An estimated 5,000 Ohioans will be marching for life this Friday in the state’s capital of Columbus just one month ahead of a November election that could fatally influence the futures of many unborn children. 

In a battleground abortion state where the life-ending procedure is legal up to the point of viability, all eyes will be on Ohio as residents will be voting on a constitutional amendment Nov. 7 proposing to enshrine abortion rights into law.

In a September press release, the March for Life — the pro-life organization co-hosting the march — said that speakers at the event will be educating attendees on the dangers of the November constitutional amendment.

The amendment, which says that “every individual has a right to carry out one’s own reproductive decisions,” would bring “painful late-term abortions right up until birth to Ohio, cancel parental consent protections for minors, and erase basic health and safety standards for women when it comes to abortion,” the March for Life organizers said.

The fight over the issue of abortion in Ohio in the past several years has entailed intense legal battles, which includes Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s signing of a 2019 “heartbeat” law that has since been blocked by a state court and remains that way pending the outcome of a constitutional challenge by abortion clinics.

That law aims to outlaw most abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around six weeks’ gestation. Almost 67% of state abortions in 2022 occurred in pregnancies where gestational age was less than nine weeks, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Regardless, if the November constitutional amendment passes, the heartbeat law would be null and void, according to WTVG

Calling it Ohio’s “most significant” March for Life yet, Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said in the release that “we are ready to welcome thousands of Ohioans to the state Capitol in this critical moment to peacefully advocate both against this extreme measure and for state laws that respect the human dignity of every person, born and unborn.” 

In addition to Mancini, Aaron Baer, president of the march’s other co-hosting organization, Center for Christian Virtue, will be speaking at the human rights demonstration as well. 

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Prior to the march, Columbus Bishop Earl Ferandes will be celebrating a “Mass for life” at 9 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, just a short distance away from the pre-rally concert, which takes place on the West Lawn of the Ohio Statehouse. He will be speaking at the march as well.

Damascus Worship, a Catholic worship group, will be performing music at the event. A sample of the group’s music can be viewed here:

Two state legislators, Rep. Melanie Miller, serving District 67, and Sen. Kristina Roegner, serving District 27, will be speaking at the march. Miller will also be singing the National Anthem.

Other speakers include Baptist pastor Jeremy Westbrook; Peter Range, CEO of Ohio Right to Life; Pastor Walter Moss, president of the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio; Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and his wife, Tina Husted; and Ruth Edmonds, Christian engagement ambassador from the Center for Christian Virtue.

The rally kicks off at 11 a.m., and attendees begin marching at noon. Following the march at 1 p.m., marchers are invited to the Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square for an educational event focused on the November constitutional amendment. 

Admission is free and lunch is provided. Attendees can register here.

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The Catholic Conference of Ohio, which represents the state’s bishops, issued the following invitation online:

“Join Catholics across Ohio at the Mass for Life, celebrated by Bishop Earl Fernandes at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Columbus at 9 a.m. Then participate in the Ohio March for Life right down the street at the Ohio Statehouse.”