By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF — A candlelight vigil on Jan. 22 at the Women’s Choice Center marked the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationally.
“We hope that by this time next year we will meet to have a celebration,” said Mary Jones, president of Life & Family Education Trust. The group oversees the Women’s Choice Center. She hopes the celebration will be about the end to abortion in the United States.
More than 100 people recited the rosary at this year’s event, led by Father Fortunatas Rwehikiza, a priest from Africa studying at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. The video “Choose Life” was shown afterwards. Then prayer and praise music filled the dimly lit upper room at the Women’s Choice Center.
Fr. Rwehikiza prayed for all people to respect the gifts that God has given, and that women will respond to “the great miracle of life” by not having an abortion.
The video “My Generation Will End Abortion” was also shown. It portrays various women and young girls born during the years of landmark decisions regarding abortion restrictions and loosening of restrictions. Each of the women and girls states: “My generation will end abortion.”
Vicki Tyler, executive director of the Women’s Choice Center, led a prayer for women contemplating abortion. She prayed that those women would see other options and that the Lord would lead them to places such as the Women’s Choice Center, Pregnancy Resources and other pregnancy support centers. Tyler also prayed for the men, that they step up and take responsibility for their children.
A video called “The Apology” featured men who opened up about their role in abortion. They expressed regret that they did not step up to the plate to convince their significant others to choose life instead of abortion. “I didn’t man up,” one man said. They feel regret, but also believe that God is taking care of each child.
Pastor Todd Tyler of Christian Center Church in Davenport prayed for men and women in need of prayers and healing from an abortion. He prayed they would be set free from their pain and come to know their Savior and his love.
Vicki Tyler said an estimated 58 million abortions have been performed in the United States since abortion was legalized in 1973. That affects millions more people, including the mothers and fathers of the unborn children, she added. “That doesn’t even count the grandparents and siblings who have been affected.”
She asked those in attendance to continue to work for closure of Planned Parenthood and other facilities where abortions are performed. At press time, she was scheduled to speak at an open hearing in Des Moines on a measure to defund Planned Parenthood. “There will be people on both sides there,” Tyler said. “Pray for love for all, no matter which side they are on.”
As the event closed, Jones invited those gathered to take silent leave from the building, with a candle in hand, to pray across the street in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic.