Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Thousands expected to attend pro-life rally

HARTFORD—Thousands of pro-life advocates of all faiths are expected to march on the State Capitol in Hartford on April 15 in a demonstration against abortion, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

The first Connecticut March for Life is being sponsored by the National March for Life organization in cooperation with the Connecticut Catholic Conference and the Family Institute of Connecticut.

Maureen Ciardiello, coordinator of Respect Life & Project Rachel for the Diocese of Bridgeport, said, “This will be an important event because it will show the pro-life movement is becoming more solidified and that people are willing to stand up and speak out and refuse to be suppressed by the secular media.”

She said the rally is an outgrowth of the successful March for Life in Washington DC, which is held in January to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

The National March for Life organization is promoting similar marches in every state in an effort to unify the movement and bring the pro-life community together. A march has already been held in Virginia and others are being planned.

The Connecticut march is particularly important because the General Assembly has been considering several measures that would legalize physician-assisted suicide and infringe on the rights of pro-life advocates, she said.

“There is a lot happening with legislation and end-of-life issues that are of concern,” she said. “They are also targeting pregnancy resource centers with discriminatory legislation that would limit their rights of free speech.”

According to the Department of Public Health, 9,294 abortions were performed in the state in 2018.

Connecticut is among 15 states that use taxpayer money to finance abortions under their Medicaid programs. The state is also one of six that does not require parental permission for a teenager to have a surgical abortion.

Over the past 20 years, there have been an estimated 140,000 abortions in Connecticut. The number of abortions has been steadily decreasing, following a national trend, the report said, and has declined by 32 percent in the past decade.

“The large number of abortions performed on low-income women is reflective of Planned Parenthood’s financial dependency on this population group and the state income it generates to the organization,” said Chris Healy, executive director of the Catholic Conference. “It is unfortunate that the political leaders in our state have never challenged the lower court’s ruling that is forcing many citizens to fund something that they find completely immoral and in direct conflict with their religious beliefs.”

“We don’t realize the damage that abortion does to women and the impact that it has on society,” Ciardiello said. “It affects all women, from the economically disadvantaged to women in affluent suburbs who choose abortion for any number of reasons, including convenience.”

Because the effects are long-lasting, she stressed the importance of the healing ministry of Project Rachel, which gives women a place where they can find compassion and begin the healing process.

The Connecticut March for Life will begin with a program at Bushnell Theater at 166 Capitol Avenue, followed by the march to the Capitol, where there will be a rally with pro-life speakers, who will include elected officials, priests and pastors, pregnancy center workers and people who will share their personal stories about abortion, adoption and pro-life activism.

Since the march will occur during spring break when schools are out of session, organizers are encouraging parents to bring their children to express support for protecting human life.

Ciardiello hopes to have several hundred people from the diocese attend the rally. Several parishes, including the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist in Stamford, will provide transportation.

The cost for the round trip on a bus provided by the diocese is $30. There will be several pickup locations, including the Catholic Center on Jewett Avenue in Bridgeport. A bus will leave from there about 8 am and leave from Hartford for the return trip at about 3 p.m. For information about buses to the rally and to register, visit rally.co/ct-march-for-life.

Schedule for Connecticut March for Life on April 15:

9:30 am: Doors open – Bushnell Theater, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06103

Assemble for a short pre-march program

10:00 am: Program begins at the Bushnell

11:15 am: 1st Official CT March for Life begins at the Bushnell

12:00 pm: 1st Official CT March for Life Rally begins at the State Capitol

(For more information about the march, visit www.ctmarchforlife.org.)

By Joe Pisani