Marching for a cause
Despite the weather, 40,000 people showed to rally in D.C.
Although the Liberty University students planning on riding a bus to Washington D.C. for the March for Life could not attend because of snow, more than 40,000 pro-life citizens from around the nation gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., according to LifeSiteNews.com. The 43rd annual March for Life continued despite the impending blizzard Friday, Jan. 22.
March for Life, which protests the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, has become the world’s largest annual demonstration. The number of participants peaked in 2014 at over 800,000, according to the official March for Life website.
Attendance dropped this year due to the snow, which began falling at 1 p.m. Friday. Snowfall continued for 36 hours, dumping nearly 20 inches across the D.C. area, according to a report by The Weather Channel.
Protestors began arriving on site between 11 a.m. and noon. Protest organizers set up a stage with screens and sound equipment for the planned rally. The crowd heard from pro-life speakers, many of whom commended the demonstrators for staying despite the cold.
Lead bishops from the Catholic community opened the rally in prayer. They were joined onstage by nuns from Little Sisters of the Poor, the charity at the center of an upcoming Supreme Court battle over Obamacare.
March for Life President Jeanne Mancini introduced rally speakers over the next hour, thanking the crowd of protestors for their patience as the afternoon got colder. The theme for the rally was “Pro-Life and Pro-Woman Go Hand-in-Hand.”
Carly Fiorina, a Republican presidential candidate, expressed gratitude for protestors’ “devotion in defiance of the blizzard.”
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, and Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, also spoke. They were followed by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).
“I am a woman, and I have been to war, and let me be clear: This is no war on women,” Ernst said.
Ernst concentrated on contesting the claim that the pro-life cause is an assault on women’s rights.
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) gave the assembly an update on legislative initiatives around the nation to combat abortion, saying that more than 100 pieces of pro-life legislation had been passed since 2012.
“You are the antidote to this present darkness,” Smith said.
Sue Ellen Browder, a freelance writer, described her conversion from the pro-choice movement. She said the best way to promote the health and rights of women is to advance the pro-life cause. She called the pro-life movement the “authentic women’s movement of the 21st century.”