Right to Life march a reminder the issue hasn't gone away

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Children gather on a snowbank to protest abortions at a Right to Life rally and march on Saturday in Coeur d'Alene.

COEUR d'ALENE - Linda Eaton knew it was one of the hardest decisions of her daughter's life, choosing not to keep her baby.

What the young woman wrestled with, Linda said, was how to part with the potential newborn.

"She checked out families for adoption, and she said if she didn't find a good family she was going to (abort) it," Linda said. "And she found a good family."

The Coeur d'Alene woman firmly believes her daughter made the right decision, she said on Saturday. Holding a sign reading, 'As a former fetus I oppose abortion,' Linda joined over 100 others by the Skate Plaza Roller Rink for the national Right to Life rally and march in Coeur d'Alene.

"It's good to be alive," said Linda, a mother of four. "I think everybody should have that choice."

The gathering marched along U.S. 95 with pro-life signs held high. Many participants had driven in from out of state, and a number brought their children.

The intent was not to demand that Roe v. Wade be overturned, said Hans Neumann, co-chair of Coeur d'Alene Right to Life.

It was merely a reminder that the issue hasn't gone away.

"We're not in the message making business," Neumann said. "We're here so the population does not forget."

Heidi Eaton, Linda's daughter-in-law who drove to the rally from Newport, Wash., said she wants to see more voices involved in decisions about abortion.

She has a friend who's child was aborted without his consent, she said, which she finds disturbing.

"It should be as much the man's choice, not just the woman's," Heidi said.

Patrick Kirlin said he has participated in Right to Life rallies since 1980. The Spokane Valley resident said he has been passionate about opposing abortion since he was 12, when he saw graphic photos of aborted fetuses at a pro-life demonstration.

"They have haunted me ever since," Kirlin said.

He is most concerned about how abortions affect the women who have them, he added.

"They don't know the impact of what they've done until it's too late," he said.

Chris Simpson, father of 10, stood with some of his children at the rally. His 5-year-old Lucy mounted a snow bank with the sign, 'Abortions Kill Children.'

"I think life is meant to be defended and all children are a gift from God," Simpson explained of why the issue is close to his heart.

He thought it was important for his children to attend, he added.

"I hope my kids see that it's good to stand up for what you believe in, and all life is sacred," he said.

Sen. Steve Vick spoke briefly at the rally about pursuing pro-life legislation.

Vick emphasized understanding others' life experiences that inspire their positions on abortion.

Some in the crowd shed tears as he spoke of his own stillborn son, who he saw after the birth.

"He was fully a human boy. My wife and I talked to him before he was born and sang songs to him, and we knew him," Vick said, pointing to that as the basis of his pro-life stance. "That's my life experience."

Vick encouraged those at the rally to be compassionate toward those who disagree with them.

"We need to win this battle the right way," Vick said.

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