LANSING — Hundreds of anti-abortion protesters gathered at Michigan’s Capitol on Saturday, rallying against abortion following a year of significant wins nationally and setbacks in Michigan.
The Roe v. Wade Memorial March organized by Protect Life Michigan and Right to Life Michigan included several speakers, and a march in downtown Lansing around the Capitol. Leaders said they were focusing on drawing younger people out for the event, which attracted several hundred people despite the cold weather.
Joseph Plant, a junior at Father Gabriel Richard High School in Ann Arbor, said he’s excited to be a part of the “pro-life generation.”
"I’m out here to support support life because I think it's so important to step up, especially in these times,” Plant said. “It's almost like we have a culture of death these days and everyone is supporting all these negative things — and I think to be that voice to help change is just the most important thing we can do right now."
Protesters celebrated 2022’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning of Roe v. Wade, but also decried Michigan's 2022 voter-approved constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to abortion, known as Proposal 3.
Despite abortion rights policies being passed on the state level, Plant said, “in the future, we’ll just come back stronger than ever.”
Karyn Koenigsknecht, 63, said she joined the anti-abortion movement after the passage of Proposal 3.
“I've been pro-life most of my adult life, and so I just familiarized myself with Protect Life Michigan and I love the work that they're doing,” she said, holding a “baby lives matter” sign. “They're getting a lot of young people involved.”
Koenigsknecht said the number of young faces at the event left her optimistic about the movement’s future.
“It’s very emotional to hear these young people — I think they’re very courageous,” she said. “And I want to support them in their work.”
Several organizers spoke at the event, including Cornerstone University freshman Emilia Vriesman.
“Young people are seeing the horrific human rights violations taking place in our country, and we are demanding better for women and children,” she told those gathered. “We are fighting for the unborn in our schools, on our campuses and in our communities.”
Speakers and attendees also discussed the next steps forward after Proposal 3’s passage, which could only be overturned through another constitutional amendment campaign.
“Remember that God used us and those who came before us to overturn Roe v. Wade, and lord willing we can take this down, too,” Vriesman said.
Mary Carmen Zakrajsek, Great Lakes regional coordinator for Students for Life in America, said she wasn’t deterred by Michigan’s 2022 election results.
“The pro-life movement is going to continue our efforts,” she said. “We know that we're not going to be weighed down by one election or two elections, that our mission is not only to make abortion illegal, but unthinkable.”
Zakrajsek said the anti-abortion movement isn’t just about ending abortion in the country, but pushing policies that support families.
“We have a ‘love them both’ policy, so we love the woman and we love the child,” she said. “Making sure we have good maternity leave, making sure we have systems in place to support women who maybe have low-income salary and need extra additional care for their children.
“The pro-life movement — it's the greatest cause of our day,” Zakrajsek continued. “And we will continue fighting, both in law and in service, to protect women and children from the violence of abortion.”
This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Anti-abortion protestors gather at the Michigan state Capitol