By Claudia Chiappa
BU News Service
BOSTON – Heavy rain and a deadly pandemic did not stop the pro-life crowd gathered in front of the Massachusetts State House Saturday afternoon to pray and speak out against abortion. Over fifty people stood under incessant rain, with few masks and little social distancing in sight, to protest Amendment 759 of the budget bill.
“We’re here to pray and to ask God to intervene for justice,” said Father Alan Maria of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, one of the participants who chose not to wear a face mask. “The rain is not gonna stop us.”
The memorial was brought together by several pro-life organizations, including Pure In Heart, Cape Cod Bus for Life and Massachusetts Alliance to Stop Taxpayer-Funded Abortions. Chief organizer Catherine Jenkins, who defined herself as a “random mom” with the cause at heart, said she was not surprised to see the positive turnout despite the weather.
“It’s a matter of the heart,” Jenkins said. “People are very persistent when it comes to saving the lives of babies.”
At the event, speakers encouraged participants to speak out against the amendment, which will expand abortion rights in Massachusetts. Among other things, the amendment will allow minors to have abortions without their parents’ consent. Pro-choice organizations in the state praised the amendment for eliminating barriers to abortion care.
The ROE Coalition, a group supporting safe abortion care led by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, said it supports the amendment. They said they believe the amendment will help women obtain safe abortions in the state without flying across the country or going to court.
“While our work is far from over, the ROE Act Coalition recognizes the passage of budget Amendment #759 as a significant accomplishment, years in the making,” reads part of a statement by the ROE Act Coalition on the ACLU Massachusetts website.
On Saturday, organizers of the memorial had different thoughts about the amendment. Pro-life attorney Tom Harvey spoke out against the bill and invited participants to call Gov. Charlie Baker and ask him to veto the bill.
Jenkins said that losing a friend who died from abortion complications motivated her to stand up against the practice and now against the amendment.
“By passing this law, there are more women that will die,” said Jenkins. “This is not just for the babies but for the mothers too.”
Steve Murphy, a volunteer at the event, said he enjoyed seeing so many people at the memorial.
“I’m humbled and I have admiration for people who endure cold weather, rain and suffering for great purposes,” said Murphy.
Participants were encouraged to bring roses to lay on the steps in front of the State House in remembrance of unborn fetuses. Jenkins said there were almost 12,000 roses at the bottom of the State House by the end of the event, including the ones purchased by the organizers with donations.
“[The roses] represent the babies that have died, the babies that will die if this amendment passes,” Jenkins said. “They represent all the prayers and all the people that are against infanticide.”