Several congressional leaders joined pro-lifers from across the country at a rally in Washington, D.C. Thursday to kick off the annual March for Life. Thursday marked the 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States.
James Dickie, 14, was part of a group of five that came from Maryland to attend the event for the first time.
“We just wanted to do it to end abortion,” Dickie said.
Armed with signs, pamphlets, and prayers, the pro-lifers gathered on the Washington Mall for the noon rally, which included brief remarks from the legislators present. Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) told the crowd she had been approached by a lobbyist during her first run for elected office and asked where she stood on the life issue. The lobbyist told her she needed to be pro-choice if she wanted to win and asked her what she would do if she became pregnant running for office. A few months later, Fallin was feeling ill, and a trip to the doctor showed she was pregnant. Fallin gave birth to her second child that September and won election a few weeks later.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who was also at the rally, announced in a statement Thursday the reintroduction in Congress Wednesday of the "Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act," which would forbid federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
“Many Americans fail to recognize the largest abortion provider in America is also the largest recipient of federal taxpayer dollars through Title X — this should not be,” Pence said in a statement Thursday. “On this dark anniversary, let us rededicate ourselves to protecting the unborn and to protecting taxpayers on matters of conscience.”
Sean O’Hare and five other volunteers organized LifeHQ.org to help calculate the number of people attending this year’s march. The group consists solely of volunteers and was organized a week after the presidential elections in November.
“We’re trying for this to be the largest single-day data collection in the history of the conservative movement,” O’Hare said.
The group had a text messaging system set up for people at the march so that they could text in and register their presence. Four to five hundred volunteers were expected to pass out postcards and stickers with the texting information. The group also planned on signs and an announcement from the rally podium to instruct people how to register.
For those that could not attend the march in person, LifeHQ.org set up a “virtual march” on its website where people could register.
The group also planned to lay at least 3,700 roses at the foot of the Supreme Court building — a visual representation of the number of abortions daily in the United States.
While pro-lifers were busy outside the legislative buildings in Washington, elected officials worked inside on potentially harmful legislation to the pro-life cause. Pro-life activist Jen Giroux said pro-choice legislation was moving forward Thursday hidden inside the Democrats’ economic stimulus package. The legislation could circumvent several parental consent and child protection laws at the state level by letting minors qualify for Medicaid — allowing them to have services paid for immediately.
Giroux said she believes the latest trend in the pro-choice community is to push contraceptives, a trend she feels is financially motivated. Giroux quoted a recent statistic that said fifty percent of women who come in for abortions claim to be on contraceptives, which makes this latest approach a lucrative strategy for the pro-choice movement.
“I believe that they feel that they’re going to win on [the] contraceptive argument,” Giroux said. She feels the opposite is true, however, because the pill can cause physical harm and encourage undesirable behavior in minors. She has also heard many women speak of post-contraceptive regret.
Giroux, a registered nurse and mother of nine, is the executive director of Women Influencing the Nation, a pro-life group which focuses on re-educating younger women — college, high school, and even young women in their twenties — on the value of larger families.
Giroux, who is in her mid-forties, said she feels many women of her generation bought into the concept that having one or two children was the perfect number. While believing it is possible to “have it all,” and while not casting judgment on smaller families, Giroux said several only children have expressed personally to her their feelings of loneliness. In her profession, Giroux has witnessed their difficulties by a dying parent’s bedside.
Giroux said the pro-family message should resonate in this difficult economic time.
“[The family] is where your emotional and economic support comes from,” Giroux said.