Last year, participants in the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church Walk for Life skipped the walk, opting to ride due to the rainy weather. This year, they forged on despite light rain, making the 1.7-mile trek by foot.
About 100 walkers took a pro-life stand at the 41st annual event, walking from St. Stanislaus to the Wardsville Lions Club.
"Catholics are known for their support of pro-life issues," said Suzette Mertens, one of the organizers. "We're a very family-oriented community, and we love to show our support."
Participating families sought donations, and the event typically raises approximately $7,000. The proceeds are divided between seven pro-life groups: Missouri Right to Life, Birthright, Life Runners, 40 Days for Life, Pregnancy Help Center, Vitae Foundation and Pro-Life Across America.
After arriving at the Lion's Club, walkers could enjoy hot dogs, ice cream and other food before hearing from representatives of the seven organizations.
They also heard a story from Emma Brandt, a 16-year-old whose family is in the St. Stanislaus Parish. She and a 14-year-old sister, Sydney, are adopted. She chronicled how her birth mother visited an abortion clinic several times before ultimately deciding against an abortion.
"She could have taken the easy route. It would have been way easier for her. She hid her pregnancy. Her mom didn't know that she was pregnant until after she had me," Brandt said.
"Adoption is not an easy process. It's emotionally and physically draining for both sides," she said.
She lamented the fact that it's possible for someone to be charged with a double homicide in a vehicle wreck if the victim is pregnant. "But you can abort your child, because it's not considered a human being," she said.
People who have abortions are often haunted by the decision, she said. Even the fathers can go into a state of regret or grief.
However, the choice to put a child up for adoption ensures the child lives and goes to a loving home.
Being an adopted child isn't always easy, she said, and sometimes makes you question yourself. "You struggle with not having that biological bond, but then you have that amazing family that fills it," she said.
Susan Klein, executive director of Missouri Right to Life, said her organization is pushing for a bill in the state Legislature this year that would protect unborn babies when they reach 20 weeks of development.
She urged pro-life supporters to call their state-elected officials to support the bill.