Anti-abortion marchers demonstrate in downtown Carbondale


Sheryl Kula, of Lick Creek, walks across a set of railroad tracks Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, with her husband, Charles, and other demonstrators during an anti-abortion march in Carbondale. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

By Tyra Wooten

Anti-abortion marchers walked through the center of town on Sunday afternoon to show support for recent actions taken by the president to halt federal funding for abortions.

Nearly 200 marchers walked from the Carbondale Town Square Pavillion on a mile-and-a-half long route that ended at the intersection of West Main Street and North Illinois Avenue. The event was sponsored and organized by Murphysboro Knights of Columbus, the local chapter of an international charity organization, and members of various area churches.

Jeff Chmiola, a field agent of Knights of Columbus and one of the demonstration’s organizers, said the anti-abortion March for Life in Washington inspired them to organize one in Carbondale. Jackson County Rights to Life started the the march 30 years ago and it was later turned over to the Knights of Columbus, Chmiola said.


“It’s our local version of it,” he said.

The march comes as President Donald Trump on Monday revoked a presidential memorandum signed by the former administration to cut off federal funding for not-for-profit organizations that perform abortions. The action was acknowledged by Vice President Mike Pence during the 44th annual March for Life on Friday in Washington.

“Forty-four years ago, our Supreme Court turned away from the first of these timeless ideals,” Pence told the crowd gathered in the nation’s capital. “But today, three generations hence, because of all of you, and the many more who stand with us in marches just like this across this nation, life is winning in America again.”

Many Carbondale marchers carried signs that read “Abortion Kills Children,” “Pray to End Abortion” and “All Life is Sacred.”

Jarden Akin, a former SIU student in computer engineering, said he believes abortion is murder and equated it to the deadliest genocide in human history. He noted that the country allows abortions while providing protections for endangered species of animals, suggesting the practice is immoral and a burden on U.S. taxpayers.

“If somebody wants to have an abortion, they will find a way,” Akin said. “Just don’t make me pay for it.”

Dennis Radek, a field agent of Knights of Columbus and one of the demonstration’s organizers, said he believes changing people’s hearts and minds is more important than changing the law.


Anti-abortion marchers prepare for a group photo Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Carbondale Town Square. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

“It’s sad because it’s people who are being destroyed before they even have a chance to defend themselves, “ Radek said.

The march also caught the attention of the registered student organization Saluki Students for Life. Zoey Bryant, secretary of the RSO, said the student group promoted the march and wanted to made their presence known.

“As an RSO, we’re concerned about bringing an end to abortion and having respect for all human life,” Bryant said.

Sharee Langenstein, a mother of seven and an attorney, said she marched to stand up for unborn children because they cannot stand up for themselves.

“We shouldn’t have our tax dollars going to fund killing of the innocent,” Langenstein said.

Langenstein said having an interracial family influences her position on funding for Planned Parenthood because of its founder’s ties to racism. Margaret Sanger, the woman credited for starting the organization more than 100 years ago, published theories about population control of minority groups in reference to the centers.

“Think about all the generations of people that would be in this world if it weren’t for this horrific preying on people of color and people in difficult economic circumstances,” Langenstein said. “It’s a very disgusting and shameful practice.”

Staff writer Tyra Wooten can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @twootenDE.

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