RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Virginia Capitol Police say roughly 6,500 people turned out at the state capitol for the inaugural “March for Life” rally of Virginia.
The rally and march comes two months after Governor Ralph Northam’s controversial comments on late-term abortions following a proposed bill that failed in subcommittee.
Speakers from various pro-life organizations including The Radiance Foundation, March for Life, Society for Human Life and The Family Foundation rallied the crowd.
The voices of thousands chanting “Life” echoed across the state Capitol Wednesday.
People from all over the state making their voices heard about their stance on abortion.
“I believe that from conception a baby is a life, and it’s so important that we save those lives,” said Kristy Plourde, of Williamsburg.
There were stories of survival.
“A nurse willingly, courageously, rushed me off to the NICU that day unwilling to just leave me there to die despite the demands to do so,” said Melissa Ohden, who survived a saline infusion abortion. “We need to acknowledge the fact that none of this would have been possible, none of this would have been possible had they been successful in ending my life."
To stories by politicians who said all deserve at least a chance at life.
“At 24 and a half weeks the doctor came to [my wife] and said that she needed to abort our daughter or she would die,” said Senator Bill Stanley (R- Franklin County). “My wife and I said no… She fought for 3.5 hours for life and she passed in our arms.”
The crowds were filled with people from young to old who marched around the Capitol.
“I love the crowds here… Tons of young people all over the place,” Plourde aid. “This is the new generation. The new generation is for life.”
“I think it’s really important for teenagers to see this now before they graduate high school,” said David Pinkham, a Youth Pastor from Prince George County. “So they can see there are people who care about this issue even though it’s become political. People who care about the issues care about the ability to have a kind and respectful dialogue and are able to speak about it without the hatred, without the name calling.”
What came to much of the crowd’s surprise was the appearance of legislators taking time out of their busy day to thank the crowd for turning out, and also give a push for the polls in November.
"It is up to you to energize to go out into your precincts, your communities, your neighborhoods and make sure you have a pro-life candidate,” Stanley said. “That you fight for that pro-life candidate and that you make sure that pro-life candidate wins."
"We will fight 'til the last breath for that life,” said House Speaker Kirk Cox (R – Colonial Heights).
The event-filled day also included the presence of Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who on the eve of the anniversary of his death called on Gov. Ralph Northam to resign for racists acts and Northam’s stance on late-term abortions.
“He signed a terrible blood covenant supporting abortion and supporting abortion until birth of a child or until after,” King said.
King went on to say she forgives the Governor for his actions from his past but added he needs to step up and truly apologize.
“We are one blood,” she said. “But he might need to take his seat out of the Governor’s mansion and go in and pray.”
The Douglass Leadership Institute (DLI) and The Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Virginia held their own news conference Wednesday morning ahead of the rally calling on Northam’s resignation.
“Despite early demands that the Governor resign, it has become clear that he intends to remain in office unless removed,” said Rev. Dean Nelson, Chairman of the DLI. “This is bad for race relations, bad for Virginia government, and bad for the country.”
Northam has met with multiple members of the Legislative Black Caucus since the controversy surrounding the racist photo surfaced in his college yearbook and his admittance to wearing blackface at a dance competition in 1984.
The Governor has stated several times he will not resign.
Comment from his office following the “March for Life” rally was not immediately available.
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