By: Taylor Lewis and Rebecca DeLuna
Oxford, Miss. – Trying to keep up momentum from the last anti-abortion rally, Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-life Action League, has set Feb. 11, 2017 as the date for the next nationwide rally.
The anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 27 drew an estimated 500,000 people, according to USA Today. The nationwide rally on Feb. 11 is expected to gather crowds similar in size.
According to Amy Lewis, Executive Director of External Affairs for Plan Parenthood Greater Memphis Region, many Plan Parenthood supporters participated in the women’s march in Washington, D.C.
“We sent a strong message that millions of people across this country are prepared to fight attacks on reproductive health care, abortion services, and access to Planned Parenthood health centers,” Lewis said.
Scheidler referring to the upcoming anti-abortion rally, “So far we have 163 rallies taking place in 43 states, so it’s really hard to guess the amount of people that will attend,” said Scheidler. “We expect tens to thousands of people to come out in protest and we’re working hard to get the word out.”
According to Scheidler, three organizations are the main collaborators on the Protest Plan Parenthood effort and the nationwide rally taking place on Feb.11: Pro-life Action League, Created Equal based in Ohio, and Citizens for Pro-life Society based in Michigan.
“Those three groups have joined together with the collation of over 60 Pro-life groups around the country that are part of this effort,” Scheidler said.
Despite such a large projection of crowds and an increase in promoting of such rallies, there are currently no rallies scheduled in Mississippi for Feb. 11. The sole location of Planned Parenthood in Miss. is in Hattiesburg.
The battle for and against Planned Parenthood has intensified in recent weeks and with rally crowds growing in size, all Mississippians can do is watch from the sidelines or travel to the battleground.
Although there are no rallies planned to take place in Miss. on Feb. 11, “individuals can apply to be a Pro-Life rally leader at protestpp.com or can attend a rally in a nearby state,” Scheidler said.
Ole Miss Rebels for Life, a UM student organization that focuses on pro-life efforts among the student body and Oxford community, attended the Washington rally, but is not planning on attending any rallies on Feb. 11.
Page Lagarde, a junior at UM, was one of several UM students who attended the anti-abortion rally in Washington with the Ole Miss Rebels for Life.
“It was an amazing experience to march alongside an estimated 500,000-800,000 other people who all share the same fundamental conviction — that every person deserves the right to life, including the unborn,” Lagarde said in an email describing the rally.
“We remain committed to delivering vital health care services and education to women, men, and young people, no matter what,” Lewis defended.