago with Angelman Syndrome. Teddy can not speak and will only have the intellectual capacity of a 2-year-old.

“But he would give each of you a hug,” Rokita said.

Rokita is opposed to genetic screening and says that with Trump and Pence in office the concern for the right to life is returning to the White House.

The rally was followed by the march of the nearly 2,000 people, including clergy and children, along Berry Street.