More than 400 gather for anti-abortion rally in Atlanta

Hundreds participated in the anti-abortion Georgia March for Life on Wednesday, marking the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Hundreds participated in the anti-abortion Georgia March for Life on Wednesday, marking the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

More than 400 people marched from the state Capitol to protest abortion Wednesday at the Georgia March for Life.

The annual event, sponsored by the anti-abortion group Georgia Right to Life, is held on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe. v. Wade, which legalized abortion.

Wednesday’s rally was the first Georgia March for Life since the state Legislature passed a law that bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, except for in cases of rape, incest or life of the mother. Georgia Right to Life does not support the law because the organization does not support exceptions to the abortion ban.

The law has since been blocked in court, and some anti-abortion activists hope it will be taken to the Supreme Court to eventually overturn Roe v. Wade.

Perimeter Christian School Principal David Goodrich hopes Georgia’s law will help overturn Roe v. Wade. He brought a group of middle school students to the rally because they “value life at conception” and believe “all men are created in the image of God.”

Many other participants in the March for Life also brought children. Caroline Smith, from Covington, said she chose to bring her family because “we believe all life is created by God for a purpose — we want to respect the life God creates.”

Brian Cochran, a recent Georgia Tech graduate and president of the campus organization Students for Life at Tech, attended the rally and says his priority is to “save children’s lives” and he is not focused on overturning Roe v. Wade.

Jonas Byrne of Bethlehem, another attendee, is also not focused on overturning the Supreme Court decision. He said that while he would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, he does not think it is likely to happen. He traces his support of anti-abortion groups to his Christian faith.

“Everyone who doesn’t do what God says faces eternal damnation,” he said.

Byrne also said he paid for an abortion.

“God forgives me, but what I did was so wrong,” he said while tearing up.

Democratic state Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick said that she respects the group’s “right to peacefully rally” but said she “thinks it is unfortunate they haven’t kept up with the times, that most Americans support women’s right to choose.”

Georgia Right to Life President Ricardo Davis delivered an opening address to the crowd, where he said he didn’t want the anti-abortion movement to lose momentum with the passage of “bills and court decisions.”

“We cannot rest,” Davis said. “We cannot fail to teach our children and grandchildren that every child is loved and treated as a person with an inalienable right to life.”