WASHINGTON – January 24, 2014 – On a day that saw temperatures drop into single digits, peaceful protestors braved yesterday’s arctic weather to participate in the 40th annual March for Life. Undeterred by frozen roads, cancelled flights, and a general mainstream media blackout, a veritable sea of pro-life marchers gathered to protest the Supreme Court decision which has allowed over 57 million abortions to take place in America.
Sometimes boisterous and sometimes reverently quiet, the generally pleasant crowd took their protests and prayers from the National Mall to the steps of the Supreme Court itself.
This year’s march saw a slight change in format. Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia and Democrat Daniel Lipinski of Illinois cut down the often long-winded political speeches and accolades as the only two political appearance during the day. Whether this was in consideration of the weather or a nod towards a widespread general frustration with politics, it seemed a welcome move by those in attendance.
Catholic crooner Matt Maher, who added a musical touch to the pre-march rally, joined the speakers. Also present was an increased attention to other pro-life issues, such as respect for the elderly and humane end of life care.
If Roe v. Wade was decided in the cold heart of winter, it hasn’t prevented increasingly larger and younger crowds from joyfully descending on the nation’s capital each year. Far from appearing to be disconnected teenagers force-marched onto a bus by their religious parents, these young people sang, chanted, and brought a truly vivacious atmosphere to the otherwise freezing day.
Another demographic detail that might unnerve those who would propagate a “war on women” mentality: young women surprisingly dominated the crowd.
A young Kevin Hamilton made the trip to D.C. from Chicago with a large contingent of teens from St. John Cantius Catholic parish. When asked why he would come all this way just to march up to a fenced staircase.
“I think it is a simple matter,” Hamilton says. “If the rights of the youngest are violated, it won’t be long until all of our rights will be under attack. I’d like to think that if I was alive during the Holocaust, I would have done everything I could to prevent it. Now we have a generational genocide happening, and it’s up to my generation to be a pro-life generation and to set things right again.”
With a drum-line providing a beat, Kevin and several friends helped lead other marchers in raucous songs and chants from their perch atop a rolling platform with several of his friends.
College students from Christendom college in Front Royal, VA, had their bus transportation cancelled due to icy conditions. Students responded by packing every available vehicle they had bringing a large banner and sizable contingent to the event.
The very rear of the march was brought up by the Society for Tradition, Family, and Property, whose snappy red banners flew high above the march. Their very own smartly uniformed band played rousing marches on fifes, pipes, and drums, bringing the march to a rousing finish.
As marchers arrived at the Supreme Court steps, some stopped to pray and contemplate, others to hold up their signs in protest, while others met with friends from around the country in joyful reunions.
While the event continued to be dominated by the Catholic establishment, from the Papal Nuncio to many young clergy marching among the protestor, there was a noticeable increase in protestant and non-Christian presence.
One man even marched carrying an “Atheist for Life” sign.
The mainstream media seemed to continue its general blackout and marginalization of the event. Despite drawing an estimated several hundred thousand marchers on one of the coldest days of the year, outlets like the Washington Post and local CBS Washington gave them credit for mere “thousands.”
On MSNBC, comedians Lizz Winstead and Sarah Silverman gathered to discuss the pro-life march. Rather than engage in an intelligent conversation on the issue, Silverman mocked the movement to ban abortion by comparing it with a hypothetical banning of masturbation, while Winstead mused that the movement was driven by proponent’s miserable sex lives.
Meanwhile on Politico.com, the first available picture in a slide-show from the march bears the title “Anti and pro-abortion activists clash and argue in from of the U.S. Supreme Court on the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Jan. 22.” The caption and photo are curious, as pro-abortion demonstrators seemed entirely absent from the entire route of the March for Life.