By John-Henry Westen
WASHINGTON, January 23, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Weather reports in the days leading up to Friday’s March for Life warned of rain and snow; however, spirits were high and the weather good on the day of the event, with no snow or rain falling and temperatures remaining bearable. A sea of youth dominated the massive crowd, one of the largest – if not the largest - in the history of the 37 years of the annual March for Life.
Organizer Nellie Gray told the press that the numbers of marchers this year far exceeded last year, which was estimated at well over 300,000. That sentiment was echoed by many long-time March for Life participants.
The morning prior to the March was filled with activities around the D.C. area, with tens of thousands in attendance at major events. The Verizon Centre was filled to capacity for the official 11 a.m. Mass.
A Human Life International (HLI) ‘mini’-conference also was well attended. The world’s largest pro-life organization packed their hotel conference room, treating guests to bagels and coffee and the experiences of HLI leaders from around the globe. A short address by this reporter and a final talk by HLI President Fr. Tom Euteneuer concluded the event, after which participants joined the hundreds of thousands gathering for the march.
All along the route hundreds of banners from high schools, colleges, religious orders, and pro-life groups, could be seen leading their companies, with several marching bands keeping a lively cadence throughout the throng.
NPR similarly understated to an extreme degree the disparity between the pro-life and pro-abortion forces, admitting only that there were a “smaller number of pro-choice demonstrators.” Notably missing was the fact that the pro-abortion demonstrators were outnumbered about 20,000 to 1, or more.
The Washington Post was more accurate, but still off by a factor of at least 10. “Tens of thousands of abortion opponents marched through the cold Friday in the annual March for Life,” reported the Post, adding, “Few counter-demonstrators were visible along the route, but some gathered in front of the Supreme Court.”
USA Today gave a feel for the massive pro-life presence at the March reporting that “120 buses of abortion protesters from southwestern Pennsylvania” alone took part.
Even in the midst of such extreme bias from the mainstream media, however, it was easy to pinpoint the most outlandish report – from Newsweek. The report by Krista Gesaman suggested that what was missing from the march were young women.
But far from missing, young women were in fact the dominant demographic at this 37th March for Life.
Congressman Chris Smith addressed the marchers prior to the commencement of the event, pointing to what he believes is the motivation for this year’s massive turnout. He noted that “with healthcare plans trying to begin using taxpayer dollars fund abortions for the first time since the 1970s via forcing insurance coverage, the U.S. is looking at the single greatest expansion of abortion since the tragic Roe v Wade court ruling 37 years ago.”
Smith pointed out that in his first year in office, President Obama has moved swiftly to: allow the use of U.S. taxpayers money to fund abortion groups all over the word by rescinding the Mexico City Policy; enable China’s coercive population control program by funding the United Nations Population Fund; and roll back restrictions on funding for human embryo-destroying stem cell experimentation. Obama is also in the process of altering federal regulations to roll back the nation’s existing conscience protection laws that protect the rights and freedoms of healthcare providers (such as Catholic hospitals, physicians and nurses) who are opposed to performing abortions on personal or moral grounds.
However, Smith went on to say, embodying the spirit of the pro-life movement: "President Obama — the abortion president — should know this: even though you have unleashed the full might and power of your administration in the ignoble promotion of abortion on demand both in the United States and around the world, especially in Africa and Latin America, we do pray and fast for you, even as we tenaciously fight your anti-life policies.”
Note: More reports about the 37th annual March for Life will follow in the coming days.