Despite the snow storm that buried the East coast Wednesday, tens of thousands of pro-life activists gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to mark the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling that has prepared the way for an estimated 56 million abortions.
In previous years, the march has drawn between 400,000 and 650,000, but due to the weather this week, numerous buses and planes were cancelled, creating a visible drop in numbers at this year's rally and march -- from all the buses of the Philadelphia archdiocese to singer/songwriter Matt Maher's appearance were cancelled because of the weather (Maher would instead open and the rally).
March for Life organizers insisted pro-lifers wouldn't be daunted by the frigid weather in D.C. "We may be freezing, but we're freezing for the best cause in the world," said Patrick Kelly, chairman of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. "No sacrifice is too great for this cause," said Jeanne Monahan, the group's newly minted president.
Speakers at the rally from from both sides of the political spectrum, including Dr. James Dobson, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Washington State Democratic Legislator Roger Freeman. "
Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, related that in 1973 he was driving home on the freeway when he learned of the Roe v. Wade decision. "I grieved over it because I knew it meant millions of babies would die," he said. "Who would've known it would be 56 million by this point 41 years later?" He marvelled at the youth of the crowd. "Look at the young people who are here!" he said. "You are the hope of the future and together we're going to win this fight!"
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, announced that next week, the House of Representatives "will vote once and for all to end taxpayer funding for abortions."
Giovanna Romero of Latinas por la Vida told marchers that blacks and Hispanics are "systematically targeted by the culture of death." "Who is with me to fight the good fight?" she asked. "We are the pro-life generation and we will make a mark in history. … We will make an end to abortion!"
Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Ob/Gyns, said the front lines of the abortion battle are changing. It's no longer the clinic and the hospital, but the dorm room and campus clinic because of the promotion of emergency contraceptive drugs, which act as abortifacients. She told the youth, "you've now become the frontline in the battle against abortion."
Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said that the theme for this year’s march is adoption, which Monahan called a “heroic decision” for women in crisis pregnancies. "We want to eliminate the stigma of adoption and encourage women to pursue this noble option,” she said in a press release.