Tara Wicker shared her personal story with the several hundred people who marched Saturday in downtown Baton Rouge in opposition to abortion.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Councilwoman, now a mother of six, called her family to join her on stage after telling the story of her abortion at age 16.

“I found myself scared, pregnant and hopeless,” Wicker said. “I really thought my life was going to be over.”

Wicker said she decided to have an abortion after her boyfriend offered to quit football and get a job.

“That made me feel worse because at 16 all I could think was that I had suddenly messed up a lot of people’s lives,” Wicker said. "Sadly, and with an eternal regret, I made an awful decision to have an abortion."

Wicker said she and her boyfriend at the time — now her husband — were both devastated.

Many onlookers teared up listening to Wicker’s story. The crowd held up signs with this year’s motto, “Love Life.”

This year marked the 50th anniversary of Louisiana Right to Life, which sponsored the march from the State Capitol down North 4th Street to the Galvez Plaza. Organizers estimate 1,500 people attended the march from all over the state with the same mission.

Ellie Ross drives every year from Pearl River for the march with her sisters and friends from church.

“We have to speak up for the unborn children who have no voice,” Ross said.

State Rep. Rick Edmonds, R-Baton Rouge, a former pastor, led the crowd in chanting, “We stand for life!”

This year’s motto, “Love Life,” aims to encourage people to vote Nov. 3 on the Love Life Amendment. Passed by the Legislature last year, it would ensure the right to abortion and the funding of abortions are not in the state’s constitution.

Some states, like New York and Kansas, include a right to abortion in their state constitutions. That ensures abortion will remain legal in those states even if the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which said the U.S. Constitution protects abortion rights, is overturned.

Louisiana was ranked as the “most pro-life state” by Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group, partially because of laws passed in 2019. 

“I’m so proud Louisiana is number one in something,” Wicker said. “We’re always on the bottom of the list, but we’re number one in what matters.”

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled on March 4 to take up challenges to a 2014 Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. This will be the first major abortion case since President Donald Trump appointed two conservative justices.

Liz Murrill, solicitor general for the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, who will argue in front of the justices, said at the march that this will be a step in saying, “They don’t speak for us.”

Several Louisiana Democrats took the stage with Trump to speak at Friday's March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Back in Baton Rouge, the crowd cheered for Trump at the rally.

“It’s awesome to have a president who wants to stand for life in a way that no president has done before,” said Ben Clapper, Louisiana Right to Life Federation executive director.

Other politicians at the march in Baton Rouge included Republican state Rep. Mark Wright and Metro Councilman Dwight Hudson.