LEWISTOWN - The steps of the historical Mifflin County Courthouse once again will be the site of a peaceful demonstration encouraging nationwide support to end abortion.
On the first Sunday in October, members of Citizens Concerned for Human Life of Mifflin-Juniata Inc. invite the community to join them in prayer and fellowship at the 2013 Life Chain rally.
The annual event is an extension of the National Life Chain, founded in 1987 by a small pro-life ministry in Sacramento, Calif.
Local event organizer Frank Cunningham said this is the ninth year the anti-abortion prayer rally will be held in downtown Lewistown. Over the years, he said, crowds have been as large as 100 people and as small as five, but that doesn't discourage supporters.
"I have been encouraged by number six of the 10 commandments," Cunningham said. "Do not murder."
With that in mind, Cunningham said he stands in solidarity with others who share a passion for protecting the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
Supporters are scheduled to gather at 1 p.m. Oct. 6 on the front steps of the historical courthouse in Lewistown. Cunningham said a prayer and hymns are scheduled for the rally. He also has invited Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, Congressman Glenn 'GT' Thompson and Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Education Coordinator Micaiah Bilger to speak.
Though pro-life efforts state-wide and nationally have not yet ended abortion in its entirety, supporters are watching numbers fall annually.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports there were 36,280 abortions performed in 2011 in Pennsylvania. The figure is a 44.8 percent decrease from 65,777 in 1980 - the highest annual number ever recorded.
Still, there is work to be done. The 2011 figure represents only a 1.4 percent decrease from 2010, and the department reported that although the number of abortions performed is declining annually, complications from abortion are increasing. The most recent figures show a 78 percent increase in complications from abortion in 2011.
Local people will continue their crusade in support of the unborn as they gather on Oct. 6. For more information about Life Chain, visit www.lifechain.net.