Debate ensues over elementary students marching in anti-abortion rally
MOBERLY - Abortion rights protests are not new to Mid-Missouri. However, for some Moberly residents it was an unfamiliar sight to see elementary-age students walking through the streets holding “Choose Life” and “Defund Planned Parenthood” posters on Wednesday.
St. Pius X Catholic School held a school-sponsored field trip and march throughout downtown Moberly. Dozens of the private school students held posters and chanted through the streets with faculty.
Moberly resident Clayton Williams initially posted a video to Facebook he took from his car of the students marching on Wednesday. The 23 second video has since gained more than 8,300 views and dozens of charged comments.
Cory McCormick lives in Moberly and is the father of a 9 year-old son and 7 year-old daughter. His kids do not attend St. Pius X School.
“I just don’t see it making a lot of sense to them. They don’t need to be pulled out of class to protest,” McCormick said.
“At that age, they don’t need to comprehend any difference between pro-life or pro-choice,” McCormick said. “It’s a small community, and everything affects everybody around here.”
In a public statement issued Friday, the Diocese of Jefferson City confirmed the march took place during school hours and required a parent signature for students to participate.
The event by students and faculty was held to “coincide with the annual March for Life” in Washington, D.C. the release said.
The March for Life rally in D.C. occurs annually on the January anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade to make abortion legal under federal law.
In the statement, the Diocese of Jefferson City cited First Amendment rights in the school-sponsored event.
“The First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans to express themselves, and to freely exercise their religion. The St. Pius X School students and faculty participating in the local march were exercising these important constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”
St. Pius X principal Melissa Renfro was not available to comment.