This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States. Thousands from the Archdiocese of St. Louis are expected to attend the annual March for Life Friday, Jan. 19, in Washington, D.C.
While the number of abortions in the United States is staggering — more than 59 million since 1973 — Missouri is experiencing a downward trend in abortions.
Abortions obtained by Missouri women were down 39 percent in the past 10 years, according to 2016 statistics from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Additionally, 4,562 abortions were performed at facilities in Missouri in 2016, which is less than half of those performed in 1975 (the first year data was recorded). Pro-life leaders here have credited extensive pro-life laws in Missouri, as well as state-supported efforts to provide alternatives to abortions, including support for pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes.
Many activities have been planned for January and beyond to commemorate the Roe vs. Wade anniversary, including:
• Young adult pro-life Holy Hour
Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Dinner will be at 6 p.m. in Boland Hall, adoration and confessions at 7 p.m., and a pro-life talk and dessert afterward. The archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate and the Office of Young Adult Ministry sponsor the event. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (314) 792-7555.
• 9 Days for Life
Jan. 18-26, a digital pilgrimage Jan 18-26 of prayer and action to help build culture of life. Receive reflections, bonus information and suggested actions. Visit 9daysforlife.com.
• Ste. Genevieve March for Life
Friday, Jan. 19 at Valle Catholic High School in Ste. Genevieve. Opening prayer in Valle Gym at 1:55 p.m. Participants proceed to the town square. The event culminates with a candlelight prayer service at the Church of Ste. Genevieve.
• March for Life and Rally, hosted by the Middle School Ministry at St. Alban Roe, Wildwood
11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20. March begins at 11:30 a.m. at St. Alban Roe, continues to Wildwood City Hall for a 12:30 p.m. rally. vistit www.stalbanroe.org/ middle-school-pro-life-march.html or email Sister Veritas Wilkes, email@example.com or Dean Mandis, Mandis_Dean@yahoo.com.
• Roe vs. Wade memorial Mass and prayer vigil
10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. A Rosary procession and prayer vigil at Planned Parenthood follows. Offertory collection will benefit the LifeLine Coalition. Auxiliary Bishop Mark Rivituso is the celebrant. Sponsored by the archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate.
• March on the Arch
Saturday, Jan. 27. Assembly at 12:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent (4311 Forest Park Ave.) near Planned Parenthood, with a march to the Old Cathedral beginning at 1. The event is sponsored by Coalition for Life and Lifesquad, and co-hosted by Crusaders for Life. Visit www.lifesquadSTL.com or email lifesquad@coalitionforlifeSTL.com.
• Respect Life Creative Writing Contest
Eighth-graders are eligible to submit entries. Topic is, "explain why living the virtue of chastity protects us from abortion and blesses us with true holiness, health and happiness." The Respect Life Apostolate selects finalists; scholarships and honorable mention awards are presented at an April assembly. Deadline for submissions is Feb. 23. Contact Mary Varni MaryVarni@archstl.org or (314) 792-7559.
• Candlelight Prayer Vigil
Monday, Jan. 22. Hosted by East Central Area MO Right to Life, the vigil will take place from 5-6 p.m. at Jefferson and Fifth Streets in Washington. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Roe vs. Wade commemoration Mass
7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22 at St. Patrick Church, 405 S. Church St. in Wentzville. Sponsored by the parish's Respect Life Committee.
• Helpers of God's Precious Infants
Mass and prayer vigil at Planned Parenthood every third Saturday of the month. Mass is at 8 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Rosary prayer procession to Planned Parenthood. Benediction takes place upon return to the cathedral basilica. Sponsored by the Respect Life Apostolate. Visit www.stlrespectlife.org.
• "Show Me Life" Pro-life Action Day
Tuesday, March 13, at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Participants will lobby their legislators to encourage them to pass pro-life legislation. Featured speaker at the noon rally is Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee. Transportation is available. Sponsored by Missouri Right to Life. Call (573) 635-5110 or visit www.missourilife.org.