Locals to join pro-life march

St. Augustine of Caterbury R.C. Church sends bus to D.C. rally.

By: Sharlee Joy DiMenichi
   The Supreme Court decision asserting a woman’s constitutional right to abortion turns 31 today and members of St. Augustine’s of Canterbury R.C. Church in Kendall Park plan to join a march on Washington to mark the anniversary and call for an end to legal abortions.
   About 50 members of the Henderson Road church participate annually in the demonstration, which usually sees about 250,000 marchers. The march has been an annual event since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in 1973, said Anne D’Angiolillo, who coordinates the church’s participation in the march.
   In the decision, the Supreme Court held that denying access to abortion violates the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment mandates that before citizens or naturalized people can be deprived of life, liberty or property, due process of law —for instance, a trial — must be granted. The court viewed preventing women from having abortions as depriving them of liberty without due process.
   To Ms. D’Angiolillo, the issue is not one of constitutionality, but of life and death.
   "What motivates me is the fact that all life is sacred," said Ms. D’Angiolillo, who also runs Action Pregnancy Center, a crisis pregnancy center in New Brunswick.
   Catholic teaching holds that life begins as soon as sperm and egg unite and prohibits using contraceptives.
   Demonstrators at St. Augustine’s plan to meet at 6:30 a.m. for Mass before leaving for Washington, D.C., where they expect to gather in front of the Supreme Court building to pray and hold signs protesting the decision, Ms. D’Angiolillo said.
   Ms. D’Angiolillo said she and fellow demonstrators, many of whom are young students, seek to raise public awareness of what they regard as the mass killing of unborn children.
   There were approximately 1 million abortions in the United States in 2001, according to estimates by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research center, and population data from the U.S. census.
   The Alan Guttmacher Institute reports that 21 American women for every 1,000 age 15 to 40 years old had abortions in 2001. According to census figures there were approximately 10.4 million American women age 15 to 40 in 2001.
   Donna Canvin, a member of St. Augustine’s who has attended the march and volunteers answering the hotline at Action Pregnancy Center, said she became involved in the church’s anti-abortion activities because she feels obligated to protect children and fetuses.
   Ms. Canvin said march participation has been a family event in previous years. Her 16-year-old son has joined her at the demonstration and all four of her children oppose abortion, she said.
   "Once they learned about what was happening, that women were killing their children because they were not educated, they became proponents of pro-life," Ms. Canvin said.
   Before Roe v. Wade, laws in many states prohibited abortion except in cases where having a baby would threaten the mother’s life.
   Ms. D’Angiolillo, who has nine children and has had several miscarriages, said she does not believe carrying to term is ever truly a threat to a woman’s life.
   Ms. D’Angiolillo said she also opposes abortion in cases of rape because aborting a fetus amounts to another violation of the rape victim.
   "It’s a violent, violent act performed on this poor girl, so then you’re going to have another violent act committed against her," Ms. D’Angiolillo said.
   She said she did not believe rape victims or the fetuses conceived during sexual assaults should be punished for the crime of the rapist.
   "That baby didn’t ask to have that happen and neither did the girl," Ms. D’Angiolillo said.
   Ms. D’Angiolillo said she recommends adoption to rape victims who would find raising a baby conceived in an assault to be traumatic.
   She said the marchers would continue their annual presence outside the Supreme Court building until abortion is outlawed in the United States.
   Ms. D’Angiolillo said she hopes her efforts to prevent what she regards as the loss of innocent life will enable her to be at peace when God calls her to account for her actions after she dies.
   "We’re all going to have to stand before the Lord someday," Ms. D’Angiolillo said.