• Crowd converges on Statehouse to protest abortion
    By Eric Blaisdell
     | January 20,2013
    Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo

    Demonstrators hold signs at a pro-life rally outside the Statehouse in Montpelier on Saturday, marking the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

    MONTPELIER — They marched from City Hall to the Statehouse on Saturday chanting, “Roe v. Wade has got to go.”

    Several hundred people rallied at the Capitol to show their opposition to abortion. It was one of many such events held across the country Saturday as participants called for new anti-abortion measures and for the repeal of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

    The keynote speaker at the rally in Montpelier was Iowa resident Melissa Ohden, who says she is the survivor of an attempted abortion.

    Ohden said her mother was 19 and pregnant in 1977 when Ohden’s grandparents forced her mother to get the abortion. She claimed that 60 percent of women who undergo abortions are coerced.

    Ohden showed a political advertisement released by the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List and broadcast during last year’s presidential election campaign. The video gave a brief history of Ohden’s story and outlined President Barack Obama’s past votes as an Illinois state senator, when the ad claimed he voted four times to deny rights to infant abortion survivors.

    The Washington Post checked the truthfulness of the ad and reported that the allegation against Obama was taken out of context. The newspaper said Obama voted against those proposals because he felt they would undermine an already-standing abortion rights statute in Illinois.

    Ohden said despite the results of the November election, she still has hope for the country and “the cause of life.”

    The rally was organized by Vermont Right to Life. Executive committee member Joanna Bisceglio of Waterbury Center said they were fortunate to have Ohden as their speaker. Bisceglio was dressed in running gear, symbolizing the fight against abortion as a “marathon” and not a sprint.

    Shoreham resident Meg Barnes said she was at the rally because “life is the first civil right.”

    “God created it,” she said. “We don’t have the right to kill.”

    Barnes said she hopes Vermonters considering abortion will hear about Ohden’s story and change their minds. Barnes wants the state to at least pass legislation that would require minor girls to have parental consent before undergoing abortions.

    Barnes said there is never a good excuse for getting an abortion, rape included. She said the argument of a pregnancy potentially harming the mother nowadays is a “red herring” and does not exist with today’s modern medicine.

    @Tagline:eric.blaisdell @timesargus.com

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