By Patti Brown
More than 1,000 Iowans exercised their First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly Saturday at two separate rallies held the Iowa State Capitol. A crowd of 500 prolife supporters gathered for the first Midwest March for Life to mark the upcoming fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton on January 22. Since the Supreme Court’s decisions in these two landmark cases nearly 60 million children have been aborted in the United States.
The prolife event began on the west side of the State Capitol, then moved to the north side of the building before moving on to the east and then the south sides of the building to symbolize the Israelite army marching around the walls of the city of Jericho. In the Bible, Joshua led the army around the walled city every day for six days. On the seventh day the walls fell. The march proceeds across Walnut Street and ended in front of the Iowa Judicial Branch Building, home of the Iowa Supreme Court and the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Governor Terry Branstad welcomed the crowd to the Iowa State Capitol Grounds. “I wanted to say how appreciative I am that we have so many people from across the state that are here to show that they stand for life and I hope that with your help and with your prayers that we can make significant progress in restoring respect for life at all stages of development from the moment of conception until natural death.”
Governor Branstad participated in the march and was joined by Bishop Richard Pates of the Diocese of Des Moines, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. Speakers included Jennifer Bowen of Iowa Right to Life, Tamara Scott of Concerned Women for America, Pastors Al Perez and Andre Brooks of Miracle Life Family Church, Pastor James Weaver of New Hope Assembly of God.
The rally began at 11 a.m. and concluded before noon, just as a Guns Across America rally began on the West Capitol Terrace. Attended by more than 600 people, the Iowa rally was organized by the Iowa Firearms Coalition in response to gun control efforts by the White House. Speakers at the event included Rebecca Maxwell of the Steve Deace radio show, Jeff Burkett and Richard Rogers of the IFC an NRA affiliate club, and Iowa Rep. Tom Shaw (R-Laurens).
Guns Across America rallies, spearheaded by Political Media, a Washington-based Republican new media consulting firm, were held in 49 states on Saturday, most at state capitols. Last week, President Barack Obama asked Congress to pass legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales and to ban certain types of automatic weapons and to limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. The measures are opposed by the NRA.
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