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March for Life and Women's March held in Helena

Posted at 11:33 AM, Jan 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-19 13:38:19-05

Activists gathered at the State Capitol on Saturday to protest abortion practices in the United States and pray for change.

The annual March for Life is held each year around the anniversary of Roe. v. Wade, which established a legal right to abortion in 1973.

The event was filled with prayer to end abortion, people were asked to support anti-abortion leaders and policies and support women and girls who face an unwanted pregnancy.

A live ultrasound was held for the event, and speaker Donna Nickerson's testimony about her own pregnancy hardships brought many in the crowd to tears.

“It’s important that every woman that is facing an unplanned pregnancy that she knows there are resources available to help with that pregnancy,” said Sharon Nathan, director of Pro-Life Helena.

“If she wants to raise the baby there are resources available. Also, if she wants to put the child up for adoption there are resources and ways she can define what adoption would look like.”

Nathan said there are many organizations in Helena that can help women and families who are facing an unplanned pregnancy.

“It’s a difficult situation and I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t,” said Nathan. “We will do whatever that woman needs in order to feel like she’s got support and the resources she needs.”

“We have a great community of pro-life individuals that just want to be there to help her and amazing churches in this town that are willing to support and help as well.”

Nathan encourages anyone who wants more information to reach out and they would be happy to connect them to clinics, social services and support organizations in their community.

Helena’s advocates joined similar March for Life events being held in Montana -- and across the country.

The 2020 Women's March also took place in Helena on Saturday with people packing into Memorial Park, joining crowds across the country for the 2020 Women’s March.

Now in its fourth year, activists in Helena donned the iconic pink knitted hats and many held homemade signs.

This year’s marchers were celebrating Montana’s women leaders, the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote in the United States and protesting national policies by the Trump administration.

The first national Women’s March was held in 2017 as a response President Donald Trump’s election and inauguration. Montana’s first Women’s March saw more than 10,000 people gather at the State Capitol.

Speakers on Saturday stressed the importance of women’s freedom from violence, the right to reproductive self-determination and everyone’s right not to face discrimination.

“There are a lot of women’s issues,” said Nancy Leifer, president of the board for the League of Women Voters Montana. “We think many of these issues are ones that all women believe in, such as putting an end to violence against women and to have healthcare for women.”

Leifer told MTN she recognizes there is a strong divide in the United States on many women’s issues, but has hope that people from both sides can come together and not treat each other as an enemy.

“To me this is an opportunity for us to be able to start recognizing that we need to be able to reach across and listen to each other’s experiences,” said Leifer. “Our life experiences define who we are. We need to understand those experiences and figure out how we can come together and work together on things in a much better way than we have recently.”