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Anti-abortion group wants day of mourning

Benjamin Cline

RICHMOND – An anti-abortion organization called Day of Tears is urging the Virginia General Assembly to pass a resolution declaring a day of mourning to mark the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

Joined by a dozen Republican colleagues, Dels. Benjamin Cline, of Amherst, and Richard Bell, of Staunton, have introduced the resolution – “http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=171&typ=bil&val=hr268″>HR 268. It would declare Jan. 22 as the Day of Tears in the state and encourage  Virginians “to lower their flags to half-staff to mourn the innocents who have lost their lives to abortion.”

Jan. 22, 1973, was a monumental day for both pro-life and pro-choice advocates. That is when the Supreme Court declared that the U.S. Constitution protected a woman’s right to have an abortion.

Abortion rights opponents have bemoaned that day ever since. They want Virginia and other states to designate Jan. 22 as the Day of Tears to bring awareness to the estimated 58 million pregnancies that have been terminated.

On Thursday, Cline, Bell and other supporters of the idea held a news conference to urge support for the proposal.

Richard P. Bell

Ken Adams, a leader of the Day of Tears organization, opened the standing-room-only press conference by explaining why he wants Jan. 22 to be a commemorative day.

“Countless women have gone through the grief and regret and suffering and heartache from their loss,” Adams said. “Many of them will never really quite recover. So, from that Supreme Court decision on Jan. 22, there has been an ocean of tears shed. So it’s our assertion that it is only proper and fitting that Jan. 22 be called the Day of Tears, and that’s why we are here.”

Another speaker at the news conference was Christopher Freund, vice president of the Family Foundation, which advocates a “biblical worldview.”

“This resolution requires nothing of anyone, including the state government,” Freund said. “It’s simply a way to inform people of a way that they can participate in public mourning of the deaths of nearly 60 million unborn children.”

Cline said lowering the flags on the proposed Day of Tears could draw more people to be pro-life supporters.

“A majority of Americans support life and believe in the sanctity of human life,” Cline said. “These women that are undergoing that difficult process understand that there is a support network for them – praying for them, working for them, wanting to help them make that decision to protect life. And by making a visual step in support of life, hopefully we can save lives, and this is what this is ultimately about.”

Diana Shores, the social media director for Day of Tears, said she will be elated if the General Assembly approves Cline’s resolution.

“I’ll be very happy if this is passed because this is an effort to honor and to bring value to the lives lost and affected by abortion,” Shores said. “Because when abortion occurs, of course, it affects the mother and it affects the father and families.”

The Day of Tears organization also has reached out to other states such as West Virginia, Illinois and Indiana in hopes they will designate Jan. 22 as a Day of Tears.

Americans are sharply divided on the issue of abortion rights. According to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University this month, 62 percent of voters nationwide believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 32 percent believe it should be illegal in most or all cases.

In Virginia, Democratic leaders like U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine say that they personally oppose abortions but that women should have the right to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy.

Photos by Dai Já Norman – Capital News Service