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Abp. Aymond: Be a voice for voiceless

BATON ROUGE, La. – Several thousand people walked through downtown Baton Rouge from the Old State Capitol to the current capitol Saturday Jan. 12 to personally show their support for life, especially the life of the unborn child.

The 2013 Louisiana Life March marked the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that declared a woman has the right to end a pregnancy, which Louisiana Right to Life intends to overturn.

The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion had a greater effect on this country than was anticipated, said Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond in his keynote address. Because of the decision, 55 million babies have been aborted.

“Who would have thought that would happen?” the archbishop asked. 

“God has already breathed life into these and called them his own,” Archbishop Aymond said. “Now the people are the voice for the children and those who believe in life for all must carry God’s message to the world.”

There’s power in words

When a woman who was 7 1/2 months pregnant was murdered and her baby was killed, “journalists who reported did not refer to the baby as a child but as a fetus,” Archbishop Aymond said, calling attention to the way the media does not acknowledge that an unborn child is a human being.

He encouraged those attending the rally to enter into dialogue with those who do not believe in the sanctity of life and to pray that God will change their hearts.

“Support those who have had an abortion,” he said. “Help them to start over by letting them know God gives second and third chances because God is a God of peace and reconciliation. This state is very pro life, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Jeannie McAndrew and her son Brennen McAndrew had a special message about the effect of abortion for the crowd of 3,000. Jeannie became pregnant when she was a freshman at Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU). Afraid to tell anyone in her family that she was pregnant because the pregnancy had come from “a one-night stand,” she had an abortion. She had kept her abortion secret until her son Brennen returned from one of his trips to Washington, D.C., for the annual pro-life rally protesting the Roe vs. Wade decision.

Son is a pro-life advocate

At the time a student at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Brennen McAndrew, who is now a student at SLU, talked of his desire to become actively involved in the pro-life movement.

“I am proud to be from Louisiana, the most pro-life state,” he said upon his return from one of his trips.

Listening to her son talk, Jeannie McAndrew’s eyes filled with tears. Then she told him of her abortion, which was on Jan. 27, 1991. Brennen McAndrew was born Jan. 27, 1993.

Jeannie McAndrew told the Louisiana Life March participants she suffered from post-abortion stress disorder following her abortion.

“The baby I aborted was a shadow child, and I needed a replacement baby,” she said. “What I did was not natural, and I needed to give birth.”

In his address, Brennen McAndrew said he believes because he was not aborted he has a mission to speak out for life and against abortion.

“I am here to put an end to abortion in Louisiana and the nation,” he said, knowing that it is not going to be easy.

Research states that one in three women will have an abortion by the time she is 45, stated Jeannie McAndrew. Because of the culture in which today’s women have grown up, youth do not have many anti-abortion role models.

“The youth look to us,” said Jeannie McAndrew.

Adoption is a major factor in bringing an end to abortion, said Gene Mills, director of the Louisiana Family Forum. Archbishop Aymond also mentioned the importance of adoption in his remarks.

Laura Deavers is editor of The Catholic Commentator.