Student vigil marks Roe anniversary

Amy Hackbarth

Abortion opponents assembled for a candlelight vigil on Northrop Mall on Tuesday night to remember the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.

“In apathy, you’re as guilty as the murderers themselves,” said Joel Forsberg, a Pro-Life Action Ministries representative who spoke at the event. “Just like in Germany when the Germans were like Nazis because they let the trains go by and they didn’t do anything.”

More than 30 people – mostly students – gathered to march, pray and bolster the movement opposed to abortion. Abortion opponents urged students to counsel women who want abortions while they wait on the abortion clinic sidewalks.

“I don’t think a fetus is just a fetus,” said Erin Robinson, a Normandale College junior who has done sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics. “I know it’s a person, and as a Christian I want to stand up for that.”

The Minnesota Young Americans for Freedom group organized the vigil.

“We thought we’d commemorate all of the children who have been murdered,” said Jed Ipsen, organization chairman and University junior.

Representatives from the abortion opponents group Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life marched at the State Capitol on Tuesday afternoon in recognition of the Supreme Court decision’s 29th anniversary.

Abortion rights advocates also remembered the Roe vs. Wade decision.

Stephanie Johnson, development director for the nonprofit Minneapolis organization Pro-Choice Resources, said it was an occasion to reflect on the freedoms upheld by the landmark decision.

“It’s an opportunity for people who had mothers and sisters who died in back-street abortions to reflect,” she said.

Jane Miscavage, communications director for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and South Dakota, said the historic debate between the abortion rights and abortion opponent movements is discouraging.

“It’s sad that 30 years after the decision, we’re still protesting,” Miscavage said. “Women are smart enough to make these decisions on their own.”

In recognition of the day, Pro-Choice Resources distributed more than $3,000 in loans to women interested in receiving abortions.

Johnson said the organization provides up to $250 in financial assistance to approximately 450 women per year. The procedure generally costs approximately $450, she said.

The Reproduction Rights Coalition of Minnesota, a combination of four nonprofit abortion rights organizations, held a prayer breakfast at the Kelly Inn in St. Paul on Tuesday morning in remembrance of the decision.

In addition to praying, Miscavage said, the more than 300 attendees discussed strategies to counter legislative threats to abortion rights.

Miscavage said one bill, known as the Woman’s Right to Know, requires abortion staff to inform women interested in having abortions about the details, side effects and alternatives to abortion.

Most abortion clinics already cover those issues, Miscavage said.

“This bill is redundant,” she said. “It would legislate things that already happen.”

Abortion opponents announced their support of the bill, which is sponsored by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, at the Capitol march.

Amy Hackbarth welcomes comments at [email protected]