Hartford Courant

2,500 protest abortion during March for Life

- By Alison Cross

Reinvigora­ted by the fall of Roe v. Wade, thousands of anti-abortion activists rallied outside the State Capitol Wednesday for the second annual Connecticu­t March for Life, pushing their dream of an abortion-free state.

Carrying religious iconograph­y, “Choose Life” signs, and ultrasound photos, protesters bussed in from across the state filled the Capitol’s North Lawn. A representa­tive from the Capitol Police estimated that 2,500 people joined the Hartford rally and march around Bushnell Park — an uptick from the hundreds of attendees counted in 2022.

Over cheers and applause, Peter Wolfgang, president of the Family Institute of Connecticu­t called that first march “the beginning of a new era for the pro-life movement in Connecticu­t.”

“What has happened since we met here last year? Roe versus Wade is over. And someday the 1990 law, still keeping abortion legal in Connecticu­t will be over too,” Wolfgang said. “Someday when we live in a Connecticu­t where every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life it will be because you are here today.”

Wolfgang and others attacked legislativ­e proposals to expand abortion protection­s in the state. Protestors locked in on what they described as “tax-payer funded abortion tourism” in H.B. 6618, a proposal to implement a “Safe Harbor Fund” that would cover certain costs for women who travel to Connecticu­t in search of a legal abortion.

Former politician Christophe­r Healy, the executive director of the Connecticu­t Catholic Conference, which co-hosted the event, emphasized civic engagement and contacting lawmakers to block legislatio­n. In addition to abortion, Healy also opposed medical aid-in-dying and urged attendees to “stop the culture of death that

permeates our society, our state, and our neighborho­od.”

“Your voices, when they’re told directly to a lawmaker, a state legislator or a state senator, will be heard, especially if you do it over and over again,” Healy said. “You’ve got to urge others. It’s not just an email, it’s not just leaving a message, it’s asking for an audience.”

The sole lawmaker to address the crowd was Democratic State Rep. Treneé Mcgee, whose remarks emphasized “creating a culture of life” by investing in women, mothers, children and education.

“As I think about the 69 million abortions that have taken place, and how 19 million of them were Black children, I think about my community. It becomes very personal to me,” Mcgee said. “We’ve learned that when we create safe environmen­ts, women feel safe to have children, carry life, and produce life. So in creating a culture of life, we have to care about one another.”

Several women in the femaleheav­y lineup of speakers spoke against beliefs that equate reproducti­ve freedom with feminism.

“I went off to college and was surrounded by so-called feminists who convinced me that women’s empowermen­t meant full access to abortion without restrictio­ns,” march director Erin Getz of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. “Abortion harms women physically, mentally, emotionall­y.”

Melissa Manion, who had an abortion before joining the pro-life movement, spoke about “stolen fatherhood.”

“The anthem is ‘my body, my choice’ and although we hear a lot about the fact that there is an entirely separate body involved, we never hear about stolen fatherhood,” Manion said. “I decided to have an abortion without my boyfriend’s knowledge or consent. I called Planned Parenthood and made that appointmen­t…when my boyfriend came home happy as usual I looked him in the face and essentiall­y told him, ‘I am ending the life of our child and there’s nothing you can do about it.’”

Making their way towards

Bushnell Park, anti-abortion marchers crossed paths with a small group of counter-demonstrat­ors bearing rainbow flags and signs in support of reproducti­ve choice.

“We felt that we had to have a presence here,” Barb Kapustynsk­i of the Norwalk Actions for Reproducti­ve Justice said.

As the masses marched on, Kapustynsk­i and Melissa Murray said that the crowd is not indicative of the Connecticu­t electorate.

“We know the majority of voters actually are for abortion and see abortion as healthcare,” Murray said. “We know what happens when women can’t choose their lives. It’s important to allow women to have the healthcare to choose their lives and make their own decisions.

 ?? AARON FLAUM/HARTFORD COURANT ?? Supporters gather for the second annual Connecticu­t March for Life rally at the Connecticu­t State Capitol on Wednesday.
AARON FLAUM/HARTFORD COURANT Supporters gather for the second annual Connecticu­t March for Life rally at the Connecticu­t State Capitol on Wednesday.

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