Saturday, 26 January 2013

Record Half-million Rally for Annual D.C. Pro-Life March

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A record-breaking crowd of an estimated 500,000 pro-life Americans gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Friday to demonstrate their commitment to stand, pray, and work for an end to legalized abortion in America. Marking the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling that gave women the “right” to kill their pre-born babies, speakers noted that over 55 million babies have been sacrificed on the altars of convenience and “choice,” while the majority of Americans have stood by, passively accepting the ongoing holocaust.

“Can a nation long endure that does not respect the sanctity of life?” U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the national legislators to speak, asked the sober crowd. “Can a nation conceived in liberty carry its head high if it denies protection to the youngest and most vulnerable of its citizens?” Noting that “great nations and great civilizations spring from a people who have a moral compass,” Paul declared that America “is adrift in a wilderness where right and wrong have become subservient to the hedonism of the moment.” He challenged the crowd that “our country is in need of a revival. I believe our country is in need of a spiritual cleansing.”

Before opening the rally in prayer, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, got a rousing cheer from attendees when he relayed that Pope Benedict had tweeted his support of the rally. “I join all those marching for life from afar,” said the Pope's message, “and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life.”

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum related the journey of life he and his wife Karen have taken with their disabled daughter Bella, who was born with the devastating genetic disorder Trisomy-18. “We were encouraged to abort, because she would be saddled with disabilities and it would be better for her,” Santorum recalled. “But we all know death is never better. What it's about is it would be easier for us.... Bella is better for us, and we are better because of Bella.”

A number of congressmen, including Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), pledged to push ahead with legislation to defund once and for all Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. “We mourn the 40th anniversary of a taking away of a most basic and essential right to our most vulnerable sisters and brothers,” Democratic Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski said via a recorded message. “There are legislative battles to be fought, and I will continue to fight them as a pro-life Democrat, because life should not be a partisan issue.” Lipinski was the sole Democrat in Congress to oppose ObamaCare in its 2010 passage.

Outspoken pro-life Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) offered a rousing speech in which he openly challenged President Obama to face the truth about the “horrific legacy” of Roe v. Wade with its enormous death toll. “Since 1973, more than 55 million children have been killed by abortion, a staggering loss of children’s precious lives [and] a death toll that equates to the entire population of England,” Smith said. “Someday, future generations will look back on America and wonder how and why such a seemingly enlightened society could have failed to protect the innocent and inconvenient. They will wonder how and why a Nobel Peace Prize-winning president who spoke eloquently about caring, cherishing, and safeguarding all our children could also simultaneously have been the ‘abortion president.’”

Speaking directly to President Obama, the pro-life congressman challenged: “Know this — the pro-life movement is comprised of noble, caring, smart, and selfless people. It is an extraordinarily powerful, non-violent, faith-filled human rights struggle that is growing in public support, intensity, commitment and hope.... And know this, Mr. President. The pro-life movement is not only on the side of compassion, justice, and inclusion. We are on the right side of responsible science and of history.”

Sarah Torre of the Heritage Foundation's DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society noted that in spite of a chorus of pro-“choice” voices insisting that abortion on demand has benefited women and society, “today, roughly half of Americans now identify themselves as 'pro-life,' including many of the millennial generation.... As the March for Life draws to a close and Americans look to yet another year under the waning, yet still deadly ethic of Roe, there remains hope that government will one day soon return to a deeper respect of the principles that founded and sustain America by ensuring the basic rights of liberty and life to everyone — including those yet to be born.”

Over the past several years pro-life leaders nationwide have emphasized the need to challenge younger generations to step forward to protect the unborn, and the crowd of an estimated half-million march attendees reflected that changing demographic, with a healthy mix of both teens and young adults braving the cold weather to take their stand for life.

Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, told the pro-life crowd that their movement “remains more committed than ever to protecting unborn children and providing compassionate, life-affirming alternatives to their mothers.” She added that “what profoundly scares abortion supporters gives us enormous confidence in the future: young people are more and more pro-life. Our movement is re-energized and renewed every year when we see the March for Life and the rallies and marches held by our state affiliates featuring younger and younger participants.”

March for Life organizer Jeanne Monahan told that the record crowd for this year's march was due in part to increased concerns over the president's radical pro-abortion agenda. “The recent election has left pro-lifers wanting an outlet to express their strongly-held views to their legislators,” she said.

During an interview Friday on MSNBC, Monahan cited recent Gallup polls showing that Americans, particularly the younger generations, are increasingly identifying as pro-life. 
“If you went to the March today you would see a number of young, shining, energetic faces,” she noted. “This isn’t an extreme radical issue. This is the new normal. Being pro-life is a reasonable perspective.”

Photo: AP Images

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