By – Peter A. Finocchio
Yesterday, the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, tens of thousands gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and marched to the Supreme Court building to show their solidarity for the unborn and others impacted by abortion. The March for Life has been held each year on the anniversary of the landmark ruling since 1974, the year after the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. I had the opportunity to attend this year’s march. Two things struck me by surprise. The first was how massive the crowd was. Never had I seen a rally this large. The Mall was crowded, and whichever direction I looked, I could see nothing but a sea of pro-life demonstrators. It took over three hours for the entire crowd to walk to the Supreme Court. The second surprise was the youth of the movement. In the sea of protestors, the most common face was that of a teenager or young adult. The average age at the whole rally could not have been more than thirty, and the plurality of these were high school or college students. Hundreds held signs that bore the words “We are the Pro-Life Generation.” By the looks of the rally, they meant it.
AMAC member Carol Presler from northern Virginia told me that she too was impressed with both the size and the youth of the crowd. “This is my third time coming to the March for Life,” she said. “And the crowd is bigger and younger than ever. The energy I saw today has given me hope.”
At the end of the rally, dozens of men, women, and children gave personal testimonies about how they were affected by abortion. This was the most powerful part of the event. Among these were mothers who regretted their abortions, fathers who wept for their lost fatherhood, and former abortion-performing doctors who mourned for their victims. A doctor who had performed more than 1,200 abortions realized after the death of his own child that what he was doing wasn’t simply a medical procedure. A mother wept when she recalled telling her daughter on Mother’s Day that she had a sister, and asked for her daughter’s forgiveness. A man recalled going to Planned Parenthood with his girlfriend for actual parenting advice, only to be persuaded by them to abort the child. “You are too young,” the ‘specialist’ told them. Another woman had also had the decision forced upon her. “This wasn’t my choice!” she cried. A woman recalled being driven to the abortion clinic at age seventeen and crying. A week later she had attempted suicide. Another begged the doctor to stop the procedure, only to have been told it was too late. Mothers spoke along with their daughters and sons. Each of them had named their aborted child. Born and unborn, these were real people whose choice had impacted them in real, irreparable ways. They vowed to be silent no longer.
For decades, pro-choice advocates have slandered those who oppose abortion as “too extreme” on the issue. Once thought to be on the electorate’s fringe, now nearly a majority of the American people label themselves pro-life. A full 84 percent favor significant restrictions on abortion. Only 9 percent endorse “abortion on demand,” including only 17 percent of those who actually consider themselves pro-choice. Sixty-eight percent oppose the use of taxpayer money to fund abortions. Those who champion the cause of life have gained enormous ground and are continuing to do so. The youth and energy of yesterday’s rally has convinced me that this is indeed the pro-life generation.