JEFFERSON CITY -- A sea of bright red T-shirts filled the Capitol's Rotunda on Tuesday as those opposed to abortion gathered for a "Show Me Life" rally.
The president of Missouri Right to Life, other anti-abortion advocates, state lawmakers and Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft all spoke to the crowd and encouraged them to share their support for different pieces of legislation against abortion.
"Right to Life, and what we do as Missouri Right to Life, is important because we've got to watch the issues," Susan Klein, of Missouri Right to Life, said at the rally.
The rally has been a staple event for the organization for more than 20 years where supporters gather, listen to speakers and fill out prewritten letters of support for pro-life legislation.
This year's letter listed 12 House bills, five Senate bills, one Senate joint resolution, appropriation bills and a message regarding redistricting.
"It is important for us to stand together, and it is important for the life issue to be brought up on the House and the Senate floors," Klein said.
At the rally, some Missouri lawmakers sponsoring anti-abortion legislation had a chance to speak.
"The right to life is most important because any of our other rights, Second Amendment ... First Amendment, all those different things fall apart if you don't have the right to live," Rep. Sara Walsh, R- Ashland, said at the rally.
Walsh is sponsoring House Bill 1593, which would create the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act." If passed, it would provide additional protections for a child born alive after a failed abortion.
Sen. Eric Burlison, R-Christian County, is sponsoring Senate Bill 753 that would establish the same act.
So far in the session, HB 1593 has moved to the House floor and is awaiting action; SB 753 will be discussed at a public hearing today.
Along with the many Missouri lawmakers who spoke at the rally, Melissa Ohden shared her support for the anti-abortion movement.
"We have to let our voices be heard more than ever," Ohden said to the crowd. "I have every belief that Roe v. Wade is going to fall."
Roe v. Wade is a landmark case in which the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that a state law that banned abortions except to save the life of the mother was unconstitutional.
"When -- not if -- Roe v. Wade will be overturned," was a common phrase heard from many speakers at the rally.
One of the crowd members at the rally was Columbia resident Rachel Blackmore, who has been testifying as a citizen at public hearings.
"The pro-life movement has always been important to me," Blackmore said. "In a former life, I did grassroots organizing, and having the people here makes a difference on lawmakers."
Blackmore testified in support of HB 1593 and hopes to make it to the public hearing on SB 753 today.
"Everybody in this building, most of them are paid, and they come and they tell us why we should support whatever bill, but there's always some interest behind it," she said. "If more unpaid people like me would come here and say we value life ... it would be important."