RALEIGH (WTVD) -- In conjunction with March for Life with NC Rights to Life, teens from across the state came together for their own pro-life rally Saturday morning. It's an annual event that has grown significantly over the past five years.
This year's Love My Life Rally at Halifax Mall in downtown Raleigh drew teens from Burlington to the Outer Banks who came out with friends, family members, and various faith groups.
"I am pro-life, I just believe that everyone should get a chance to live," said high school senior Alaina Elizondo.
That theme echoed through the rally, hitting home for many of the middle and high schoolers who said they've witnesses some of their peers face the realities of an unplanned pregnancy.
"They don't want to raise it because they're young. But there's always options, you can put it up for adoption, keep the baby alive, you don't want to kill it before it has a chance in life," said 8th grader Patrick Rowell.
This was the first year the youth rally has been held at the Halifax Mall. In the past it's taken place behind Sacred Heart Cathedral, but they had to move this year because they'd simply outgrown their old space. In fact, in this fifth year of the event, the rally was estimated to have between 1,200 and 1,500 students, up from just 300 the first year, signaling to Bishop Michael Burbidge that this is an issue today's youth takes very seriously.
"They get the truth, they understand that all of human life from conception to natural death is sacred and needs to be protected. And our society needs witnesses to do it, and look at these people [here] stepping forward," said Bishop Burbidge.
Meanwhile another much smaller group gathered nearby with a message of a different kind.
"We just think it's important to let people know that pro-choice people are out there. We are vocal and won't back down. While we understand and appreciate the need to have a rally like this, it's important for the community to understand that there are those who support your choice if you have to make a difficult choice and choose abortion at some point in your life," said pro-choice supporter Kelsea McLain.
Despite the differing viewpoints, that group kept their distance from the youth pro-life rally. And simply the presence of both groups reiterated the bishop's belief that our younger generation has a vested interest in the issue of abortion.
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Love My Life Rally draws teens from across North Carolina to Raleigh