As the snowflakes came down thick and heavy, hundreds of participants in an anti-abortion rally in Palatine held signs, cheered on speakers, prayed and sang as the occasional car honked in approval.
The 2nd annual NorthWest Families March for Life was co-sponsored by Northwest Families for Life, a group co-founded by sisters Maria Goldstein and Laura Vandercar.
"What we seek to do is unite people for prayer and peaceful vigil to end abortion," Goldstein said.
The event began with a gathering at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Palatine.
Speaker Cindy Guerrero, a health education teacher at Barrington High School, talked about the joys and challenges of parenting her 16-year-old son who has cerebral palsy.
She and her husband never considered undergoing tests to see if their second child, now 10, had any birth defects, she said.
"Every pregnant woman feels her own way and has her own fears. I know it's a challenge to get her to see why abortion is not the answer."
Speaker Michael Pollard, a therapist in Palatine, talked about finding his adoptive mother at age 25.
"If (my mother) didn't chose life, I would not be on this Earth, and God would not have blessed (me and my wife) with three wonderful children," he said.
Participants then walked ½ mile along Northwest Highway to Rita Mullins Volunteer Plaza at Hicks Road, where the rally took place.
Sixteen-year-old Teresa Kenny of Arlington Heights said some of her friends are adopted, which makes the issue more real. "So many babies are dying that could be helping the world to become a better place," she said.
The impetus for the first march last year was the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade landmark decision that legalized abortion in the United States.
"I think we are at a turning point now where Roe v. Wade may be reversed," said Scott Kirkpatrick of Hoffman Estates, who held signs saying "remember the unborn" in English and Spanish.
Speakers included Joe Scheidler of Pro-Life Action League, state Rep. Tom Morrison and state Sen. Matt Murphy, both Republicans.
Morrison said he's planning to introduce two abortion-related bills in the state legislature.
The first bill would require clinics be regulated as ambulatory surgical centers, and that abortion procedures include a physician with admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic, he said. The second bill would, among other things, require physicians to report to the state when they treat women for complications as a result of an abortion, he said.
Carole Brite, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois said that while she couldn't comment on Morrison's legislation without first reading it, she said polls show that a majority of voters say legislators shouldn't be spending their time on this issue.
"In Illinois, legislation that would interfere with personal health care decisions women make in consultation with qualified medical professionals is introduced during each session of the General Assembly," Brite said. "These attempts to interfere with women's health care will not pass muster in the General Assembly, in the courts, or with the public."