Nearly 400 people accepted an invitation from the Knoxville chapter of Tennessee Right to Life to march from the Tennessee Amphitheater in World’s Fair Park through Fort Sanders and past the only facility in Knoxville that performs surgical abortions, the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health.
The annual March for Life commemorated the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Roe vs. Wade case that legalized abortion for every woman and girl during all nine months of a pregnancy.
Before marching from World’s Fair Park and down Clinch Avenue to 16th Street in the Fort Sanders community, the pro-life congregation heard remarks from Pastor Dan Riley of Calvary Baptist Church, Pastor Rocky Ramsey of Corryton Baptist Church, Stacy Dunn of Tennessee Right to Life, and Father John Dowling, pastor of Holy Ghost Church.
Mrs. Dunn thanked those in attendance for remaining true to the spirit of the march and sacrificing the sanctuary of Calvary Baptist, which for years hosted the local March for Life.
“We miss Calvary Baptist Church; we miss the warmth and convenience. But we know this is where we need to be for the babies and their moms,” Mrs. Dunn said.
Mrs. Dunn, who was a state coordinator for the Yes on 1 campaign that resulted in the passage of Amendment 1 on Nov. 4 that changed the Tennessee Constitution, allowing the state legislature to pass laws regulating abortion facilities, pointed out that Amendment 1 did not pass in any of the state’s major cities.
“We want to take our pro-life message to the heart of our city,” she said, explaining why the March for Life route changed from Kingston Pike and Concord Street to Fort Sanders near the University of Tennessee campus.
Quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Riley said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”“I have a new grandson, and I want that grandson, and I want your grandchildren and your children to hear when they ask you what did you do before they stopped abortion. I want you to have an answer, to say that you were involved, that you made a difference,” Rev. Riley said. “We are the generation, I pray, that will be known to be those who brought an end to abortion.”
Dr. Ramsey pointed out that in the United States it is against federal law to crush an eagle’s egg because the mass of cells inside the egg are an eagle.
“But an entirely opposite way of thinking is brought to bear when a mother is carrying a child in the womb. How does that make any sense? Scripture teaches us that children are a gift from God. The Bible teaches us that God forms us in our mothers’ wombs,” Dr. Ramsey said.
In closing remarks and a closing prayer, Father Dowling stressed the need for today’s culture to recognize the significance of life and how each life is precious because it is created in God’s image.
As marchers filed onto Clinch Avenue, the 380 people in attendance lined the sidewalk and stretched for blocks. The marchers included men and women of all ages, children, pastors, and women religious with the Diocese of Knoxville.