Pro-life groups hope for abortion-free Missouri

Hundreds of pro-life marchers took to the streets of Jefferson City Saturday morning, to rally against the right to have an abortion.

Around 800 people marched to the Missouri State Capitol for the fourth annual "Midwest March for Life". Volunteers and marchers were joined by pro-life groups including Coalition for Life, 40 Days for Life, Mizzou Students for Life, and Silent No More. Students from seven area high schools also joined the marchers.

"We want to come out here and look for ways to protect women," said Brian Westbrook of Coalition for Life. "We know that women are being hurt by abortion, and so we want to protect the women who are being hurt."

Three priests from mid-Missouri also joined the march. "If it's human, it has to have the same value as human life, in any situation in any stage of development, at any age," said Father Colin Franklin of St. Peter's Church in Jefferson City. "If we start saying some life matters more than others, it's a slippery slope."

Missouri only has one place were surgical abortions can be performed, a Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. The Planned Parenthood in Columbia stopped offering abortions in 2012 due to a lack of available doctors.

Cathy Fork of pro-life organization 40 Days for Life says, she hopes to see abortion disappear from Missouri altogether.

"We're going to be putting out an initiative to make Missouri become abortion free. We're going to mobilize the people by prayer, legislation, and activism to end abortion in Missouri."

The state's legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 519, which would extend Missouri's waiting period for abortions from 24 to 72 hours. Because Missouri only has one clinic that offers abortions, it would make it more difficult for women to receive such services if the bill passes.

There was an absense of pro-choice marchers at the Missouri State Capitol Saturday. KRCG13 attempted to contact NARAL and Planned Parenthood for comment but neither organization replied.

Many people participating in the march said if given the chance, they would be open to having a dialouge with those who support abortion rights.

"I would listen because both sides have good points," said high school student Torey Mueller. "But I still feel like abortion is wrong and that people should know that."