WASHINGTON, D.C. — The world’s largest and most renowned pro-life event left its footprint on the nation’s capitol once again on Friday. The 45th annual March for Life welcomed tens of thousands from all over the country to peacefully protest and recognize the millions of unborn lives senselessly sacrificed at the altar of abortion. Though an occasion for grave reflection, the event typically evokes an energy and excitement in its participants. This year’s gathering was no exception, especially with the mild temperatures and sunshine. Lively chants, songs and rosaries could be heard as the groups moved along the National Mall with myriad banners, stopping occasionally to make new acquaintances or enjoy live bands on the sideline.
This year’s march, however, had something extra in store for its participants, as it hosted — for the first time — an appearance by a sitting president of the United States. Anxious and intent on hearing President Trump, the massive crowd stood with little movement, muffled voices, and attentive ears. The audience gave way to cheers and applause as the president stated, “Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence and that is the right to life.”
Among the many speakers for the march were Vice President Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Pence welcomed and encouraged the marchers in their endeavor to fight for life, “Forty-five years ago the Supreme Court of the United States turned its back on the unalienable right to life, but in that moment our movement began.” Pence also assured the “pro-life generation” not to doubt that the current administration is behind them.
Ryan, full of energy, discussed the support of science in the pro-life movement, noting how ultrasounds show more about pre-born babies than ever before, “how they develop, how they react, how they feel pain.” He went on to say, “We believe every person is worthy of love and dignity,” a sentiment woven throughout the March for Life.
With the apt theme “Love Saves Lives,” the rally was expected to draw “enormous crowds,” according to Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life. She went on to tell The Stream, “It’s not just moms and dads participating. Demographics continue to get younger and younger. They call themselves the ‘pro-life generation.’”
This march certainly bore witness to the growing multitude of young people proudly standing for life. Ryan, in his speech, noted the large number of young people in attendance and recognized their role in the rise of the pro-life movement. High schools, colleges, and youth groups from all over the country loaded up buses —some driving hours, others days — to be able to attend the event. Standing in solidarity with their peers, the march provides them with the encouragement of knowing they are not alone and to help solidify why they believe what they believe. As a group of young women dressed in all pink wearing makeshift crowns moved through the crowds carrying signs that read, “My body my choice,” one young man could be heard responding, “It’s not your body. It’s theirs” referring to the unborn child. A recognition so simple, yet one that has been convoluted by a culture of death.
On the sidelines of the stage, this writer met a small group displaying signs in support of life after rape (see photo above). One sign reading “Mother From Rape, I Love My Child,” was proudly held by Jennifer Christie, a pro-life speaker and rape victim. Becoming pregnant as a result of the rape, Christie found that she truly was pro-life in the strongest sense. Many who say they are against abortion make an exception in cases of rape, as if that child is somehow less human. Christie and her husband chose to keep the baby, believing in his dignity and purpose as an individual human being. In doing so, and in telling her story, she drew the wrath and spite of many who would eagerly discard the life of the little one due to the sins of his father.
The outrageous disregard for life has grown immensely since the legalization of abortion on demand, which the March for Life organization considers “the greatest human rights violation of our time.” It would be hard to argue otherwise, considering that the blight of abortion has cost the lives of over 60 million Americans.
Just months after the Supreme Court Case Roe v. Wade was decided on January 22, 1973, the March for Life was started by Nellie Gray, and has held annual demonstrations around January 22, with the original intent to remember the tragedy of the lost lives and hurting women.
Today, Mancini continues to move forward with the initial agenda of the organization, but also with the resolve to see the end of abortion: “Love is our mission as we seek a world where abortion is unthinkable.”
As she addressed the crowd, Mancini intensely asked, “Will you march today so that tomorrow we don’t have to march?” The response was a determined and resounding, “Yes!”
Forty-five years of legal killing is forty-five years too long. As Mother Theresa realized, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” May we endeavor to heal our impoverished nation.
Photo: Lisa Shaw