01.27.2020 0

The 47th March for Life was an historic, hopeful event

By Richard McCarty

The 47th Annual March for Life last Friday was historic and hopeful. President Trump did something that none of his predecessors have done – he attended and addressedhttps://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-47th-annual-march-life/https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-47th-annual-march-life/ the crowd at the pro-life rally. Tens of thousands of marchers were in attendance, including Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School student who just reached a settlement with CNN after suing the network for defamation. The happy throng included both the young and the elderly and those of every race.

Marchers carried a wide variety of signs. There were a number of signs with an image of President Trump that read, “Most pro-life President ever”; there were also a number of signs depicting a panda holding a sign reading, “Save the baby humans.” One boy carried a handmade sign that read, “Real men protect life!!!” A marcher carried a handmade sign that read, “True feminism recognizes the dignity women and the gift that is motherhood.” Some protesters’ signs quoted Dr. Seuss; others quoted Mother Teresa.

Some signs were deeply personal. For example, some women carried signs reading, “I regret my abortion.” One woman carried a handmade sign that read, “I had an abortion… Don’t make the same mistake!” Other women carried more uplifting signs, including the young woman who carried a sign that read, in part, “23 years ago doctors told my mom to abort me, today I march.” Another woman carried a sign with a photo of her son that read, “My son I had at 17, now in college, no excuses – choose life.” Still another woman carried a sign with photos of her son that read, “My unplanned pregnancy is now a freshman at Stanford.”

Asked why they attended the March, attendees gave a number of answers. A.T., a young woman, replied, “I attended the march out of a sense of duty… Up to the march I thought a lot about people who could barely protest for their own sake in Hong Kong and Venezuela, so for the unprotected class in my own country I ought to do what is now the very least, because it [is] so easy.” Willie stated, “We continue to march for the day when the horrible tragedy of abortion will no longer be legal, and society will care for the women facing unplanned pregnancies.”

Shelley, a mother who traveled several hours to attend the March, gave perhaps the most compelling answer. “I attended the March because I cannot just standby while babies are murdered. Years ago I thought a little different – I felt if a woman was raped then the baby would be born out of hate. With much research… I started to understand that the baby did nothing to deserve death. Also when Katelyn [her daughter] was in utero – they started noticing some abnormalities and asked me if I wanted to abort. I was appalled. That… solidified my attitude change for life. I marched for her and other babies with disabilities who deserve to live.”

Asked what stood out to them about the March, respondents also had a variety of answers. For A.T., “What stood out was all the groups whose presence disproved some characterizations about pro-lifers, such as: post-abortive women… literally any ethnic minority group… [and] all the children!” For Juan, “What stood out, is that a lot of people appreciated that the President spoke at the event.” He also noticed that there was “a lack of media coverage.” Willie noted that “the March is always a youth event, but it was fun being reminded how young it is with all the Baby Yoda, and even Epstein themed signs.”

Shelley stated, “What stood out to me was the large turnout of the younger generations marching and how enthusiastic they were…! I also was completely impressed on how absolutely everyone was friendly to everyone, polite, non-violent to even the pro-abortion protesters, and how [the] massive crowd even cleaned up after themselves. In such a solemn event, there was love and compassion.”

Mary Ann served as a chaperone for the Respect Life Club that carried the banner at the front of the March this year. She found the March to be “a beautiful and inspiring experience” and thought that “it was very appropriate that an all-girls school led the March with this theme: pro-life is pro-woman.” She stated that “the spirit of community makes the day especially empowering. One of the students reflected that she would normally hate cameras on her, but she did not mind because this cause is so important. I think there was a strong unity in this feeling that we were marching for the right cause and appreciative of everyone else there defending life.”

While parts of the March for Life were somber, the March was largely a joyful event, unlike the typical angry Left-wing protest. Also unlike the typical liberal protest, the marchers were careful not to leave a mess for maintenance workers. As marchers approached the foot of Capitol Hill, they were greeted by the sound of a band of drummers and bagpipers who stood at the side of the road and played for them. At the end of the March, a Latino band stood along the sidewalk and played as they sang, “We are pro-life.” Marchers were glad to join other pro-lifers in calling for an end to abortion, were thankful for the President’s support for their cause, and were hopeful that the scourge of abortion will soon end.

Richard McCarty is the Director of Research at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

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