The 42 annual March for Life was held Jan. 22 in Washington D.C., with at least a half million people participating.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky led off the pre-March rally with a prayer, and he was followed by a short speech by March for Life chairman Patrick Kelly who said, “when I look out on this enormous crowd, I see a tide turning in America,” Kelly said. “The March for Life is getting bigger and younger every year.” Kelly also said, “history is on our side, because history is always on the side of those who fight for human dignity and human life.” He said the four-decade old March for Life is “the largest human rights march in the world.”
March for Life President Jeanne Monahan Mancini shared a tweet from Pope Francis about the March. He put out a message on social media that said, “every life is a gift. #MarchForLife.”
High school senior Julia Johnson said, “as a school, we are humbled and honored to have been selected to hold the banner for this year’s March for Life.” The entire student body of Shanley High School in Fargo, North Dakota, made the 24-hour school bus trip to the nation’s capital to participate in the March.
Johnson rallied the crowd, saying “our cause in defending life is a noble one. We are living in a modern-day holocaust … that takes the lives of 3,000 babies each day, more than one million babies each year.” The high school student continued: “It is our job to protect our brothers and sisters in the womb and their right to life. It is our obligation to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for value is not determined by size or age.”
Kathleen Wilson, who runs a chain of maternity homes in Virginia, explained that such crisis pregnancy centers exist to “help women in desperate need” and who “have lost hope.” She shared a story about saving a child conceived in rape and joy that the mother felt after giving birth.
The theme this year was “Every Life is a Gift,” and several speakers addressed eugenic abortion, or resisting them.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told the story of her son Gunner’s diagnosis with cystic fibrosis. “In the last six years, my life has changed dramatically by Gunner’s entry into the world,” Hawkins said. She and her husband have made financial and personal sacrifices to care for their son, but “it’s worth it.” The couple are now expecting their fourth child.
Hawkins said she knows from experience how hard it is to raise a disabled child, and how intense the pressure can be to have a perfect baby. “But abortion and IVF don’t make these babies more perfect,” said Hawkins, “they destroy them.”
Dr. Gracie Christie, a radiologist who specializes in ultrasound, told the audience about the joy of being there “for that awesome moment when a mother and father see their baby for the first time.” She also related the dark-side of ultrasounds, finding defects which often lead to the mother choosing abortion.
One such mother was Nancy Cruzer, Chicago regional director of Silent No More. She was told at five-and-a-half months that her child had hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain,” and was advised to have an abortion. She did and years later suffered nightmares from what she had done. She eventually found peace, but told the crowd, “I deeply regret my abortion and that is why I am silent no more.”
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, noted recent polling data that shows most Americans think that the abortion rate is too high, that abortion is immoral, and that abortion should be restricted at some point during pregnancy.
Politicians also addressed the March. Chris Smith (R, NJ) co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, told the crowd: “We have a compelling duty to protect the weakest and the most vulnerable from the violence of abortion,” as he admonished those who promote abortion for babies with defects or disabilities. “A prenatal diagnosis of disability should mean empathy, concern for the child and love, not a death sentence.” He also called the predominantly young demographic that attended the March, “the next Greatest Generation.” He vowed that Congress would pass a law later that day banning taxpayer funding of abortion. Rep. Kathy McMorris-Rogers (R, Washington) heads the House Down syndrome caucus and she said, “later on today in the House of Representatives, we will be passing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. We are holding the federal government accountable to protect your taxpayer dollars from funding abortion.” She said taxpayer dollars going to abortion funding was “a violation of public trust.” The only Democrat to speak at the March, Dan Lipinski (Illinois) said abortion should not be a partisan issue because “everyone needs to come together to protect life.”