Anti-abortion advocates rallied Thursday at the state Capitol to “honor the lives lost to abortion.”
The March for Life event attracted about 650 people from religious groups, elementary schools and nonprofit organizations. The gathering came less than a week before the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman’s legal right to an abortion. This year’s theme was “Ohana begins with conception.”
The event was co-sponsored by Hawaii Life Alliance and Diocesan Respect Life.
Janet Hochberg, executive director of Hawaii Life Alliance, said the rally was to encourage anti-abortion advocates and key lawmakers to consider alternatives.
“We raise our voice,” Hochberg said in an interview. “We raise them passionately and nonjudgmentally. We raise them because we know many young girls and women have been affected by abortions.”
The rally included displays offering alternatives like adoption, foster care and legal and mental health counseling. Some advocates of various ages lined up along South Beretania Street to wave signs reading, “Take my hand, not my life” and “Pray to end abortion.”
State Rep. Gene Ward (R, Kalama Valley-Hawaii Kai) and state Sen. Kurt Favella (R, Ewa Bach-Iroquois Point) came to support the advocates.
Favella said he will introduce a bill this legislative session that aims to tackle abortion in Hawaii or, in his words, “develop the interest of human life.”
“I’m totally in support of this cause,” Favella said. “If it wasn’t for my mom having me, I wouldn’t be here. Doctors have told my mom that she could have died giving birth to me. Thank God she didn’t.”
Former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona Jr. also was at the rally.
“We hope that people will understand our message on life,” Aiona said in an interview. “It’s not about being against anything; it’s just being something that you’re for.”
Advocates said they want to encourage options like adoption.
Waipahu resident Orison Perez, 33, is a father of four, and two of his kids are adopted. He said “it’s a blessing.”
“There are many options, and there are many couples from all kinds of background out there that are looking into adopting,” he said. “Don’t just terminate a life because that’s what society wants you to do. … We are all created with purpose, and we are all created for a reason and we we all deserve the opportunity to live.”
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