Hundreds of people from St. Michael Catholic Church and local anti-abortion advocacy groups lined the sidewalks surrounding Jesse Jewell and E.E. Butler Parkway on Sunday in a silent protest of abortions in America. It’s part of a national effort called “Life Chain.”
For the last 29 years, churches and groups from nearly 500 communities across the United States have taken one hour, on one day a year, to stand in a synchronized protest of abortion.
“It all comes down to the value of life,” said Tony Maturo, pro-life chairman for St. Michael Catholic Church. “We hope that this inspires, even if it is just one person.”
The different congregations spent the hour Sunday in silent prayer, each person holding one sign, or several, all emblazoned with pro-life slogans like; “Adoption, the Loving Option,” “Jesus Forgives and Heals” and “Abortion Kills Children.”
Many of the congregation members emphasized that they were not at the protest in any judgmental or condemning capacity, explaining that their mission was one of silent protest and prayer.
“We don’t get to judge. It’s not our place to judge. Only God judges,” said Felicia Newton.
Newton, a member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church, said she hopes to possibly inspire someone else.
“All I want is to catch someone’s eye who is thinking about that and help them realize there are other choices,” Newton said.
Others expressed sentiments similar to hers, wishing to help and support expectant mothers who are possibly facing hard decisions, while reminding the public of their message.
“We’re not trying to do nothing to no one, just here to pray for them,” said Gainesville resident and St. Michael member Luis Alberto.
Maturo said the group has been participating in the yearly Life Chain event for the past 25 years and that it will likely keep attending until laws change.
“Abortion might be legal in America, but it’s not legal in God’s eyes,” Maturo said.