Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com) - More than 200 pro-life youth from across the country gathered in the nation's capital Monday to begin three days of prayer rallies and peaceful protests centered around the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion during all nine months of pregnancy.
"It's wrong to kill children in the womb. They are human beings, and they have souls that are very precious to God," said Therese Nazar, a teen from La Crosse, Wis. "They have a right to live."
The group gathered on a public sidewalk across the street from one of the Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in Washington, D.C., for more than an hour in a frigid wind praying, singing praise songs and hymns, and reading scriptures they believe prove that "God is pro-life."
"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses," said Fr. Tony Thurston, quoting from Deuteronomy 30:19. "Now choose life, that you and your descendants may live."
Brian Kemper - director of Rock For Life, a division of American Life League - told the youth attending the rally that Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations had misled them.
"That is not a women's 'health clinic,' and it's not a 'reproductive choice' place," Kemper said. "It's a place where babies are killed, and we want that to stop."
The group's solemn tactics are intended to paint a clear picture, Kemper said, of the difference between individuals who are "merely anti-abortion" and those he considers truly pro-life.
"We don't want to just cause a big ruckus here," Kemper explained. "We want people to see the love of God in what we represent here. We believe that the most powerful thing we can do is pray and worship."
The Planned Parenthood facility was closed in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., federal holiday; a fact that Kemper found peculiar.
"It's sort of ironic that they're closed celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who stood for peace and for human rights," Kemper said. "Maybe they need to look at what he taught about human rights."
Multiple calls to Planned Parenthood's office and media contact cellular telephones were not returned.
Challenging 'Spiritual Youth For Reproductive Freedom'
After their rally at the Planned Parenthood facility, the teens then walked several blocks to the office of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), which sponsors its own youth organization to promote abortion "rights."
"We think both sides of this issue should be able to live together in respect," said Marjorie Brahms Signer, director of communications for RCRC. "Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom (SYRF) is a good group."
"We know that the pro-abortion movement in this country has been founded on lies from the start," Thurston said. "We know what spirit is in favor of abortion, what spirit wants to break the bond between mother and child, what spirit is opposed to humanity and to life."
Signer rejected the label of "pro-abortion" being applied to RCRC or SYRF. The groups' websites identify them as "pro-faith, pro-choice" organizations.
"In cases of unplanned, unwelcome, difficult, whatever, a pregnancy that is a problem, as we used to say, or a crisis, that people should be free to decide what to do," Signer explained, "because a child who is born deserves love and care and respect."
Rock For Life supporter Kriya Herzog, a student from Colorado Springs, Colo., said she believes all babies deserve love, care and respect, whether they've been born yet or not.
"I'm honestly tired of seeing babies killed and seeing women hurt by abortion, and I just want to pray that God stops it," Herzog said.
Groups like SYRF support "choice" - argued Patrick Daub, a student from St. Louis, Mo. - only when the choice made is to end the life of an unborn child.
"They're taking the choice that the children have to live away from them," Daub said noting that one-third of his generation have lost their lives to abortion since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. "It's not fair to society that we have our friends and our future husbands or wives, or our nieces, nephews or cousins, taken away from us."
Rock For Life has prayer vigils, rallies, peaceful protests and concerts planned up to Wednesday's anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. RCRC has an "interfaith convocation" scheduled for Wednesday evening "to honor" women who have had abortions, abortion facility workers, pro-abortion activists and religious leaders who advocate abortion.
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