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Kayla Strayer/Daily Globe One of about 30 demonstrators dots the sidewalk along Oxford Street Sunday afternoon in Worthington.

Local protestors hold anti-abortion signs

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Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- Motorists driving on Oxford Street Sunday afternoon may have witnessed silent demonstrators dotting the sidewalk holding signs that stated "Lord, forgive us and our country," "Abortion kills babies" and "Pray to end abortion."

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It was the first Worthington Life Chain event, which was part of a national Life Chain event that encourages public prayer to end abortion.

The protest was from 1:30 to 3 p.m., and about 30 sup-porters lined the North side of Oxford Street from Humiston Avenue to McMillan Street.

The Helping Hand Pregnancy Center in Worthington, along with local churches, helped coordinate the event.

"I think it's wonderful that people donated their time on a Sunday afternoon to show that abortion needs to end," said Susan Voehl, executive director of Helping Hand.

She said there are about 30 infants aborted every day in Minnesota.

"It's a tremendous loss of life that breaks our heart and saddens the Lord," Voehl said, adding she feels prayer is the root to end abortion.

Sara Eisfeld, along with her husband and four young children, quietly held signs to support the cause.

"We believe that all life is precious, and that's worthy of telling people," Eisfeld said. "No person is a mistake, and people of all sizes are important."

Keith Gallagher, a pastor in Reading, said he was there because he thinks abortion is a travesty.

"We can end this but it requires some effort on the part of churches," Gallagher said. "As a pastor, I feel it's one of the things I should do to stand up for those who don't have a voice."

"I am pro-choice, but the choice comes before you go to bed," Gallagher said. "Once someone is conceived, there should no longer be any choice."

Those who choose abortion carry guilt and may suffer from Post Abortion Stress Syndrome, Gallagher said.

He said he once spoke with a teenager who suffered a botched abortion, which left her no longer able to bear children.

"She was devastated, and that's what drives me out here today," Gallagher said.

Voehl said abortion is never right, even in extreme cases.

"Even if conception occurred in violence, a second violent act such as abortion wouldn't help that," Voehl said. "It's never going to erase that memory."

"We have great compassion for women who've gone through rape or incest," she said. "They need an extra measure of compassion and help."

She said no one wants to have an abortion, but they might feel there is no other option.

"Depending on their circumstances, we can help in whatever area is making them desperate," Voehl said. "Women that aborted in the past have stated if one person in their life told them not to abort, they would have chosen something other than abortion."

The hope is that abortion will be outlawed soon, meaning future demonstrations wouldn't be necessary, Voehl said.

"It's a moral and biblical issue," Gallagher added. "Unfortunately, it's been put into the hands of our legislatures and courts."

The protest ended peacefully, and the group said there are no more demonstrations currently scheduled.

Daily Globe Reporter Kayla Strayer may be reached at 376-7322.

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