Annual Right to Life rally at Elkhart's Lerner Theatre draws 150

January 16, 2016

About 150 people attended the fifth annual Rally and March for Life at the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart on Saturday.

The program, sponsored by Elkhart County Right to Life and Holy Innocents Pro-Life Action Group, included a keynote speaker and testimonies of women who had abortions and are now speaking out against the practice.

Representatives of different faiths around the county gathered at the Lerner for prayer and reflection about abortion practices around the country.

“Regardless of denomination, we can come together for the lives of the unborn,” Gregg Lanzen, a pastor for First Baptist Church of Goshen, said during a prayer.

The keynote speaker, Steve Karlen of the Texas-based 40 Days for Life, told personal stories of how he came to be an anti-abortion activist, as well as the good work that 40 Days for Life does.

Karlen said the group organizes volunteers to stand outside abortion clinics for 40 days straight, praying and counseling people who are considering getting an abortion.

The group has a three-point program that consists of community outreach, praying and fasting, and constant vigil, Karlen said.

“That’s why we’re all here today,” Karlen said. “To prevent even one more life from being lost, one more heart breaking from abortion.”

Following Karlen, three women from Silent No More gave their personal stories of having abortions. They stood on the Lerner Theatre stage to support one another while holding signs reading “I regret my abortion.”

Audience members then gathered in the lobby to march through downtown Elkhart.

The march, led by the Elkhart County Right to Life, headed north on Main Street from the theater, turning west on High Street, down to the Reason Enough to Act office on the corner of High and Third streets.

As the group marched, mostly quiet but with occasional singing of gospel songs and talking, passers-by honked and yelled encouragement.

The marchers were led in prayer at the Reason Enough To Act office before marching up Third Street to the Women’s Care Center at the corner of Marion and Third streets, where they again said a short prayer before breaking.

Cindy Robertson, an organizer for the rally and a board member for Elkhart County Right to Life, said the event was a success.

“I thought it went very well, I thought that the speaker’s message of reaching out to one more life, one more heart, was very powerful,” Robertson said.

“It inspired us that, yes, we’re here to make that difference, even if we can save one life, if we can prevent one heart from stopping beating, that’s a very powerful thing. Every life is wonderful, irreplaceable.”

Robertson said that attendance dipped slightly from last year but that it was expected because of other events scheduled around the area. 

She said that the people who participated are dedicated to the pro-life movement and want to help those considering abortions, as well as change the minds of government officials and other groups that support legal abortions.

“We would like to change hearts toward compassion for life and education that this is really life in the womb of every mother,” she said.

“We must speak up and speak out and love.”