NEW CASTLE —
For Diane Marcella, abortion is a chilling topic.
Last night, she and others who share her conviction got some weather to go with it.
The local chapter of People Concerned for the Unborn Child scheduled its 27th annual Light a Candle for Life prayer service on Kennedy Square. The purpose is to light 1,000 luminaria in memory of children lost to abortion before adjourning to the adjacent Family Worship Center for prayer, music and testimony.
However, temperatures in the teens, and snow whipped by a bone-chilling wind, cut things short. A sampling of luminaria were set up around the lip of the fountain, and sisters Hattie, 4, and Liberty, 12, Broschart made a couple of snow angels “for the babies,” then it was straight into the basement of the former First Christian Church.
“Tomorrow will mark the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court abortion decisions,” Marcella said inside. “On that date, seven of the nine justices made abortion legal in America. They gave a terrible right to women — the right to destroy their unborn children.
“In the 40 years since, 55,808,387 American baby boys and girls have been lost to that decision by seven men.”
The annual downtown vigil, she said, is an attempt to blunt the impact of that ruling, to change hearts of parents considering termination their pregnancies and to embrace women who are suffering in the aftermath of abortion.
“In the past 27 years, we’ve placed 68,000 luminaria at Kennedy Square,” she said. “Thousands of prayers have been offered on the square and here.
“And all those who have been here have gone home and we hope they’ve been lights in the darkness of abortion.”
Across Pennsylvania, the message seems to be getting through. According to statistics from the state’s Department of Health, 36,280 abortions took place in 2011 across the commonwealth. That’s a decrease of 498 (1.4 percent) from 2010, and a 44.8 percent decrease from the all-time high of 65,77 in 1980.
Americans United for Life labels Pennsylvania third best on its 2012 Rankings for Life, behind only Louisiana and Oklahoma.
In Lawrence County, there were 1,043 reported pregnancies in 2011. Out those, 101 ended in abortion, including 52 for women between the ages of 20 and 29.
Last night’s service at Family Worship Center included prayer by the Rev. Thomas Lewandowski, the Rev. George Yates and the Rev. Kris Kauffman of the host church.
Pro-life music also was performed, and several individuals whose lives had been touched by abortion or problem pregnancies shared their testimony.
David Farone, whose son Mark lives with Down’s syndrome, questioned those who react to such an in-utero diagnosis with a decision to abort.
“Our forefathers, in the Constitution, talked about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” he said. “They didn’t say happiness, liberty, life.
“Life comes first. I’m a little confused why we as a country have forgotten that.”