Catholic Herald Staff
CATAWBA — On Jan. 22, pro-life groups from around the States will gather in the nation’s capital to memorialize lives lost in the 41 years since the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade.
More than 500,000 protestors marched to end abortion at the 2013 March for Life Rally in Washington, D.C. Populating such mass protests are countless smaller groups of pro-life advocates. One of these, Price County Respect Life, was formed in the summer of 2012.
A Pro-Life Wisconsin affiliate, the group evolved from a chat over matching bumper stickers in the parking lot of St. Therese Parish, Phillips.
Nancy Kokstis, Prentice, is a Secular Fransiscan and member of the ecumenical group.
They’ve invited worshippers of all faiths to join, she said, although Catholics are most likely to turn up for meetings.
Members are championing their cause. In its first year, the group sent 35 people to Washington, D.C., for the rally. Other projects included displaying crosses in two cemeteries for the innocent; holding prayer services; putting up billboards; running an information booth at the county fair; and hosting fundraisers.
They’ve also stocked school and public libraries with copies of Abby Johnson’s memoir, “Unplanned: The dramatic true story of a former Planned Parenthood leader’s eye-opening journey across the life line.”
Organizing a day of remembrance for the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision is their latest undertaking. “Love Them Both … 41 years of Roe vs. Wade,” is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Jan. 25 at St. Paul the Apostle Church, Catawba. All are welcome to attend.
Speakers include Michele Martin, executive director at the Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center in Ladysmith, and Medford residents Patrick and Jeanette Gierl.
Price County Respect Life member Janene Ravet, Catawba, will offer legislative updates and more.
Kokstis invited the Gierls to speak after hearing their story at another event. It’s about sterilization, conversion and “the journey from death to life,” she said.
Martin, an Indiana native who was educated at Maranatha Bible College, started volunteering at the crisis pregnancy center in 2001. Among other things, she’s helped set up parenting classes at the center and contributed to sexual integrity programs in local schools.
Kokstis, too, has a story. Her opposition to abortion has never faltered, but there was a time when she did not stand up for her beliefs. When she was in graduate school, “everybody was for abortion,” she remembers. Forty years old at the time, she never did speak up.
“It’s just in the last years that I’ve found my voice,” Kokstis said.
Now, she advocates both for ending abortion and for reaching out to people damaged by the act.
“They have to be loved … and know that Jesus loves them, and accepts them and welcomes them,” she added.
Love them Both begins with coffee and rolls at 9 a.m. Lunch will be served at 12:15 p.m., and adoration of the Eucharist and confession are options available in the afternoon.
Cost is a free-will donation. For more information, call the Catawba parish, 715-339-2222.