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Marching on

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An estimated 150 “supporters of life” trudged their way through the snowy streets of Brainerd Monday morning in the March for Life, commemorating the 39th Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Sponsored by the Crow Wing County Chapter of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the march was an effort to raise awareness and take a stance on the ever controversial pro-life and pro-choice debate.

“I believe in women and motherhood and the great dignity that is in them,” said Father Ryan Moravitz, addressing the crowd at the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse. “I believe in children and life and I believe in families no matter their circumstances or situation. I ask you today, what do you believe?”

Marching from the corner of Sixth and Oak streets, starting at 11:30 a.m., the group walked to the courthouse where Moravitz, pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Crosslake, was the featured speaker.

“I’m humbled by all the support I’ve seen here today,” Moravitz said. “And I’m humbled as well to be able to share and reflect with you my own beliefs and convictions and where they come from. Experience, after all, forms those very convictions and beliefs we all hold.”

Moravitz continued on to share two stories, one casting his younger sister who found herself pregnant out of wedlock at the age of 23 and chose to keep the baby. The other depicted a 17-year-old who chose to not keep her child due to what he claims was “a woman who found herself in an unconventional situation and a situation of hardship” to which he offered, “I firmly believe we should never place shame or embarrassment or fear upon any woman or mother in a situation like the ones I’ve shared with you today. Instead we should fill her with love and support. Courage and strength and everything we have for both her and her child so they can nourish and love one another in life together.”

More stories were shared when the microphone was turned over to the public which turned out people of all ages, from 5-75. Among the crowd was Terry and Ila Martin, taking part in their second March for Life this year. The Martins were compelled to take action when the choice was made by their daughter 33 years ago to keep their “beautiful and bright granddaughter who now has three children of her own”.

“So no. No other choice than life,” said an emotional Ila.

Like Ila, Monica Goodwin shared her advocacy for Monday’s march with her children, who made the walk with her.

“They totally understand (what today meant) and they’re in disbelief and have tremendous sadness that anyone would choose anything but life,” said Goodwin who has five children ranging in ages from 4-18. “It touches home for them because they want more kids in the family. But I’m here because of my love for life. That’s where it needs to start.”

JESSI PIERCE may be reached at 855-5859.