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People attend an anti-abortion in rally in Phoenix on Jan. 22, 2013. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- Tuesday marked 40 years since the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

Hundreds of anti-abortion protesters marked the decision's anniversary with the Phoenix Rally for Life outside of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Phoenix.

Forty bells rang out, one for each year that has passed since the decision. Several state lawmakers were at the rally, and a proclamation was read from Gov. Jan Brewer supporting the anti-abortion movement.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery told the crowd that abortion should be illegal.

"The first civil right mentioned in our founding documents is the right to life, for without the right to life, liberty has no meeting and there can be no pursuit of happiness," he said. "Yet for 40 years now to the day since Roe v. Wade, our nation has tolerated the killing of innocent children, with over 55 million having been slaughtered."

Montgomery put that number in perspective.

"That's over nine Holocausts. That's 5,500 D-Days. That's more than 18,000 9/11s. That's 2.75 million Newtown shootings."

Karen Williams of Phoenix had an abortion about 25 years ago. She told the crowd that she thinks about her baby every day. She named her unborn child Michael. She wonders "what might have he become, had he been given the chance to live? I can only imagine a first day of school, a band concert, baseball games, picnics and proms, a wedding. I can only imagine."

Montgomery used the Newtown shootings to issue a personal plea to President Barack Obama to work to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

"If the deaths of 20 children cause such justifiable outrage and motivate you to exercise executive power, and you truly care about children, then act now! Act today," he said.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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