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updated: 1/19/2013 5:43 PM

Anti-abortion march in Palatine attracts 400

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  • Participants in Northwest Families for Life's "March for Life" on Saturday in Palatine walk along Northwest Highway from St. Theresa Parish to the plaza at Northwest Highway and Hicks Road. The march drew about 400 anti-abortion activists.

       Participants in Northwest Families for Life's "March for Life" on Saturday in Palatine walk along Northwest Highway from St. Theresa Parish to the plaza at Northwest Highway and Hicks Road. The march drew about 400 anti-abortion activists.
    Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

  • Lucy Fisher, 3, and James Fisher, 5, carry "Honk if you love babies" signs Saturday in Palatine as they participate in Northwest Families for Life's first "March for Life" with their parents, Stan and Kelly Fisher of Wheaton.

       Lucy Fisher, 3, and James Fisher, 5, carry "Honk if you love babies" signs Saturday in Palatine as they participate in Northwest Families for Life's first "March for Life" with their parents, Stan and Kelly Fisher of Wheaton.
    Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

  • Marchers in Northwest Families for Life's "March for Life" leave St. Theresa Parish in Palatine on Saturday afternoon, heading for a plaza at Northwest Highway and Hicks Road.

       Marchers in Northwest Families for Life's "March for Life" leave St. Theresa Parish in Palatine on Saturday afternoon, heading for a plaza at Northwest Highway and Hicks Road.
    Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

  • Bishop George Rassas of the Archdiocese of Chicago encourages about 400 participants in a "March for Life" held Saturday in Palatine to "try to see things as Jesus would and act as Jesus would act." The march began at St. Theresa Parish and ended at the plaza at Northwest Highway and Hicks Road.

       Bishop George Rassas of the Archdiocese of Chicago encourages about 400 participants in a "March for Life" held Saturday in Palatine to "try to see things as Jesus would and act as Jesus would act." The march began at St. Theresa Parish and ended at the plaza at Northwest Highway and Hicks Road.
    Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

 
 

A Northwest suburban group opposed to abortion held its first "March for Life" on Saturday in Palatine -- three days before the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that recognized abortion rights.

About 400 people gathered at St. Theresa Parish to listen to anti-abortion speakers before marching about a half mile to a plaza at Northwest Highway and Hicks Road.

Speakers shared stories of how abortion affected their lives and encouraged the crowd not to be discouraged by the 40th anniversary of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision, but to allow God to "do something new" by reviving their efforts against abortions.

"We know every life is precious. We've got to save babies every day," said Joe Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League. "We've been called, and I think that's very important to remember."

Marchers attracted a few beeps as they carried signs with messages such as "Honk if you love babies," or "Pray to end abortion."

Organizers said Northwest Families for Life planned Saturday's event to unite anti-abortion activists of all faiths. They invited speakers Carol Rybacki, who told of the guilt and sorrow she felt after having an abortion 43 years ago, and Jim Sable, who was adopted and found out years later that he was conceived when his biological mother was raped.

Rybacki said since her abortion, she realized life is the right on which all other inalienable rights are based. She encouraged people to view the 40th anniversary of the legalization of abortion as a turning point in the battle to end the practice.

"The number 40 is used by God to represent a period of testing or judgment," Rybacki said, referring to the Christian tradition of Lent, in which believers prepare themselves spiritually for the dying and rising of Jesus Christ.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois' President and CEO Carole Brite reflects differently on the 40th anniversary of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court ruling, saying in a statement it is critical that women continue to have access to abortion.

"The 40th anniversary of Roe reminds us how far we have come: no more risky, back alley abortions and no more dreams shattered by one mistake or contraceptive failure," Brite said in a statement this week. "Safe and legal abortion means that one of the most difficult decisions a woman will ever make is a personal and private matter."

But Rybacki said she always has regretted having an abortion and wants to persuade other women who have unintended pregnancies to "choose life."

"I robbed my baby of the chance to live a life worth living," Rybacki said. "My problem didn't end with an abortion; it was only the beginning."

Tuesday marks 40 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Roe v Wade case, which is credited with disallowing many state and federal restrictions on abortion.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has announced a series of events at churches this week to protest the decision and Cardinal George is taking part in a big anti-abortion rally Friday in Washington, D.C.

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