Many motorists Sunday afternoon slowed as they saw first the people, then the signs. "Pray to end abortion." "Respect Life." With temperatures struggling to reach the low teens, the group of people bundled up and carrying anti-abortion signs along Broadway Street was enough to get many drivers to tap the brakes.
Those residents who donned their warmest jackets and thickest hats took part in a March for Life, one of series of events in Winona on Sunday in opposition of abortion. The activities came just one day after the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
The outdoor march, as well as a prayer service immediately after it attended by more than 80 people, centered on the idea that human life begins at conception and abortion ends that life, both bundled-up residents and local Catholic leaders said.
"We're not just a clump of random cells," Winona Bishop John Quinn said during the prayer service at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. "We're not just some biological moment. We're the gift of life."
In addition to the march and prayer service, Sunday's events also included a pancake breakfast fundraiser put on by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the state's largest anti-abortion group.
That same group organized an event attended by hundreds outside the Minnesota Capitol on Saturday to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Fourteen students and residents from the Winona area were among those in attendance on another cold day, local officials said.
But those efforts, despite the weather, are needed to bring continued light to the true cost of abortion, they said. More than 52 million abortions, including more than 500,000 in Minnesota, have been performed since the Supreme Court decision, said Kathy Foerster.
And each one of those abortions eliminates a life, Bishop Quinn said. He told the story of his cousin and her husband, who pulled him aside during a recent Christmas celebration to tell him that they were having a baby. They showed him the sonogram and gushed about their daughter, he recalled.
"The truth is, life is a gift," Quinn said.