Crowd gathers for anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, January 24, 2012

BEN HILLYER/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Roy McMillin from the Christian Action Group talks to Natchez resident Philip Zuccaro amid the crosses standing in front of the Natchez gazebo on the bluff Monday night. McMillin and Zuccaro attended the candlelight vigil and memorial service marking 39 years of legalized abortion.

NATCHEZ — The president of Pro-Life Mississippi, Dr. Beverly McMillan, talked from the gazebo steps at Monday’s candlelight vigil for the unborn about her experience opening up the first abortion clinic in Mississippi in 1975.

“My journey had missteps,” McMillan said.

“But within a year of opening (the clinic), God came into my life.”

Just two years before she opened the clinic, in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion with its ruling on Roe v. Wade. Monday’s vigil was the anniversary of the decision that has contributed to the abortion of 50 million babies in America, Pro-Life Natchez-Adams County co-chair Virginia O’Beirne said.

Diane Holland of Trace City Baptist Church holds two candles as she prays during the candlelight vigil and memorial service marking 39 years of legalized abortion.

McMillan said it became clear to her, as she said it was to more than 60 people gathered on the bluff with battery-powered candles, that life begins at fertilization.

“(At fertilization people) have a unique genetic footprint, never to be copied again,” McMillan said.

McMillan also addressed the failure this November of Proposition 26 to be approved as a constitutional amendment.

Its failure could be partially attributed to a “misinformation campaign” of Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, McMillan said.

But the blessing of having the proposition on the ballot was the discussion it generated.

“The awareness of life in in vitro (fertilization) and abortion finally became a debate,” she said.

And while the support for Pro-Life was miles wide, McMillan said, she’s discovered it is only microns deep.

“Let us be willing to take up our cross for life,” she said.

The debate at least gave Mississippians a reason to engage in deep moral reflection on the issue of abortion, McMillan said.

The vote showed, McMillan said, that people have neglected the truth about when life begins in order to retain the comfort of their own lives.

Following the ceremony, a group of seven Cathedral School students sang “Will you let me be your servant,” “Here I am Lord” and “This little light of mine,” while accompanied by their music teacher, Alvin Shelby.

Pro-Life Natchez-Adams County co-chair Ruth Powers also gave an update on a facility to house a pregnancy resource center in Natchez.

Powers said the group has seed money and is now looking for a location to rent for the center to help pregnant women.

She said people are willing to volunteer to train the staff and others are willing to be on the staff, but now they need a place to go.

“The Christmas story resonated this year,” she said. “There’s not room at the inn at the moment.”