Local activists on both sides of the volatile abortion issue pressed their views Sunday in demonstrations linked to the Supreme Court's 17-year-old Roe vs. Wade decision, and they planned more demonstrations for today's anniversary of the landmark ruling.
In Batavia, anti-abortion protesters and pro-choice advocates both held demonstrations. The Genesee County Right to Life Committee held a 90-minute prayer service at St. Jerome Hospital, while the Genesee Pro-Choice Coalition sponsored an ecumenical worship service at the Young Women's Christian Association.
Tom Echeverria of the Buffalo Regional Right to Life Committee said 10 buses carrying 600 Western New Yorkers left Sunday evening for Washington, D.C., where they will participate today in a march urging that the Supreme Court overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision, which legalized abortion. Another 150 Western New Yorkers, traveling by other means, are expected to join the local marchers.
"This is the greatest number of people we've ever had going to Washington from Buffalo," he said.
Leaders of the anti-abortion march scheduled in Washington called Sunday for a demonstration of "great political strength in order to protect unborn babies and to stem the tide of pro-abortion mania sweeping the country," as Cardinal James Hickey of Washington expressed it in a letter to all pastors in his archdiocese.
The March for Life is the largest of a host of rallies across the nation protesting the Roe vs. Wade ruling.
A local pro-choice contingent from Buffalo went to Albany for a rally Sunday, and some of its numbers planned to stay on today and Tuesday to lobby legislators and attend a legislative conference on abortion rights. The exact number of Buffalo residents at the rally was not available Sunday night.
In the Albany demonstration Sunday, more than 1,000 singing and chanting abortion-rights activists from around the state gathered in the Capitol and vowed to make access to abortion a voting issue in the state this year.
The Albany rally and conference were sponsored by the state's National Organization for Women chapter, the Family Planning Advocates of New York State, the National Abortion Rights Action League and the New York Civil Liberties Union.