About 250 Christians marched through downtown Billings to protest abortion Sunday afternoon.

The Billings March for Life is part of a national movement that began in Washington, D.C., to protest the 1973 legalization of abortion. The Sunday procession worked its way from St. Patrick’s Church to the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn, where speakers shared personal experiences with unplanned pregnancy and how their decision affected their lives.

The crowd included children and the elderly praying for the end of abortion and singing hymns and patriotic anthems. People displayed signs with slogans like “Women Deserve Better Than Abortion” and “Lord Forgive Us and Our Nation” while drivers in passing cars honked their horns.

Amy Seymour, of Joliet, organized the march as part of Yellowstone Valley Christians for Life, an interdenominational organization in opposition to abortion. The event is in its ninth year in Billings, and Seymour said the crowd was its largest yet.

“Each year when we do it a little more people come as we get word out a little better,” she said. “Unless there’s a blizzard out like there was in Washington, D.C., for their March for Life.”

Seymour, a member of St. John’s Catholic Church said the crowd included Christians from protestant churches as well as Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox congregations, mostly from the Billings area. She sees the movement gaining momentum, especially with young people.

The Yellowstone Valley Christians for Life will hold a speech writing contest for students in grades six to 12 on Feb. 28. Seymour said the event offers cash prizes and will strengthen participants’ ability to articulate the pro-life message.

The 2017 Billings March for Life is already planned for Sunday Jan. 22, the 44th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade United States Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

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General assignment reporter for the Billings Gazette.