WASHINGTON DC - Thousands of young adults thronged the National Mall on Friday to protest abortion and cheer speakers who called for overturning the 40-year-old landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
Protesters — drawn by social media and church youth groups — flocked to the annual March for Life despite subfreezing temperatures and snow in the forecast.
“We are winning with young people. I see it right in front of me today,” said organizer Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life Education & Defense Fund.
As one abortion opponent after another addressed the crowd, Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey drew the loudest applause with an attack on the court ruling: “Forty years ago this past Tuesday marks the Supreme Court’s infamous, reckless and inhumane abandonment of women and babies to the abortionists.”
“Know this, Mr. President — we will never quit,” Smith said before the marchers took off on their route down Constitution Avenue toward the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill.
In a video message, Speaker of the House John Boehner roused the crowd when he called abortion “a defining human rights issue of our time. He said, “Because human life is not an economic or political commodity … no government on Earth has the right to treat it as such.”
Pope Benedict XVI sent them his encouragement by way of his personal Twitter account, @pontifex: “I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life,” he posted early Friday morning.
Anina Lund, 14, Monica Dewey, 15, and Monica’s brother Jackson, 12, came from West Chester, N.Y., with a group from St. Anne’s Church — 118 people all clad in neon-orange hats and green scarves to keep sight of each other in the giant crowd. Both girls spoke of how their families faced abortion decisions.
Monica, one of 10 children, recalled, “My younger brother was very sick in the womb and the doctors told my mom to abort the baby, but she chose not to. He is here today and he is perfectly healthy.”
Jackson chimed in, “It’s pretty cool that my mom didn’t give up. It’s cool that I am alive.”
Anina had a similar story: “I had a little sister who was going to be aborted because she was premature. But now, she is 7 and she is perfect. This march gave my mom so much support.”
Lauren Benzing, 18, of Solon, Iowa, who came with 350 others on 13 buses from the Catholic Diocese of Dubuque, was too young to vote last November but, she vows, “as soon as I can (vote), I will support pro-life. But with the march, I feel like I can still make a difference.” (read more)