Natalie Hoefer
The Criterion
January 11, 2018 // Special

Abby Johnson to speak at inaugural Indiana March for Life

Natalie Hoefer
The Criterion

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the Diocese of Lafayette and Right to Life of Indianapolis are teaming up to offer the inaugural Indiana March for Life on Jan. 22 in Indianapolis, with multiple events taking place during the day.

The event — which is open to all Indiana dioceses and residents — solemnly recalls the legalization of abortion in the United States 45 years ago through the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions on Jan. 22, 1973.

Abby Johnson speaks on Sept. 17, 2013, during the Right to Life of Indianapolis “Celebrate Life” dinner in Indianapolis. Johnson will speak Jan. 22 at a pro-life rally at 2:30 p.m. at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis during the inaugural Indiana March for Life, and again during a Youth Rally and Holy Hour from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis. — Natalie Hofer

Below is the schedule of events:

—Noon: Mass concelebrated by Archbishop Charles C. Thompson and Lafayette Bishop Timothy L. Doherty at St. John the Evangelist Church, 126 W. Georgia St., Indianapolis.

—1:30 p.m.: March for Life starting at the Indiana Convention Center on Capital Avenue, across from St. John Church, and processing around the Statehouse (about one-half mile).

—2:30-4 p.m.: Pro-life rally on the south steps of the Statehouse building. Among the speakers will be Archbishop Thompson; Brian Bosma, House speaker and state representative; Sue Swayze-Leibel, coordinator of the Susan B. Anthony List’s National Women’s Pro-Life Caucus; Anna Allgaier, Great Lakes regional coordinator for Students for Life of America; and a representative of the office of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.

—4 p.m.: Rose Memorial Service in memory of lives lost to abortion, held in the Statehouse or on the south steps of the Statehouse, with a keynote address from internationally acclaimed pro-life advocate Abby Johnson. Johnson is a former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. She later realized the truth about abortion and is now a Catholic and an outspoken advocate for the pro-life cause.

—6:30-8:30 p.m.: Youth Rally and Holy Hour at St. John the Evangelist Church, with a talk by Abby Johnson, plus eucharistic Exposition and Benediction, music, Scripture and quiet time.

Special parking for buses will be available along the west and south sides of Victory Field baseball stadium’s parking lot, accessible from West Street and Schumacher Way, just off West Washington Street.

A local and state-based movement

The idea for the new event took root early last spring when the Diocese of Lafayette — which had no official Roe v. Wade commemoration — approached the Archdiocese of Indianapolis about a combined event.

Even prior to the north-central Indiana diocese approaching the archdiocese, “There had been conversations for years about how different pro-life organizations were each doing their own thing for [Jan. 22],” said Scott Seibert, interim director of the archdiocesan Office of Pro-Life and Family Life. “With opportunities like this, we should be coming together and sharing our voice in solidarity and unity with one another.”

Not only is a central Indiana event closer than the National March for Life in Washington held each year on Jan. 22, but “the pro-life movement is becoming more and more a local- and state-based movement and less of a national movement,” noted Right to Life of Indianapolis President Marc Tuttle. “It’s important to have that Indiana statement that we Hoosiers support life.”

Susan Hoefer, Natural Family Planning coordinator for the Diocese of Lafayette, said that although the March for Life in Washington “is an awesome experience, this [Indiana March for Life] is a good way to recognize that it’s not just Washington, D.C., that makes laws that affect pro-life issues — it’s our state as well that makes laws that can affect what Planned Parenthood does and around life and death issues.

“This Indiana March for Life is an important reminder that we should be working on a statewide level to make sure that even here [in Indiana] we take steps to protect all human life.”

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