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South Carolina Citizens for Life Celebrates Successful 50th Jubilee Anniversary

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Editor’s note. This appears in the February edition of National Right to Life News. Please share this story with your pro-life family and friends.

South Carolina Citizens for Life celebrated its 50th anniversary with a two-day event on January 5-6, 2024. The festivities included the Proudly Pro-Life Dinner, which featured Seth Dillon, CEO of the Babylon Bee, and the annual Stand Up for Life March and Rally, which has been held every year since 1974 despite the unpredictable January weather.

The Proudly Pro-Life Dinner was inaugurated in 2010 in the gymnasium of Our Lady of the Hills Catholic Church and has expanded annually since that time. In 2012, SCCL relocated to a venue that could accommodate the growth of the dinner through the previous year. This year, it became evident that a relocation to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center was necessary to accommodate the pro-life participants. Approximately 900 pro-life supporters convened to hear renowned pro-life speaker Seth Dillon and to enjoy uplifting music provided by Joyful Sound of North Greenville University and the Chetta Strings, a sibling group of professional musicians.

SCCL President Lisa Van Riper presented a special Jubilee award to Pastor Bill Monroe, pastor of the Florence Baptist Temple in Florence, South Carolina, who played a pivotal role in the establishment of South Carolina Citizens for Life in 1974.

Guests from outside the state included Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee; Lynda Bell, Chairman of the NRLC Board of Directors; and Bill Pincus, M.D., president of North Carolina Right to Life.

Video recollections of the SCCL’s 50 years of operation can be accessed via the following link.

The meteorological forecast for Saturday, January 6, indicated that precipitation would be heavy, with more than an inch of rain predicted to fall on the parade route. Many individuals engaged in prayer for divine intervention, and the precipitation diminished significantly by 9 a.m. The overcast and windy conditions did not dissuade at least 300 pro-life demonstrators from gathering at the University of South Carolina’s Russell House. They were led by the Knights of Columbus and proceeded to march seven blocks to the State Capitol.

The Stand Up for Life rally commenced at noon and concluded at 1 p.m. with prominent speakers, including Mrs. Tobias and South Carolina’s pro-life Lt. Governor Pamela Evette. Pro-life Attorney General Alan Wilson served as the emcee for both events, while his father, U.S. Representative Joe Wilson, R-S.C., was in attendance at both.

South Carolina Citizens for Life was established in 1974. On a fascinating note pertaining to the cycle of life, the Secretary of State who signed the Article of Incorporation, the late O. Frank Thornton, is the great-grandfather of one of SCCL’s and National Right to Life’s most active staff members, Austin Cherry. Austin commenced his volunteer activities at the age of 13.

He subsequently undertook an internship with the NRLC and lobbied at the United Nations as an NGO (non-governmental organization) representative for National Right to Life. He is now married and resides in Switzerland with his wife, Debbie. They are expecting their first child, the great-great-grandchild of the individual who signed the SCCL Articles of Incorporation fifty years ago.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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