While Canadians went to the polls to bring in Stephen Harper’s Conservative minority government, U.S. pro-lifers converged – at least 100,000 strong – on the Washington Mall.
More and more, the annual Marches for Life in Ottawa and Washington are being represented by the young, who have survived an entire generation of abortion. The Syracuse Post Standard newspaper reported that the overwhelming majority of the marchers had not yet been born when the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision made abortion legal in throughout the U.S.
Seventeen-year-old Andrew Carroll, one of about 600 people bused to Washington by the Catholic diocese of Covington, Ky., said, “It is just amazing to go up Capitol Hill and see all the people. You can’t even see the end of the people. It is powerful. There is a lot of diversity. It is indescribable.”
Dispelling the myth that young people are led into the pro-life movement by their elders, he said, “As soon as I could think on my own, this is something I wanted to fight.”
Twelve-year-old Theresa Maloney attended from Kensington, Md. She said, “Abortion is very wrong, because it’s killing unborn babies and a lot of kids could be alive if abortion didn’t ever happen to them.” When Theresa was asked what a 12 year-old could do for the pro-life cause, she responded, “Well, I can march!”
Other notable aspects of the event included the growing presence of women with signs reading, “I regret my abortion.” They are part of the Silent No More campaign that made its first appearance at the Washington march in 2003. They have also been a presence at the Canadian march in recent years.
Christopher Smith, the Republican congressman from New Jersey, said Silent No More women “are proof that there is reconciliation and there is hope.
“We are so glad to have the women of Silent No More here with us on the stage. Their testimony gives witness to the lie that the other side puts forth, that abortion is pro-woman,” Smith said.
Euthanasia has forcefully entered the pro-life arena in the U.S. with the court-ordered dehydration killing of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, spoke, saying the foundation the family established in her name would bring the fight against euthanasia to public prominence.
“We lost Terri, but this does not mean God did not hear your prayers,” said Schindler. “Your prayers sustained our family, and we are here today to tell you that we are going forward to fight against care rationing, euthanasia and medical killing. We have established the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation to help others avoid the same fate my sister endured.”
Bloggers with their camera phones and internet connections provided photographic evidence that the march, despite its characterization by mainstream media, is no “oldies-only” event. A Blogs For Life conference, sponsored by the Family Research Council, helped pro-life bloggers, who rarely meet in “real time,” get to know each other and exchange notes.
Numerous universities and schools sponsored groups and provided transportation, including Princeton University, where notorious eugenics and infanticide advocate Peter Singer holds a chair of bioethics.
From New York City, which recently broke records with a 40 per cent abortion rate, 60 young people sponsored by the New York Catholic Archdiocese joined 300 others riding buses all night to represent the unborn in their beleaguered city.
The presence of more and more Catholic bishops is a March for Life feature most welcomed by Catholics. This year, the Bishop of Lexington, Ky., Ronald Gainer, rode to the march on the bus with others from his flock. “It’s not all that comfortable, but I find it fun and invigorating to be around with the people,” he said. He rode home with a group of high school students sponsored by their Catholic school.
Gainer has attended the march every year since he was installed as bishop and joins pro-lifers in his diocese praying at abortion sites. “I go out of a personal conviction, but also out of the idea that my example can help to teach and lead,” he said.
At the shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the eve of the March, over 600 clergy and bishops at the annual Mass for Life.
A message from President George W. Bush encouraged the marchers to keep fighting for life. The president outlined legislative and judicial gains against abortion in the U.S. “We’re vigorously promoting parental notification laws, adoption, teen abstinence, crisis pregnancy programs and the vital work of our faith-based groups,” he said and urged the marchers to keep fighting. “There’s more work to be done,” Bush said by telephone from Manhattan, Kan.
This story originally appeared Jan. 24 at LifeSiteNews.com.