WASHINGTON — Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country gathered on the National Mall to voice their opposition to legal abortion in America at the 40th annual March for Life Friday.
Standing below a banner highlighting the 55 million abortions that have occurred since the legalization of Roe v. Wade, politicians and advocates spoke against the practice and the policies that validate it.
“Abortion truly is the human rights abuse of today, and abortion is not good for women,” Jeanne Monahan, the March for Life director said at a rally in advance of their march to the Supreme Court. She proclaimed pro-life the “new normal” and urging the those gathered to be in touch with their representatives.
Speaking to the crowd via a large screen video, Speaker of the House John Boehner fondly remembered pro-life activist and founder of the March for Life Nellie Gray, who passed away last year.
The speaker urged that the movement needs to take up where Gray left off.
“For the new Congress that means bringing together a bipartisan pro-life majority and getting to work [to protect the sanctity of life],” Boehner said. “If it works for the will of the people we will again work to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, formally codify the Hyde Amendment.”
New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith, the co-chair of the Pro-life Caucus lamented “40 years of victims, dead babies, wounded women and shattered families. Forty years of government sanctioned violence against women and children.”
Calling Planned Parenthood President Barack Obama’s favorite organization, Smith blasted Obama’s pro-abortion views.
“Obama systematically promotes abortion at home and overseas,” Smith said, telling Obama “we will never quit” in the effort to stop abortion and that “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.”
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul spoke of the need for civilizations to have and adhere to a “moral compass” and that currently America “is adrift, adrift in a wilderness where right and wrong have become subservient to a hedonism of the moment. I believe our country is in need of a revival,” he said to “Amens!” from the crowd.
“I believe our nation is in need of a spiritual cleansing,” he added, saying that the movement will only reach their goals until “we begin to change attitudes. We must preach a gospel so full of justice that it cannot be resisted.”
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, spoke about his young daughter Bella and how he and his wife Karen were encouraged to abort her when they discovered she would suffer from the developmental disorder Trisomy 18. Instead, he said, she lives and brings joy to their lives.
“Give these poor children who are all too often if they’re discovered in the womb to have a disability, all too often aborted, please give them a chance,” Santorum said.
Additional speakers included other pro-life politicians, faith leaders, women who regretted their abortions, young pro-life leaders and the son of a rape victim.
Handmade and mass-produced signs alike at times blocked people’s view of the speakers, but the message was the same coming from all — life is the answer.
Patricia from Bridgeton, N.J., carried a homemade sign bearing a picture of a baby and a gun with the caption: “Would it bother you more if they used guns?”
“It’s been quite a hit today,” she told to The Daily Caller. “Lots of people have commented on it and taken pictures of it. Just because of the conversation everyone have been having about gun control in the last couple months in this country, it just seemed timely.”
A pair of women from just outside Atlanta, Rebecca and Maryland, told TheDC they were weathering the cold due to a friend’s experiences with abortion.
Rebecca said a close friend had been institutionalized following an abortion, and Maryland explained that a friend had had an abortion at the same time Maryland became pregnant.
“I had my baby, but then when my baby had his first birthday and then it hit me: she would have had a baby the same age,” Maryland said.
Many young people, brought by a school group or their parents or drawn by personal interest, attended as well.
Two shivering young girls from Virginia, Allison and Megan, told TheDC as their parents looked on with smiles that they were marching because they believed in the sanctity of life.
“I think every live from conception until its natural end should be respected,” Alison said.
Organizers estimated the number of marchers to be between 200-500 thousand.