Anti-abortion demonstrators gather at annual Roe v. Wade memorial service in Inverness
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Supporters gather at the annual Roe v. Wade Memorial Service in front of The Old Citrus County Courthouse. (Claire Grunewald/WUFT News)

Inverness, Fla. — On Jan. 22, demonstrators marched nationwide to campaign for abortion rights. But the following day in Inverness, demonstrators gathered in protest of abortion rights at the annual Roe v. Wade Memorial Service.

Around 150 people met at The Old Citrus County Courthouse to mourn over 60 million abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court 1973 ruling. Citrus County Right to Life has organized the service since the late 1980s. This is the first year it was held after the overturn of Roe v. Wade in July.

“This is a somber event but it is also a celebration because how many of us thought we would be alive to see the overturn of Roe v. Wade,” said Stephanie Bell, the director of Pregnancy and Family Life Center.

The service was held a day after in the same location as the local Bigger Than Roe rally organized by the Citrus Coffee Coalition. The women’s reproductive rights rally only garnered around 35 attendees.

Citrus County Right to Life President Kathleen Indelicato began the service by encouraging citizens to rally against abortion. The county needs to vote for the appropriate candidates, promote local crisis pregnancy centers and remind women there are abortion alternatives, said Indelicato,

“One of our causes is to remind the citizens of Citrus County that we are a pro-life community that supports life. We do not want abortion, at least in Florida, nor do we ever want an abortion facility in the county,” Indelicato said.

The Knights of Columbus assembly 1547 led the pledge and presented the colors. (Claire Grunewald/WUFT News)

Following Indelicato, the service consisted of guest speakers, a prayer service and a presentation of colors by The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization. It was hosted by Inverness Mayor Bob Plaisted.

Plaisted began hosting the service 15 years ago. The right to life is important to him and his city, he said.

“It’s important for all of us not only in our city but in our country to be caring about the right to life,” Plaisted said.

Plaisted said he believes the fight to get rid of abortion is far from over despite the federal ruling, he said.

Barbara Lord, a Hernando resident, said she was at the memorial following her religious beliefs. She goes every year and has marched in Washington, D.C. to protest abortion rights.

“We’ve reaped the consequences of the choices we make, and as a nation, we’re making some very bad choices,” Lord said.

The service ended with The Knights of Columbus leading attendees, who carried anti-abortion signs, around the courthouse in a silent walk. Afterward, attendees were encouraged to head to the Valerie Theatre for a free screening of “Mother Teresa: No Greater Love.”

Anti-abortion demonstrators participated in the silent walk around the courthouse. (Claire Grunewald/WUFT News)

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