Five buses filled with young Oklahomans will soon head to the nation's Capitol to show their opposition to legalized abortion, said Anthony Keiser, director of the Tulsa Diocese's office of Youth Ministry.
He and other adult advisers are taking their largest youth group ever — 220 high school and college-age individuals — to participate in the national March for Life set for Friday in Washington
He said the youth trip has grown each year since the Tulsa Diocese began organizing it in 2007.
Keiser said he's not surprised at the youths' desire to participate in the march because many of them are passionate in their belief that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion, is morally wrong.
“This is the generation that survived it. They have faced the reality that there are people who should be in their classroom but aren't,” Keiser said. “They feel this is a tragedy.”
Keiser said the four decades that have gone by since the ruling have not diminished the concern by many Christian faith community members.
“Despite the fact that abortion has been legal in all 50 states for 40 years, there are still people who believe that was a wrong decision,” he said.
The young people who will participate in the annual March for Life have joined with many Oklahoman who feel their faith beliefs require them to denounce abortion.
Many in the state's faith community have been vigilant and vocal in their battle over abortion — a procedure they say is a sin.
The fight against abortion has led many faith groups across the state — two in particular — to come together to decry what they consider an attack on humanity's most vulnerable members.
Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists have worked in various ways to eradicate abortion, but the two groups come together each February for Rose Day, a sanctity-of-life rally at the state Capitol.
Leaders say battle is ever-present
The Rev. Anthony Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, said Southern Baptists are just as appalled today as they were 40 years ago by the court ruling legalizing abortion.
“The unleashing of the destructive forces of abortion on the unborn, and the women who bore them, has left an indelible scar on our nation,” Jordan said. “It is mind boggling when you consider that an estimated more than 55 million children have been torn from their mothers' wombs in a violent act of death.”
Jordan said Oklahoma Baptists have stood upon the Bible in speaking out for the sanctity of human life.
In doing so, they have helped protect the unborn by providing pregnancy counseling centers — “places of hope” — for those facing unplanned pregnancies, he said.
Meanwhile, the Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, said Roman Catholics will continue to denounce abortion because it takes away life created by God.
“We believe at the moment of conception, God creates a human being,” he said.
“We believe God has given this life, and it is not our right to terminate that life.”
Coakley said Christians should protect life. One of the Ten Commandments teaches that “Thou shall not kill,” he said.
“We believe life is to be protected, especially, the most innocent of lives,” Coakley said.