On Saturday, January 26, 2019, pro-life Texans from around the state traveled to the Capitol in Austin by the busload and the carload to give voice to the voiceless as they marched and rallied for life at the annual Texas Rally for Life. Police estimates put the crowd at more than 10,000 people. With the rally taking place on the heels of New York passing a bill allowing abortions to take place through the third trimester, Texas Rally for Life attendees sent a clear message to the Texas legislators and the media that Texas doesn’t stand with New York, Texas stands for life.
The Texas Rally for Life is a yearly event that takes place on the Saturday immediately following the anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion in 1973. Since that time, more than 60 million lives have been tragically cut short nationally, and countless men’s and women’s hearts wounded.
The goal of the event is to support the issue of life by raising awareness of current efforts across the state to protect life, to defund Planned Parenthood, and to provide women information on what the alternatives to abortion are as well as why they are the best alternatives for themselves and their babies. The 45 Texas Rally for Life Host Committee organizations were thrilled to see such a large turn out at this year’s event.
After the massive crowd of attendees took to the streets around the Capitol to march, while carrying signs declaring, “Defund Planned Parenthood,” and chanting “We are pro-life,” they gathered on the south side of the Capitol for the rally portion of the event. The diverse group of speakers at this year’s event included Care Net Center Services Specialist, Terry Williams; Catholic Bishop Zurek from Amarillo; Dr. Gus Reyes of the Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission; Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush; Nathan McDaniel, District Director to US Rep. Chip Roy; Jerri Lynn Scott, Executive Director at Resources for Women Pregnancy Care Center in San Antonio TX; Regional Coordinator for Texas for Students for Life of America, Sarah Zarr; Dr. Joe Pojman, Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life, actor Robia Scott from the upcoming movie, Unplanned; and Pastor Robin Steele of Promiseland West in San Marcos. Each message built upon the last and all were powerfully moving. Here are a few highlights:
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who referred to himself and others born since Roe v. Wade as the abortion generation, stirred the crowd as he passionately shared, “I am outraged about what happened in New York. I am outraged that these officials celebrated and passed legislation that would legalize partial-birth abortion. In this state, we know that every life matters… Since Roe v. Wade, 60 million lives have been taken by abortion, and that number continues to grow. Ladies and gentlemen, this must end… We must work every day to change these laws until every child is safe. This is the culture of life that Pope John Paul II fought for. It is the culture of life that we must always fight for every day and in every way. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to stand side by side with you in this fight.”
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) was unable to attend; however, his District Director Nathan McDaniel shared on behalf of Rep. Roy that defunding Planned Parenthood is one of his top priorities, as he stated, “It is morally reprehensible that millions of pro-life Americans pay taxes that subsidize for those procedures, and that must end.”
Actor, Robia Scott, who plays a villain of sorts in the upcoming movie Unplanned, based on the life of former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, spoke of how she believes this movie will strategically change hearts on the issue of life, “The Bible says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, and now is the time God wants to pull this stronghold down… And I believe one of the weapons that God wants to use in this season, is this film, Unplanned. Because we know just as Jesus changed hearts – he didn’t attack people, but he told stories because stories are incredibly powerful.”
Many organizations held local events prior to the Rally in Austin. These events provide other opportunities for Texans to advocate for the issue of life in their own communities.
Here are a few highlights from several of those rallies:
The Austin Catholic Diocese held packed services at two large churches in Austin on the morning of the Texas Rally for Life.
In San Antonio, Texas’ First Lady Cecilia Abbott returned to her home city to speak at the San Antonio March and Rally for Life on Sunday, January 20, which was attended by several hundred people. In her passionate address, she shared how that was a key goal for her and her husband Governor Greg Abbott as she stated, “Protecting frightened mothers and their unborn children will always be a priority for Greg and for me…We have always vigorously defended life.” She also spoke of a life-giving alternative to abortion—adoption, which they have personal experience with due to the adoption of their only child. She said, “Our lives were forever changed the moment Greg and I held our daughter in our arms. And each day we thank God for the precious gift of Audrey’s life.”
Thousands of people attended marched to downtown Dallas at the North Texas March for Life on Saturday, January 19, Author and radio host Eric Metaxas was the main speaker at the event. He spoke of how the issue of life transcends faith. He said, “You don’t need to be a Christian, or to believe in God, or to believe in the Bible to believe that the unborn is a human being.”
In Amarillo, hundreds gathered for the walk on January 26, 2019, and this year the theme was cherished, chosen and sent. Father Shane Wieck, a priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, said the group marched for the protection and the dignity and the sanctity of human life from the very moment of conception to the point of natural death.
On the easternmost part of the state, in Beaumont, Aaron Little, keynote speaker and pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Port Neches said, “We all are called to do something about the tragedy of abortion.”
Texas Alliance for Life Board Member, Terry Williams, was the keynote at the Walk for Life in Columbus, TX, where over 60 men, women, children, and grandchildren walked the tree-lined streets while numerous cars honked in agreement, many slowing down to wave and speak to the marchers. While gathered at the courthouse, Terry encouraged participants to take a stand for life every day by getting involved at a pregnancy center, pro-life group or in the Legislature. Terry reminded the crowd that each life is sacred and worthy of saving.
Never has the issue of life been as divisive as it is right now in our country, as states scramble to put into place laws that would take effect to ban or legalize abortion in the event that more conservative justices on the United States Supreme Court might ban or scale back the precedents set forth in 1973’s Roe v Wade decision to legalize abortion. With the passing of the legislation in New York allowing abortion to birth and the discussions around infanticide in Virginia, to the countless other states making similar moves; we believe the issue of life is at the forefront of people’s minds as never before. These marches and rallies are just one way to advocate for the unborn. If you are wondering what else you can do to promote life, we’d like to leave you with these action steps:
- Support a credible pro-life organization such as Texas Alliance for Life financially, helping to fund the efforts of bringing forth life-affirming legislation: https://www.texasallianceforlife.org/donate/?organization=TAL.
- Write, email, and/or call your legislators to let them know where you stand on the issue of life. Watch for our legislative alerts.
- When election season rolls around, vote for candidates who promise to protect the sanctity of life.
- Support the movie Unplanned on its opening weekend, March 29. Even better, reach out to your church, youth group, or other organization to rent a theater on opening weekend. Details at https://www.unplannedfilm.com/redcarpet. The stronger the showing that first weekend, the more theatres nationwide will show the film in the weeks following.
- Join a prayer vigil group, such as 40 Days for Life: https://40daysforlife.com/
- Support a local pregnancy resource center by volunteering or donating.
- Mark your calendar for next year’s Texas Rally for Life on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at the Capitol in Austin. Visit TexasRallyforLife.org [link to for more information.
Your voice matters in this effort to protect life! Thank you to those who attended the rally and to all who are doing your part to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.