Washington—Pro-life supporters from across the country braved the elements in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 22, the anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 to legalize abortion, to make the annual March for Life from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Supreme Court building.
Couples, women with babies snug against their chests, students, grandparents, Catholics, Protestants, representatives from the Jewish community, and those with no faith, braved the biting cold, waving signs, cheering and clapping for speakers while covering their faces, rubbing hands together and stamping their feet to stay warm at the starting rally near the Washington Monument. Legislators, pro-life and religious leaders urged marchers to continue their commitment to the pro-life cause.
On the platform was Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore, who led the march’s final charge and a closing prayer, beseeching God to make the march unnecessary for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “We pray … that we will receive all people regardless of stage of conception, or disability, as made in the image of God.
“Lord, as we march, we pray for confidence … not in our numbers … not in our strength, but in the confidence that the light shines in the darkness, the darkness has not, the darkness will not, the darkness cannot overcome it. And we are here of many faiths, and some of no faith but I pray this in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ.”
Thousands of anxious marchers were already on their way before Moore’s “Amen,” a huge sea of people, all bundled up for the cold, carrying signs, some chanting, some holding hands, priests’ and nuns’ robes flying behind them as they moved. With the snow continuing to fall, and the rest of Washington scurrying to gather last-minute supplies, a state of emergency called, the crowd appeared upbeat and spirited. As Washington, D.C., was shutting down, the march moved forward.
Previously, also on the platform, March for Life Chairman Patrick Kelly welcomed marchers to “… the largest annual civil rights demonstration in the world.”
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) told the crowd, “We are turning the tide! Today, the pro-life movement is stronger than ever and is making serious, significant and sustained progress,” Smith said.
“State level gains have been historic,” Smith said, adding that 282 pro-life laws have been enacted since 2010. “In the last year alone, nine powerful pro-life measures have passed the house,” he said.
Smith said more than 7 million children have been aborted since 1973, which is estimated to be the killing of a child every two minutes.
“You are the antidote … to this present darkness, the culture of death,” Smith said.
“For the sake of women and children, because we love them both, be further involved, defend life with all the courage, faith, insight, compassion and love that you have to muster,” he said. “Don’t back down, or give up or ever get discouraged. Ever.
“Someday soon America will protect the weakest and most vulnerable, and into eternity each and every one of you will have played a critical part in this human rights struggle.”
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, coming straight from the inaugural “Evangelicals for Life” conference, sponsored by the ERLC and Focus on the Family, at the nearby Hyatt Regency, Capitol Hill, was quick to acknowledge the large Roman Catholic contingency presence.
Daly said Focus on the Family’s “Option Ultrasound,” which provides grants for ultrasound machines and sonographer training to life-affirming pregnancy medical clinics in communities with high abortion rates throughout the United States, has saved an estimated 358,000 from abortion.
“Moving forward, we need to look at those who aren’t awake yet to the reality of what’s being done, with the grace of God, the love of God and the truth of God’s Word,” he said.
Matt Birk, Baltimore Ravens’ center from 2009-2013, was part of the team that won Super Bowl XLVII. Kelly, March for Life chairman, called Birk a Super Bowl Champ and a pro-life champ. Birk received significant media coverage when he chose not to participate in a White House Super Bowl celebration with President Obama because of the president’s support for Planned Parenthood.
Birk told the crowd many asked him why he attends the march. “I’m a football player. I like to keep things real simple,” he said with a smile.
He noted, “I’ve never heard a woman give birth to a baby and say ‘I wish I had an abortion.’ That’s why we march. I’ve never heard someone say ‘I wish I had fewer kids.’ That’s why we march!”
“… If you’ve ever seen a baby being born, even though it happens millions of times a day, it’s still a miracle, it’s pure joy,” he said. “If you’ve ever experienced adoption, which my family and I recently did, it’s one of the most beautiful things in the world.
“It’s an act of sacrifice by the birth mother to know that she can’t give the child what he or she needs and so she does the selfless act of giving the baby up for adoption. That is love. In this world where we have dictators and communism and nuclear weapons and disease, don’t we need more miracles? Don’t we need more joy? Don’t we need more love?”