Marcia Coleman was a high school cheerleader, honor student and youth church leader when she found herself pregnant at age 14.
With family, faith and the child’s father by her side, she made the choice to keep her child. Now 30 years later, the two had the pleasure of advocating side-by-side against abortion, as part of Saturday’s “A Voice for the Voiceless” peaceful protest, held in Marshall.
“I was blessed to have my son, Adam Coleman, with me at Voices for the Voiceless prayer gathering and to protest the horrible sign that was recently placed in Marshall, Texas that read ‘Abortions are a blessing!’” said Coleman.
The controversial pro-choice billboard was first spotted in Marshall on Aug. 14, on Highway 59, near Golden Chick.
The billboard, owned by Lamar Advertising Company, was paid for by the abortion funding organization, Lilith Fund. Its black and white printed statement “Abortion is a Blessing. My decision to have an abortion was guided by my faith and my love for my family. Lilithfund.org/blessing,” was met with mixed reviews from the community.
According to the website, the Lilith Fund provides financial assistance and emotional support while building community spaces for people who need abortions in Texas.
Identical billboards are also located in Waskom, Carthage and Rusk. By Tuesday night, the sign in Marshall had ended up being destroyed as an act of vandalism.
Nevertheless, the demonstration, protesting against the billboard, still carried on Saturday in hopes to provide a resounding voice for the voiceless.
“Pregnancies are not always planned, and while my pregnancy at age 14 may not have been planned, the child I gave birth to at 15 and my loving and supportive family — parents and brother, and my now husband of 33 years, Terrell , and his family were certainly a blessing,” said Coleman. “My story may not be typical, but shows that it can be done with faith, integrity and some divine intervention.”
She said Adam was born when she was 15 and her husband, Terrell, was 17.
“We both finished high school and started college and moved to Marshall with our son in 1987, and got married in October 1988 when Adam was 4 years old,” she said. “We are still married 32 years later and now are blessed with Adam’s wife, Becca and two grandsons- Wyatt and Knox .
“I am so thankful for my many blessings,” said Coleman.
Coleman was joined by dozens of other pro-life advocates at Saturday’s protest.
Brandi Robinson, of Marshall, said residents came together for one purpose — to stand united for life, against the injustice of abortion, and be a voice for the voiceless.
“The billboard may not have been up at the time of the protest, but this was never just about a billboard,” said Robinson, one of the main organizers. “From our understanding the Lilith Fund had asked for the billboard closest to the school. This should be concerning to us all.”
Protester Rhonda Tress, of Marshall, said because she has personally been impacted by abortion, she does not want abortion access available in the city.
“I know firsthand how that choice can affect a person’s life in a very negative way and do not wish for anyone to have to live with those consequences and the guilt that comes with it,” said Tress.
Mark Lee Dickson, Director with Right to Life of East Texas, noted that just days prior to the protest the ACLU announced that the Lilith Fund and other pro-abortion groups are seeking to pass legislation on the local level to support abortion access in cities throughout the state.
He noted the Lilith Fund just successfully completed an initiative the organization helped lead to defund the City of Austin’s Police Department and reallocate $250,000 of taxpayer funds to support abortion assistance services in the city of Austin.
“Is this the kind of legislation the Lilith Fund would like to see passed in Marshall, Texas?” Dickson asked.
“Marshall residents do not want to see the city of Marshall ‘Austinized’,” he said. “Instead we have seen an outpour from the residents of Marshall that they want to see the exact opposite of Austin. We are hearing that the people of Marshall want to see their city join a wave of cities across Texas who have passed ordinances outlawing abortion within their city limits.”
Dickson, who has been the leader behind a movement encouraging cities to ban abortions within their limits, indicated on Saturday that he has already delivered to Marshall Mayor Terri Brown an ordinance, which would outlaw abortion within the city limits.
In support of Right to Life East Texas, the city of Waskom unanimously approved its ordinance last June, becoming Texas’ first “sanctuary city for the unborn.”
“Marshall is not the only city, which will be considering this ordinance,” said Dickson. “On Friday Senator Charles Perry announced that he was taking the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn ordinance to the city of Lubbock. Senator Perry is hopeful that the Lubbock City Council will be passing the ordinance soon.”
Dickson said he hopes the city of Marshall will pass this ordinance outlawing abortion as well.
“No babies should ever be killed in this city,” Right to Life of East Texas director said.