One estimate placed the size of the march in Washington, D.C., at close to 250,000. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, said the turnout demonstrated the momentum the pro-life movement has to end abortion. “It’s really important for our congressmen and our senators to know that the pro-life movement is out here and energized,” she said.
The march began with prayer by Anglican priest Martin Mims, who asked God to “forgive us for the many ways in which we have failed to respect the sanctity of every human life. Give us courage to be a voice for the voiceless.” He also prayed that America’s leaders would turn away “from choices made out of political expediency with no mind for your truth. Remind them of your promises. Turn their hearts to the children.”
U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.) told the crowd, “Thank you one and all for being an important part of the greatest human rights struggle on earth — the right-to-life movement. By the grace of God we stand behind, with, and unabashedly for both victims of abortion — women and children.”
Smith told the Cybercast News Service that there has been “almost a schizophrenic view when it comes to regarding the unborn child as expendable” compared to the manner in which the nation has come to the aid of those suffering and hurting in Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. “We have greatly and — thankfully — passionately stepped up to the plate to help people who are suffering from catastrophes like the Haitian earthquake,” he said, but added that “our hearts should go out in a like manner to the unborn and to the wounded mothers from abortion.”
Deirdre McQuade, a spokesperson for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that the D.C. march was focused on helping to build the momentum that will change the hearts and minds of Americans concerning the truth about abortion and its consequences both to individuals and the nation. “We’re working toward the day when abortion will not only be illegal but unthinkable,” she said.
A recent poll conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion indicates that there has been a definite shift toward a pro-life perspective among Americans. The survey, conducted between December 2009 and January 2010, found that 56 percent of those polled think abortion is “morally wrong,” with 58 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 calling the procedure wrong.
Surveys by the Pew Research Center also reveal that support for abortion has slipped. Pew surveys over the last two years show that while pro-choice Americans outnumbered pro-lifers by 54 percent to 40 percent between 2007 and 2008, by 2009 the difference had all but evened out, with 47 percent of Americans continuing their support for legalized abortion and 44 percent opposing it.
Similarly, Gallup surveys revealed a significant shift nationwide away from support for abortion, showing that in 2009, for the first time in more than a decade, more Americans polled identified themselves as pro-life than pro-choice.
“Americans of all ages see abortion as something morally wrong,” said Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, the group that commissioned the Marist survey. “America has turned a corner and is embracing life, and in doing so is embracing a future we can all be proud of.”
Photo: AP Images