Group protests abortion in annual ‘Life Chain’

By Gus Bode

More than 100 people protest, pray

Scott White scooted the cooler of lemonade off a stack of white signs with red, spray-painted letters that read “Abortion Kills Children.”

White, president of Jackson County Right to Life, filled a cup for a young girl in a red jumper as sweat beaded above his dark sunglasses in Sunday’s nearly 90-degree heat.


His group was among thousands of Right to Life organizations nationwide that took part in the Life Chain, a protest against abortion, sponsored annually on the first Sunday in October.

The demonstration attracted more than 100 protestors to the Illinois Route 13 and Wall Street site, in front of Carbondale Eastgate Plaza.

Every three or four cars honked, some drivers shouted or waved.

“You know why they’re doing that?” asked Elizabeth Ebersohl, a Murphysboro resident. “They’re supporters.”

Ebersohl came with a group of members from her Catholic church after the morning’s sermon about opposing abortion, she said. Inspired, she and others decided to drive to Carbondale to participate.

Down the line of protestors, 5-year-old Nathan Miller shaded himself with a sign that said “Jesus Forgives.”

“He’s hot,” joked his father, Tom Miller. “This is why we march in January and stay still in October.”


The group also sponsors “Life March” in January to coincide with the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s monumental Roe vs. Wade decision, which legalized abortion.

Tom Miller and six of his seven children were present at Sunday’s demonstration in addition to a number of other members of the Cornerstone Reform Church.

“I expect every possible reaction,” he said. “You get many salutes, some positive and some obviously hostile.”

Christine Mize, a 13-year former president of the organization, knows about varying reactions.

“Sometimes they get really vulgar,” she said. “We don’t respond back to them. We want to keep silent and prayerful.”

Mize’s perspective is also unique:she had an abortion when she was 21 and in college.

“I was just a few months away from graduating,” she said. “I bought into the whole thing:my body, my legal choice. I was too consumed with myself.”

In past years, she said, she has had a number of moving experiences, including meeting a young man born after a botched abortion and another who convinced his pregnant girlfriend to have the child.

She said without actively helping stop abortion, people should not consider themselves pro-life.

“You can stand in a garage and say ‘I’m a car,’ but that doesn’t make you a car,” Mize said.

White said one strong reason for opposing abortion is the Bible’s teachings.

“I don’t wish to control anyone’s body but my own, but laws by nature tell us what we can and can’t do with our bodies,” he said. “By making abortion illegal, we would be saying, in effect, murder is not an acceptable solution to the unwanted pregnancy you have.”

Mize said she will continue to try to make abortion illegal through participating in the Life Chain and other events until they are successful.

“They always say ‘See you next year,’ and I say ‘I hope not,'” Mize said. “I hope we’re out of business.”

Reporter Kate Galbreath can be reached at [email protected]