“I am excited to fight for children like my twin, for women like my birth mother,” proclaimed 31-year-old Claire Culwell to a crowd of more than 9,000 who gathered in the Chicago Loop to celebrate life and decry abortion on Saturday, January 11. Culwell, who was born prematurely after surviving the dismemberment abortion that killed her twin sister, was the keynote speaker at the March For Life Chicago 2020.
Record numbers from across the Midwest turned out to hear Culwell and others advocate for life, despite rain, sleet and temperatures that hovered near freezing. Sharing the stage with well-known religious, political, and sports, figures, Culwell elicited cheers from a packed Daley Plaza. She and others on the podium spoke to the 2020 March For Life Chicago theme; “Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.” Following the exuberant rally, participants marched down Michigan Avenue, temporarily closing it between Washington Street and Ida B. Wells Drive.
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, praised the dedication of March For Life Chicago participants, assuring them, “We all want children in the world because our lives are enriched by them. Today, let us make sure that we thank God for the gift of life, the gift of a child. That child makes us more human.”
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod president Dr. Rev. Matthew Harrison, encouraged those present to take heart, asserting that, “If we’re doing prenatal surgery on one child in one operating theater and dismembering one in the other to throw away, this does not make sense, does it? 61 million is enough, don’t you think? …The canards won’t hold. This community is more pro-woman than any other.”
U.S. Congressman Dan Lipinski spoke to staunchly-defended anti-abortion legislation. Lipinski affirmed his consistent support of life-affirming policies, saying, “We are going to change the laws, we are going to change hearts and minds, and we are going to make this a pro-life nation.”
“Every January, March for Life Chicago provides a public opportunity for participants to celebrate life and decry abortion,” stated Dawn Fitzpatrick, March for Life Chicago board president, adding, “This year, we added a convention to provide participants with resources to increase the impact of their advocacy and help them effect real change, both in their own communities and across the Midwest. The turnout was phenomenal, especially noting the inclement weather. We are pleased with the large crowd. And everyone was so happy to be there! A true testament to the joy of celebrating life!”
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Pro-Life Action League executive director Eric Scheidler, who served as master of ceremonies, praised the crowd for their determination to protect the vulnerable. He stressed that, “It’s providential that the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs Bolton comes up year after year in the winter, when we get the chance to stand up for life no matter what the weather to show our commitment.”
Loyola University Medical Center obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Karen Deighan shared her belief that today’s medical professionals are very well aware that life begins at conception. “Science is on our side. Life begins at conception. Our collective voice must be heard.” she observed.
Chicago Bears’ vice president Pat McCaskey spoke up for the protection of Illinois’ women and children, praising his mother for giving him and his siblings life. “My mother is my hero because she accepts God’s grace and mercy and forgives those who trespass against her,” McCaskey said. “Mom spelled upside down is WOW!”
The diverse crowd displayed a great variety of signage. Many young adults and teenagers carried placards declaring, “We are the Pro-Life Generation.” This message was reiterated from the stage by Alex Lehan, student leader of the group weDignify, convention hosts of the March For Life Chicago 2020. She stated, “I march today because I understand that abortion does not empower women. Empowerment is not the destruction of motherhood.”
Dr. Pat Castle, scientist, military veteran, and the leader of LIFE Runners, sent the crowd to march and encouraged everyone to continue their public commitment to protecting life throughout 2020 by joining a group like LIFE Runners. “May they see our resolve! May they see that we are going to march and walk in these harsh conditions, that we will sacrifice and we will pray and keep going until abortion is unthinkable!” Castle proclaimed and then led the crowd in chants of “Lets March for Life!” as they took to Washington street to head down Michigan avenue 9,000 people strong.