Thousands converge on state Capitol for annual anti-abortion rally

Noreen Hobson has attended every March for Life anti-abortion rally at the state Capitol in her 37 years of life, except for once when she was giving birth.

She was there again Tuesday, leading an estimated 3,000 people to the steps of the Legislative Building as president of the organization founded by her late mother, Kathy McEntee.

“Abortion was supposed to be this great solution to women’s problems — families would be stronger, women would be respected, poverty would end,” Hobson said. “None of this has come to fruition because abortion is not a solution at all. It is a great big lie.”

The rally came on the heels of the introduction of Senate Bill 5289, which seeks to require parental notification before a pregnant girl younger than 18 can have an abortion. House Republicans said they are introducing similar legislation.

Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, sponsor of the Senate bill, called the current pro-life movement the “greatest civil rights movement of our time.”

“The defense of innocent, vulnerable, defenseless, unborn children,” he told the pro-life advocates gathered. “They don’t have anyone to speak for them, so we need to speak for them.”

A parental notification proposal passed Padden’s committee last year, but never made it to the Senate floor for a vote. Padden said he is not dissuaded.

“We cannot rest until every innocent human life is protected,” he told the crowd at the rally.

Several conservative lawmakers spoke at the rally to offer their support for the bill. Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, said parents need to know about critical decisions facing their children.

“We need to have an influence on the lives of our children, so that if something happens that would upset them and potential grandchildren, we need to be there because that’s our role as parents,” she said.

As in the past, abortion-rights supporters are staunchly opposed to the parental notification bill.

“In the real world, some teens are from homes with abuse or addiction, and forcing those teens to notify their parents could put them in danger,” Jennifer Allen, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest’s director of public policy, said in a statement. “Instead of looking for ways to legislate family communication, our lawmakers should be addressing the real reproductive health issues facing Washington women and families, like access to highly effective birth control.