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Demonstration promotes pro-life campaign

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Encouraged by participation of people spanning a wide range of ages, Carroll Area Iowans for Life President Eugene Handlos said Sunday afternoon’s Life Chain in Carroll demonstrated that the campaign continues momentum toward its goal of protecting all life from conception to natural death.

The Life Chain in Carroll drew 65 participants, who lined Highway 30 in the Carroll County Courthouse area. They displayed signs with such messages as “Stop Abortion Now,” “Abortion Hurts Women,” “Women Do Regret Abortion” and “Abortion Kills Children.”

“We’re for life, all the way from conception to natural death,” Handlos said.

He said there have been legislative victories lately in a number of states, although some of those face court challenges.

“We wish it were completely the way our thoughts are,” he said, “but we’ll take the little victories and keep on seeking complete victory — the complete end to abortion and killing of any kind.”

He added, “We’re encouraged to see that different facilities that perform abortions are closing. We don’t have one here in Carroll, but that doesn’t mean if we don’t let our guard down that one wouldn’t pop up. So we want to make sure we’re constantly creating awareness and not allowing things like that to happen.”

Life Chain participants ranged from elementary-school students to senior adults.

Although he’s participated in a number of other Life Chains in previous years, for Father Patrick Behm it was his first time in the Carroll event. Behm recently became the new chaplain in Kuemper Catholic School System and parochial vicar for St. John Paul II Parish.

“I was impressed with both the turnout and the overwhelmingly supportive gestures from drivers passing by,” Behm said. “Most people waved, gave a thumbs-up or enthusiastically honked their horn in support for life.”

As part of Respect Life Month in October, Life Chains were held Sunday in hundreds of cities across the U.S. and Canada. Behm said Life Chains help keep focus on the abortion issue.

“There’s only one segment of society where it is legal to intentionally take the life of another human being, the unborn,” Behm said. “The more we can raise public awareness of this reality, the better. It’s also a visual reminder to women in crisis pregnancies that there is help available and that there are many alternatives to abortion. Oftentimes, women feel that abortion is the only way out of an unplanned pregnancy. We want to remind women that they have choices and that they have help available.”

Handlos said, “We have to be visible, we have to voice our opinions, we have to vote, show our support for what we believe.”

Carroll Area Iowans for Life is active in other ways throughout the year, such as providing pro-life materials to Kuemper School and the Carroll Catholic Religious Education program and helping fund cost for students and chaperones to travel to Washington, D.C., in January to participate in the annual March for Life, held on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision in 1974 that legalized abortion.

Last year more than 40 Kuemper students participated in the march, and Behm said plans are to take a bus of students again in 2020.

Behm, who said he’s attended the March for Life as many as seven years, commented, “My experience with young people is that when they learn the truth about abortion and what it is, when they see ultrasound images of unborn babies, when they realize that they’ve survived Roe versus Wade, they are almost unanimously pro-life. We’re going to keep working until the unborn have legal protection in our society.”

Handlos noted that area residents are welcome also to participate in Witness for Life prayer gatherings held from noon to 1 p.m. daily Sept. 26 to Nov. 3, in front of the courthouse.

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