The hour-long rally included a prayer, led by Father Mark Hanifan of St. Albert’s Catholic Church in Reno, and speaker Theresa Cobb of Reno.
“This is a human rights issue,” Hanifan said. “It effects every human being.”
Hanifan rallied the prayerful, silent group to reflect on the meaning of abortion. “We have the truth on our side,” Hanifan said.
“The womb is designed for another person only,” he said.
Cobb, who said she had undergone three abortion procedures in the past, including one at the West End Women’s Medical Clinic, talked emotionally about her experience.
“I did what so many women do. I surrounded myself with people to justify the choice,” Cobb said. “I then went on to have two more.”
Cobb said she became a born-again Christian and was stunned when she first heard someone call the procedure “murder.”
“I pulled over and talked to Jesus,” Cobb said. “As far as forgiving myself, I would not do that yet.”
Keelin Grant, 18, of Reno watched at Cobb related her experiences. She attended the rally with her mother and grandparents.
“I’m out here today because I strongly believe in life and I believe life begins at conception. I am very Catholic. I always believe in my heart that killing a baby is wrong. I can’t understand what the mothers are ever going through.”
Another attendee, Janet Hamill of Reno, had tears in her eyes.
“I’m Catholic. My mother had nine pregnancies. With her last child, she was 47. Her doctor asked her to get an abortion,” Hamill said. “The child was perfect. She’s my inspiration. I want people to know.”
The 40 Days of Life campaign will officially start Feb. 22 and run until April 1. The event will include prayer, fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach and be held in 258 cities across the U.S., in 44 states and the District of Columbia, Canada, Australia, England, Ireland and Spain.
The Reno/Tahoe event will be launched in Carson City in from of the Planned Parenthood facility, said Paul Turner, media coordinator for the campaign.
In Reno, the 40 days of peaceful vigil will include standing as public witness outside the West End Women’s Medical Clinic on Tyrone Street.
Although the crowd met with no resistance from clinic workers, permanent signs posted at the clinic blared out at the group. Pro-life advocates regularly stand outside the clinic every week to say prayers, said Reno resident Merrie Grant. Grant started protesting at the clinic in 2006.
The clinic, staffed by doctor Damon L. Stutes, M.C., was equipped with iron fencing. Behind the barriers were signs that read, “Pray to End Child Molestation By Priests,” “Guns Don’t Kill People Radical Pro-Lifers Kill People,” “Pray to End Sidewalk Bullying,” “The Protesters are Terrorists.”
Stutes was not available at the clinic Saturday for comment.
To learn more about the 40 Days of Life, visit http://www.40daysforlife.com/blog/.