Español The 2014 March for Life, held yesterday in Washington, D.C., marked the 41-year anniversary of the historic 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling that abortion is a constitutional right in the United States.
Organizers estimated a presence of half a million demonstrators last year, but said this year that number was significantly lower due to the extreme cold. Even Christian singer and songwriter Matt Maher’s scheduled performance was cancelled, but that didn’t stop tens of thousands of protestors from showing up.
Prior to kick-off, attendees rallied to hear speakers like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), along with representatives Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO).
“I believe that one day in the not too distant future our movement will be victorious because we will prevail in securing a culture of life,” said Cantor. Hartzler affirmed her presence, saying that “We are here today to remember the millions of lives devastated with abortion and to pledge ourselves anew to upholding . . . the right to life.”
Other speakers at the march, whose theme was “Adoption, a Noble Decision,” included parents who adopted and children who were adopted themselves.
“[Women] make a household into a family. I should know. That’s what happened to my husband and me over 14 years ago, when a brave birth mother chose us to be the parents to her baby,” said Hartzler.
Paul Wilson, a freelance writer and blogger living in the D.C. area, said the March for Life “is evident proof that the pro-life movement will never cease to exist until abortion is fully destroyed in America. . . . The case against abortion rests on a simple point: human life, at any stage, is valuable and should not be destroyed.”
Wilson shared his own experience with the issue of abortion, saying, “I was very nearly the victim of abortion; my mother’s gynecologist was convinced that I would be developmentally disabled, and attempted to convince my mother to abort me. I wonder how many women were similarly frightened into aborting a ‘worthless’ pregnancy under false pretenses.”
Protestors filled the National Mall with signs reading “stop abortion now,” “life is a human right,” and “I am the pro-life generation.” Student groups appeared in large numbers with banners representing their affiliations and Catholic monks marched while reciting Gregorian chants in Latin.
Laurie Rice, research and program assistant for The Atlas Society, counters that the “Pro-life [view] is the nationalization of women’s wombs by the state. . . . [It] means initiating force against women to separate them from the ownership of their own bodies . . . [and] it sacrifices the clear personhood of a woman for the ambiguous personhood of developing matter.”
“If the March For Life has “affected” the abortion debate, it has only been to obscure the actual terms of the issue and threaten the liberty of women,” said Rice. “Libertarians, having unique principles about the role of local and federal governments, might oppose the legality of Roe v. Wade in specific ways. But pro-life advocacy is not in any way the appropriate forum to signal those nuances.”
According to the Pew Research Center, about 63 percent of US adults say they would not like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn Roe v. Wade, while 29 percent want to see the ruling overturned. At a personal level, though, about 49 percent of US Americans say that having an abortion is morally wrong, while 15 percent think it is morally acceptable, and 23 percent say it is not a moral issue.
Kate Bryan, director of communications for the American Principles Project, says “abortion is the greatest human rights abuse of our time, and [it] destroys the most innocent Americans among us — unborn children. With over 55 million children killed by legalized abortion since 1973 in America, and over 3,000 babies being violently put to death every day, the American people are more determined than ever to bring this abortion holocaust to an end.”
“The March for Life is rarely covered by the Mainstream media . . . for various reasons, but the coverage this year and last has really been unprecedented,” said Bryan. “The American people want to talk about abortion, and as they become more knowledgeable about it, they are becoming increasingly more pro-life.”
To the question of how abortion affects the political scene, Bryan said “abortion affects American politics, insomuch as it affects the American people . . . no matter their politics, every single person in America has been personally affected by abortion. Every person knows someone who had one, lost a child or cousin to abortion, or was a survivor themselves.”