It happened again, and for the 42nd time.
On January 22 of this year, the mall in Washington DC was filled with representatives from all 50 states to take part in the annual March For Life.
The Park Services made no estimate of the crowd, something it ceased doing several years ago for political reasons when threatened with a lawsuit over its estimates.
This was the 42nd annual event to celebrate life, in response to the anniversary of the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision handed down on January 22, 1973. That decision ruled that the constitution of the USA gave women the right to abort their pre-born offspring.
Unofficial estimates for this year’s rally varied, from “tens of thousands” to “hundreds of thousands.” depending on the politics of the agencies reporting. Still, it appears that the number this year was modestly higher than 250,000, and, according to one source, possibly one of the biggest political rallies in DC history.
This year’s participants covered the mall. Their placards and banners waving above the crowds appeared as dense as though this were a critical political rally: “Defend Life,” their signs read; “I am a voice for the voiceless;” “Thank God my mom’s pro-life.”
The throngs moved in an orderly fashion from the National Mall to the Supreme Court building, a logical terminal point.
As usual the Catholic presence and participation was clearly evident and the large numbers of young people participating spoke volumes for the depth of their conviction.
At a separate event at the Basilica, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley addressed a capacity crowd of more than 11,000. He outlined and corrected the three major myths on the subject of abortion that are circulated broadly but are not true:
Myth 1: Abortion is a women’s issue. Reality: It is a human issue and men must not shirk their share of responsibility; Myth 2: Most Americans are pro-choice / pro-abortion. Reality: Polls show the opposite; Myth 3: Young people favor abortion rights overwhelmingly. Reality: The facts do not support this.
“We must press on with full assurance we will overcome,” he told his audience, exciting a rise of cheers. The large number of young people in the audience gave strong hope that the battle for the protection of human life will continue unabated.
As has been the case for many years, a March for Life will also be held in Ottawa, Canada, the nation’s capital, this year on May 14. Last year, in Canada with a population of approximately 10 percent of the USA there were an estimated 23,000 people involved in the march.
These marches, despite their numbers and significance, get little coverage from the secular press and all too little from Christian forces.
These events are nevertheless valuable in standing for the sanctity of human life, and keeping alive the real truth about abortion: that it destroys a developing human life — violently.
Each victim is innocent, without advocacy, and largely unprotected. In the last 42 years 56 million have died in the United States and an estimated 5 million in Canada.
An additional result is great numbers of women who must reckon with consciences that will not be silenced, and two nations, many of whose future citizens are destroyed in the name of liberty.
These public demonstrations speak for the unborn most of all. But they also remind the public that legal rulings cannot change moral absolutes.
And for many they proclaim again that human life is a gift from God, formed in his image, and that wanton destruction must eventually be answered for at the Final Judgment.