by Erik Halvorson
On Thursday, January 18th at 9:15 pm, two buses loaded with over 100 students departed from Hillsdale College, a small private school in southern Michigan. These buses contained just a few of the hundreds of thousands of people making a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., for a single purpose: the March for Life. An event often ignored by the mainstream media, the annual march is routinely among the largest human rights demonstrations in the world, and its numbers continue to rise. Since its inception in 1974, when an estimated 20,000 people gathered to protest the now infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case which legalized abortion in the United States, the March for Life continues to attract people from across the country.
Unlike other demonstrations that have become all too prevalent today, the March for Life lived up to its 2018 theme, “Love Saves Lives,” through its peaceful yet powerful day-long march on Washington. Throughout the day, demonstrators and speakers alike shared their stories of unplanned pregnancies and abortions — both their own and those of women they had supported and cared for. However, throughout this emotional event, pro-life advocates did not condemn those with whom they disagreed, but rather continually preached love and forgiveness while standing up for the rights of the unborn and lending their voices in defense of the voiceless.
Along with the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, a few notable speakers also addressed the 2018 March. For the first time in its history, a sitting president addressed the crowd live. President Donald Trump gave remarks at the 45th annual march from the White House Rose Garden via a satellite feed, touting his administration’s litany of pro-life accomplishments while sounding an optimistic note for the future of the country. According to the President, “Life is winning in America because love saves lives,” and “the March for Life is a movement born out of love.” While celebrating the progress the pro-life movement has made under his administration, President Trump pledged his support to continue to sign pro-life legislation into law and protect the rights of the unborn.
Following the historic remarks by the President, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan enthusiastically echoed Trump’s sentiments. Ryan noted the “vigor and enthusiasm of the pro-life movement” and stated his belief that “the pro-life movement is on the rise.” Speaker Ryan then eloquently stated what every pro-lifer knows to be true: “Truth is on our side. Science is on our side. [And] we have love on our side.” In a time where pro-abortion advocates rule mainstream media, academia and seemingly popular culture, this was an important message for pro-lifers to hear.
The pro-life movement is not only bipartisan but also extraordinarily apolitical. The only necessary conviction one must hold to participate is the belief in the dignity of all life and a yearning to defend it. Attendees displaying signs with such phrases as “Feminists for Life” or “Atheists Against Abortion” marched and laughed side by side with Catholic clergymen in support of the pro-life cause. For at least one day a year, hundreds of thousands of diverse people from varied backgrounds set aside their differences in support of the fundamental American principle: the right to life.
As these hundreds of thousands boarded buses Friday night to return home just mere hours after arriving in Washington, D.C., the march for life continued forward. In every corner of this great country, defenders of the innocent continue to fight for the unborn. Ultimately, it does not matter whether this historic human rights movement is covered by CNN or MSNBC because truth cannot be hidden; it will prevail. As Thomas Jefferson boldly penned in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Photo credit: Victoria Pickering via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0