Above: Evan Pauly beats a drum to lead a group down the sidewalk in downtown Fort Madison on Saturday, Jan. 28, as part of the North Lee County Right to Life group's annual March for Life. About 75 people took part in the march. Photo/Chris Faulkner
By Chris Faulkner
Seven months ago in June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court struck the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling that made Constitutional a women's right to get an abortion.
Not long after the Jan. 22, 1973, decision on Roe, a group of Fort Madison and area residents started the North Lee County Right to Life chapter.
Every January since — coinciding with the Jan. 22 date — the group began holding a March for Life through Fort Madison's downtown, promoting its support for the unborn.
The court's ruling last summer didn't ban abortions but left it up to state governments to decide, so the group continues to march.
“We're still kind of the same,” march coordinator Judy Pauly said of the Right to Life group's purpose. “We're still trying to hope someday the decisions that people make are based on love for a child. There's other options for you.”
Instead of walking down the middle of the street through three downtown blocks, Pauly said they were informed by the city that groups could no longer do that unless they had insurance for liability reasons and paid for barricades and police traffic control.
The group opted to stay on the sidewalks, and some members acted as crossing guards when the marchers crossed at an intersection.
About 75 people took to the sidewalks, most holding signs with various statements supporting their pro-life views.
One of them was 12-year-old Emma Menke of St. Paul.
“It goes along with my faith,” she said of what formed her pro-life view.
Pauly said the group continues to march because when Roe v. Wade passed, “We were losing babies. That has not changed, unfortunately."
“I look at it as we're the voice for those who don't have a voice,” she added.
The contention is often when life begins, and to the North Lee County Right to Life organization, “From conception to birth, they're still a baby,” Pauly said. “They look different than everybody else. They have different DNA than everybody else. They're unique.
“We just feel that each child has a right to live."