by Steven Ertelt
January 24, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — With a larger turnout that in previous years, at least 250,000 pro-life advocates marched in Washington Monday for the annual March for Life.
Those attending celebrated the pro-life accomplishments over the past year and the energy level was high as speakers talked about the upcoming battles during 2005, including a likely fight over a Supreme Court appointee.
The day began with a mass and a pro-life youth rally at the MCI Center featuring thousands of young Americans from across the nation. From there, pro-life advocates gathered for a rally at the Ellipse and then the traditional march to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rachel Johnson came from Kentucky because "I love children and I cannot imagine anybody killing a little baby." She said she has a friend who has had an abortion and noted the negative impact it had.
Brandy Gonzalez was one of tens of thousands of young Americans at the march, as is always the case.
"I think abortion is stupid and it should be considered murder," she told the Los Angeles Times. "I’m Daniel Waid and I agree with her message," her friend added, poking fun at political commercials.
Marchers held dozens of different signs with some saying, "Stop Abortion Now, and "A Baby’s Heart Starts Beating in 18 Days. Who Are You to Kill It?"
Others held signs focusing on how abortion hurts women, such as "Women Deserve Better Than Abortion."
Marchers heard from a number of pro-life members of Congress who talked about past accomplishments and future plans.
"The end of abortion on demand has started in America. In its place, a spring of life has begun," Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas said.
Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican, urged marchers to "never, ever back up," and to keep marching "until we celebrate the end of Roe v. Wade."
Missouri Congressman Todd Akin argued the Declaration of Independence put forward the notion that everyone has a right to life.
"You are fighting for the same basic freedom that our founders fought for: that people have dignity, worth and value," Akin told the huge crowd. "And we believe that, and we will never stop until we put an end to abortion."
Many pro-life advocates say the re-election of President Bush gives them hope that more progress can be made to stop or reduce abortions in the next four years.
Geoffrey Parker of St. Joseph, Indiana, who attended the march, said, "I’m more hopeful than if it had gone the other way."
In a press conference, leaders of the National Right to Life Committee said Bush’s victory in November shows the pro-abortion Supreme Court I out of step with the American people. The current court backs abortion by a 6-3 majority and partial-birth abortion by a 5-4 margin.
Discussing chances in Congress of passing new pro-life legislation, "There are grounds for guarded optimism about chances for success in the Senate," NRLC legislative director Douglas Johnson said.
One bill he hopes Congress will begin work on is the Child Custody Protection Act, legislation that would requires states without parental involvement statutes on abortion to honor those of other states.
It would prohibit an adult other than a teenager’s parents or legal guardian from taking her across state lines for a secret abortion.
Another priority is the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, which would require abortion facilities to tell women that an abortion after 20 weeks into the pregnancy will cause severe pain for the unborn child. She would have an option to offer anesthesia to the baby before the procedure.
"We believe we will see action [on the bill] this year," Johnson said.
Terri Schiavo’s father Bob Schindler, Sr., spoke at the rally and called Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court not to hear an appeal of a case necessary to save Terri’s life, "judicial homicide."