House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Wednesday assured people assembled for the 2014 March for Life that, “We will prevail in securing a culture of life in America.
“The truth is there is an inalienable right to life. This is not just a political truth subject to the whims of men,” he said.
He was among the speakers at a rally that preceded Wednesday’s march to the U.S. Supreme Court, which 41 years ago decided the Constitution contained the right to abort an unborn child at any point in a pregnancy.
Earlier in the morning, tens of thousands of young pro-lifers gathered in Washington’s Armory for a Mass for Life 2014 by the Washington archdiocese. Thousands more gathered at the Verizon Center, packing two of the city’s biggest venues with those who traveled to the snow-covered city for this year’s march.
It is the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling that is estimated already to have cost 55 million lives.
Coinciding with the March for Life, a Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll found 62 percent of Americans believe that abortion is morally wrong.
Before the March began, rally speakers featured Cantor, Sen. Rick Santorum, blogger Jill Stanek, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., FamilyTalk founder James Dobson and more.
Some groups traveling to D.C. for the march faced inclement weather that made their journey difficult. One group, Cape Cod Bus for Life, was stopped in Connecticut and the travelers were told they wouldn’t be able to travel further.
“We were in the middle of Connecticut when our bus driver pulled over to a rest stop and told [us] that we couldn’t drive any further because of the storm,” Molly Burgess, a student traveling with the group said.
“I believe it was the bus company that told us we couldn’t continue … but the man who was running our group wasn’t going to give up without a fight and neither were the teenagers on the bus,” Burgess said. “All of us teenagers were praying the rosary in the back of the bus in hope of continuing our journey. And Our Lady answered our prayers and now here we are!”
Pope Francis tweeted his support, writing, “I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable.”
Police in Washington gave widely varying estimates for the size of the crowd on the intensely cold day, ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.
But significantly, a key organizer with March for Life estimated more than half of those attending are under age 18. Universities also had a large presence.
NBC did have cameras outside the Capitol across from the Supreme Court where the march ended, but an NBC staff member said the crew was reporting on the weather, not the march.
“Marchers used the hashtags #WhyWeMarch and #MarchForLife on social media throughout the day. By mid afternoon tens of thousands of tweets had been posted to Twitter of the march.
President Obama, in a statement from the White House, used the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to promise that America “is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams.”
Except that “everyone” for Obama, described as the most pro-abortion president in history, apparently does not include the unborn.
His statement talked about a woman’s choices about her body and her health and renewed his dedication “to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom.”
But his only reference to the unborn called them “unintended pregnancies.”
See Cantor’s speech:
Dr. Ben. S Carson, world-renowned professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, wrote in a commentary that his professional career has been devoted to saving and enhancing lives, and he’s sometimes seen what many consider miraculous events.
“Most of us instinctively want to protect helpless creatures and sometimes go to great lengths to do so. The television commercials about abused animals are poignant, and as a society, we sometimes delay or cancel large construction projects to protect an ‘endangered’ insect, amphibian or fish. Yet many of us turn a blind eye to the wanton slaughter of millions of helpless human babies, who are much more sophisticated than some of the other creatures, when nothing is at stake other than the convenience of one or both parents.
“I am not saying we should abandon our efforts to save baby seals and a host of other animals. I am saying: Shouldn’t we consider adding human fetuses and babies to the list?” he wrote.
“Watching the human fetus develop is awe-inspiring. In less than three months from conception, the little hands and feet are quite recognizable, and distinct facial features characterize cute but very tiny human beings. From Day One, neurons of the brain are proliferating at a rate that will yield a staggering 100 billion neurons by birth. In a matter of nine months from conception, we have a living, breathing, eating, vocal human being who just two months later is socially interactive.”
Obama on Wednesday, in fact, held a White House event on protecting women and girls from sexual assault. He has announced an executive order setting up the White House Task Force on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault.
The Knights of Columbus poll also found 74 percent of Americans favor a ban on abortions after 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother, and 53 percent believe life begins at conception.
Common-sense limits on abortion, such as parental notification, drew 80 percent support, a 24-hour waiting period 79 percent, and showing a woman an ultrasound image, 58 percent.
In a commentary in the Chicago Tribune, Chapman University professor Ronald Rotunda wrote about his interview with Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote that fateful decision.
Blackmun, in the interview years ago, said, “We tried to decide the case on a constitutional basis, not a moral basis,” even though the authors of the Constitution, according to history, acknowledged a sovereign power in the founding of the nation.
According to the commentary, Blackmun explained the ruling, “protected the woman’s right, with the physician, to get an abortion.”
“He spoke of the case as a doctor’s rights case, not a woman’s right case. In Roe, Blackmun said, for the first trimester, ‘the attending physician, in consultation with his patient, is free to determine, without regulation by the state, that, in his medical judgment, the patient’s pregnancy should be terminated.’ Note that the right was the right of the physician, whom Blackmun assumed was male,” Rotunda wrote.
“Blackmun explicitly rejected the argument that ‘one has an unlimited right to do with one’s body as one pleases,’” he wrote.
Judie Brown of the American Life League said, “Over the years, polarization within society has made it nearly impossible to bring the reality of who dies in abortion back front and center to the struggle. This is exactly where we are today, on the eve of the 41st tragic remembrance of those deadly Supreme Court decisions. But it does not have to continue. We need not continue to repeat our mistakes or exacerbate the situation by pushing for politics as usual.
“Rather, we can and must reacquaint ourselves with the facts and correct the movement’s modus operandi moving forward,” she said.
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver said too few resources are dedicated to adoption.
“Unplanned does not mean unlovable. No story is dearer than an adoption story where a heroic mother gives the ultimate gift and a loving family emerges.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said too many times, “unscrupulous abortionists” still reign.
“Children, some old enough to feel excruciating pain, are being killed daily by the thousands. Americans are waking up to this brutality and want better for these babies and their mothers. Fortunately, the tide is turning with numerous state legislatures and the U.S. House voting in favor of historic legislation to protect babies after 20 weeks, more than halfway through pregnancy and when science shows babies feel pain.”
Lila Rose, of Live Action, said, “Until the day abortion is nothing more than a bad memory in our nation, we at Live Action will not give up speaking for those who have no voice. We will stand up for them today at the March for Life, and we will support and defend them unto our dying breaths.”
It was Dennis Byrne, who blogs at Chicago Now and wrote recently about the state March for Life event in Chicago, who cited the costs.
“America is missing at least 55 million people – that’s the estimated number of abortions performed in the United States since the historic Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions were handed down by the Supreme Court in 1973.
“Fifty-five million. That’s almost 20 percent of today’s population. Talk about genocide,” he wrote.
But that apparently doesn’t bother many, explained Byrne, a contributing op-ed columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
“For the extremists in Planned Parenthood, Illinois Personal PAC, ACLU and other absolutist outfits that support the idea that an unborn child can be killed for any reason (an idea made real by the combined Roe and Doe decisions), those 55 million aren’t people. They’re not even mourned for the loss of potential life.”
But he said it does matter: “I’ll be accused – again – of being heartless, of not caring about a woman who is forced to make a difficult choice. I’ll be told that if I don’t want an abortion then I should not get one. As if there is no one else involved in this matter of pure ‘Choice.’ Making the millions and millions of problems (not persons, mind you) disappear, as if they were never people who ever existed?
“Now that’s heartless.”