WASHINGTON – Despite frigid temperatures and snow on the ground,the annual March for Life hosted thousands of people from around the country who walked from the National Mall to the U.S. Supreme Court.
On the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision,marchers gathered with their church groups and walked down Constitution Avenue with signs reading,“I am the Pro-Life Generation,” “Defend Life” and “Stop Abortion Now.”
“We are basically here to stand up for the voiceless and to fight for those who can’t speak for themselves,” Ana Urdaneta,15,a freshman at Stillwater Junior High School from Stillwater,Okla.,said.
The rally at the beginning of the march addressed the legality of abortion and what speakers said is its risk to women’s health.
“This war on women has wrongly been called the war on womanhood because the real war today is actually a war on motherhood,” Jeanne Monahan,president of the March of Life,said. “While every woman is not defined by her capacity to have children,the reality is that having a child is a miracle and it is an amazing beautiful gift,the gift of life.”
College students made up much of the crowd.
“I became pro-life because I realized that it was kind of crazy that abortion is still legal in our country,and that in this day and age you can still have murder legal in America,” Grace Daigler,20,a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville,Ohio,said. “But I’ve had personal experience talking with the women going in the clinics and those faces stick in my mind. … They deserve something better,and so do their children.”
House Republicans spoke about how abortion ties into the Affordable Care Act. The House is likely to vote next week on a bill that would ban any federal funding for abortions,and the issue was at the forefront of their minds.
“The ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,’ written by our good friend and colleague Chris Smith,will respect the morals and consciences of millions of Americans and ultimately will save lives,” Rep. Eric Canton,R-Va.,the House majority leader,said. “Getting this bill to the Senate,however,and signed by the president,will be a much tougher task.”
Chants of “Ho,ho,hey,hey,Roe v. Wade is here to stay,” and “Not the church,not the state,women must decide our fate” came from pro-choice advocates who were at the Supreme Court when the anti-abortion marchers arrived.
In a statement released by the White House,President Barack Obama reinforced his stance on abortion rights.
“We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe,affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy,including the right to reproductive freedom,” Obama said.
Despite the legality of abortion,many said they hope for change.
“You can deny it,but I think it affects everyone. It really does because it’s a cheat,” Tom Melinosky,20,a student at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell,Conn.,said. “People never even get a chance at life,and already are having it taken away from them. Even in capital punishment,at least they did something,but when it’s abortion they didn’t even have a chance to do anything and you’re just going to snatch it away from them.”
Reach reporter Caitlin Turner at [email protected] or 202-326-9865. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. SHFWire reporters Melhor M. Leonor,Griffin Moores and Cathryn Walker also contributed to this story.