Pro-life fervor continues among youth post-Roe

Bishop Carl A. Kemme and a large number of his flock posed for a group photo Friday, Jan. 20, during the March for Life activities held in Washington, D.C. Related article on page 16. (Courtesy photo)

Roe v. Wade may be overturned but the pro-life work isn’t close to being done, says Bonnie Toombs. Over 580 pilgrims who traveled by bus to the March for Life Friday, Jan. 20, in Washington, D.C., agree with her.

Toombs, the director of the diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice Office, said the Sisters of Life, who sponsored one of the morning events at the march, praised the pilgrims from Wichita for their many years of support.

Upbeat post-Roe

Toombs added that the event was more upbeat post-Roe. “There was a lot of celebrating over that. But there was also a call to action that our work isn’t done. In fact, it’s far from done, even at the national level. We need to continue to be a presence traveling to D.C. and working towards making abortion unthinkable.”

Pro-lifers also need to continue to provide care and compassion for women who are in crisis pregnancies, she said, so that they understand the options of giving birth: adoption or parenting the child with the support of the community.

“Our young people know they are the ones who have to carry this forward,” she said.

Attend special event

Toombs said the pilgrims from the Diocese of Wichita were able to attend the premier rally sponsored by the Sisters for Life on the morning of the march. Bishop Carl A. Kemme, 17 diocesan priests, and other bishops celebrated a Mass at the event with 4,000 other pro-lifers. “Everything they do is high-energy,” Toombs said. “We prayed together, we adored Jesus together, and celebrated Mass together.”

The indoor event provided energy for the outdoor rally before the march, she said.

Speakers there included Pro-Football Hall of Famer coach Tony Dungy, actor Jonathan Roumie who plays Jesus in the Chosen series, and Sr. Mary Casey O’Connnor and her twin sister Casey Gunning who has Down Syndrome. Toombs urged those who haven’t seen the talks to search for them on

Numbers were steady

Many were concerned that the numbers taking part in the march might be down because Roe v. Wade was overturned. “But it was bigger than last year’s march,” she said, adding that she hadn’t seen any estimates. “We need to be there because we still have work to do. Let’s celebrate but let’s be realistic. We want to end abortion throughout the United States.”

Those who marched and worked for pro-life causes after the 1973 Roe decision deserve praise, Toombs said. “It was through their diligence and marching year after year after year that Roe was overturned. Now we must continue to take that message out so we can make abortion unthinkable.”

Topeka events

A pro-life rally was held at the Topeka Performing Arts Center Tuesday, Jan. 24, attended by the three bishops of Kansas.
Speakers included Lila Rose, a pro-life activist who is the founder and president of the anti-abortion organization Live Action, and a teacher of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas who talked about the support he and his wife experienced upon the death of their child three days after his birth.

Changes needed at the state level

Toombs said it is important that the faithful continue their witness in Topeka because “that is where we need to make many changes.”

The date of the Topeka pro-life rally will likely be moved in 2024 closer to the April 26, the day in 2019 the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the state constitution includes a right to abortion.

“It’s time for us to be diligent and double down on working with the people that we elect to make sure they understand how their constituents feel about this issue,” she said, adding that the pro-life focus will increase at the state level.