March for Life marks 43rd anniversary of Roe decision legalizing abortion

IMAGE: CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz

By Kurt Jensen

admonitions about inclusion mixed with strong political language before the March of Life got
underway Jan. 22 in Washington.

At a Jesuit-sponsored
Mass for life at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church that morning, Father Paddy Gilger’s
homily reminded a small group of students that because Jesus made an effort to
be inclusive when he chose his disciples, they, too, should be respectful of
others’ opinions.

“As we join in the fight
against the scourge of abortion, our differences remain, and that’s OK,”
he said.

Father Gilger also told the
students to combine prayer and penance to create a culture of life. “Our
efforts are to be able to create the same amount of space for people to change
their hearts.”

Later, at the March for Life rally
at the Washington Monument, attended by nearly 50,000, Carly Fiorina, the
former CEO of Hewlett-Packard who is running for the Republican presidential
nomination, stuck to her standard political stump speech.

She drew loud cheers with her
claim, “You can bet that I will win this fight against Hillary Clinton.”

The next president, Fiorina
said, “will decide whether we force taxpayers to fund the political arm of
the abortion industry,” meaning Planned Parenthood.

“Make no mistake, ladies
and gentleman,” she added, “this election is a fight for the
character of our nation.”

Fiorina also expressed her
continued support for the series of videos released last summer by David
Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress that purport to show California
representatives of Planned Parenthood discussing the sale of parts of aborted

A lawsuit against Daleiden and
the center over the videos has reached the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,
with the National Abortion Foundation and Planned Parenthood accusing him of
misrepresenting his organization and illegally taping without permission, and
aiding in violent threats against abortion clinics and the women who go there.

Planned Parenthood officials
claim the videos were edited to manipulate the interviews and any mention of
money for tissue and body parts is related to customary handling fees. But Daleiden
and the Center for Medical Progress stand by its videos.

“Ours is a fight for the
character of our nation,” Fiorina said. “For the value of life. It is
a fight that we must win to take our country back, and citizens, we must take
our country back.”

Patrick Kelly, the Knights of Columbus
vice president for public policy, said opponents of the pro-life movement, “insist
on dividing and bullying those who disagree with them by speaking of a
fictional war on women. Our movement, the movement to protect human life, is
different. It is built by you, the grass roots. ‘ We come her to show that we
cannot be intimidated.”

Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey,
co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, praised efforts by state
legislatures. “The gains have been historic — 282 pro-life laws have been
enacted since 2010 including laws to stop dismemberment abortions, require a
72-hour waiting period, and informed consent.”

Smith, a Catholic, said the
House override vote of President Barack Obama’s recent veto of a bill removing
all federal funding from Planned Parenthood was scheduled for next week.

The rally was the first formal
involvement in March for Life, which is held on the anniversary of the Supreme
Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion, by the evangelical

“We are grateful for your
leadership on the culture of life,” said Jim Daly, president of Focus on
the Family. “It’s taken us time to come to the party, but we are here with

Daly also was headlining the
first major pro-life conference for evangelicals to be held in conjunction with
the March for Life.

After the rally, participants marched
up Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Marchers headed to the court as snow fell — the beginning of a snowstorm that was to turn into a major blizzard and leave at least 2 feet of snow in the Washington region.

Over the years, pro-lifers
participating in the March for Life have endured freezing rain, snow and
sub-zero temperatures and there might have been more than one blizzard that swept
through the nation’s capital on or around the Roe anniversary.

But 19 years ago, the
circumstances Jan. 22 were a carbon copy of what marchers faced this year. CNS
reported that a blinding snowstorm “whited out the view of the U.S.
Capitol” and “sent federal employees home from work before noon.”


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