After growing its pro-life event from 150 people to 9,000 in under 10 years, the March for Life Chicago will hit the road in January 2021 with a ‘Moving the Movement’ tour with stops in seven cities across five Midwestern states.
The regional tour will culminate with the annual March for Life Chicago on Saturday, January 23 in Downtown Chicago. Group organizers said COVID-19 got them to rethink the annual event to inspire and attract more people in local areas across the Midwest. A convention held in connection with the 2020 March for Life Chicago drew 2,000 people from 13 states, so organizers knew they had support for a broader effort.
“We were looking for a way to involve and engage people throughout the Midwest,” said Kevin Grillot, executive director of March for Life Chicago. “So last year since the Midwest came to Chicago, this year we decided to bring the March for Life Chicago to the Midwest.”
The Moving the Movement tour will kick off in Madison, Wis., on Saturday January 2 with a rally at the Wisconsin Capitol. It will continue over the next three weekends, with stops in Des Moines, Iowa on January 9; Omaha, Neb. on January 10; Fort Wayne, Ind. on January 16; Mundelein, Illinois on January 17; and Indianapolis, Ind. on January 22. Some events will involve drive-in rallies followed by vehicle parades, while others will include marches. All will have speakers from various pro-life organizations.
“It provides an avenue for families to be involved,” Grillot said. “If you’re in one of the five states that we’re going to you can pretty much get to a tour stop in a day’s drive going there and going back. Logistically this is much simpler for everyone.”
The events will call attention to the more than 130,000 abortions committed each year in the Midwest and inspire people to take concrete actions. “We want to publicly witness, recognizing in the Midwest there are 130,094 abortions, according to the most recent public health department data in each state,” Grillot said. “That’s an astronomical number and we want to work to change that. So we are doing, along with the tour, a diaper drive to raise 130,094 diapers that will then be disbursed at different stops in the local pregnancy resource centers.”
Participants can bring donated diapers to the regional or Chicago events, donate them directly to local pro-life pregnancy resource centers or donate funds on the March for Life Chicago web site, Grillot said.
The events were planned on weekend days to encourage families to participate, Grillot said. “Abortion strikes at the relationship between mother and child, father and child and strikes at the family unit,” he said. “So to have families involved together — families are the source of beliefs, they are the primary educator, parents are the primary educator of their children. So to have them involved in witnessing but also inspiring and giving and partaking, it’s critical to the success of this mission.”
The goal is to attract 10,000 people across all seven events. “The reason we’re looking to inspire 10,000 is that then they will go out and serve in their community throughout the year,” Grillot said. “The March for Life Chicago is a motivator. We gather, we are connected, we’re designed to be in relationship and community. We gather and recharge, but then go forth to help build that culture of life. We know it takes each person stepping up and having a hand in the movement to make it move.”
The regional nature of the events is important, Grillot said, since one of the nation’s worst states for abortion legislation — Illinois — is exporting its evil to surrounding states. Illinois has enshrined a “right” to abortion in its constitution and rolled back most regulations aimed at preserving the health of mothers, he said. A major clinic opened in Waukegan, Ill., just across the border from Wisconsin.
In May 2020, Planned Parenthood of Illinois announced the opening of an 18,000-square-foot abortion center in Lake County, 10 miles from Wisconsin’s southern border. The facility targets Waukegan’s substantial minority population and aims to draw women from Wisconsin. The location was chosen specifically because the abortion chain says Wisconsin poses “stringent legal barriers” to abortion.
“In a time when mothers and fathers in an unplanned pregnancy need our help the most, Planned Parenthood of Illinois opens up a massive facility just miles from the Wisconsin/Illinois border in the predominantly minority community of Waukegan,” said Dan Miller, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin. Miller said the abortion giant is “aggressively expanding” the culture of death. “We must recommit ourselves to do more in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead for our preborn brothers and sisters in Christ,” he said. “We must take back America and it starts at the abortion centers.”
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