Patrick Craine

Tens of thousands march for end of abortion in Washington on Roe anniversary (PHOTOS)

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Tens of thousands of pro-life activists endured frigid temperatures and a snow storm Wednesday as they gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to mark the 41st anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that has prepared the way for an estimated 56 million abortions.

In past years the march has drawn crowds estimated between 400,000 and 650,000. However, the winter storm that blew through Washington on Tuesday led to cancellations of numerous buses and planes, creating a visible drop in numbers at this year's rally and march. The Philadelphia archdiocese, for instance, canceled all of their buses. 

Famed Christian singer and songwriter Matt Maher was scheduled to lead music for a half hour before the rally, but his slot was cancelled because of the weather. Instead he opened and closed the rally beginning at noon.

Taking the stage to welcome the marchers shortly after noon, March for Life organizers insisted pro-lifers wouldn't be daunted by the frigid weather in D.C. "We may be freezing, but we're freezing for the best cause in the world," said Patrick Kelly, chairman of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. "No sacrifice is too great for this cause," said Jeanne Monahan, the group's newly minted president.

Speakers at the rally included Dr. James Dobson, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), and Washington State Democratic Legislator Roger Freeman.

"Your faces are cold but your hearts are on fire, right?" Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, asked the crowd. He related that in 1973 he was driving home on the freeway when he learned of the Roe v. Wade decision. "I grieved over it because I knew it meant millions of babies would die," he said. "Who would've known it would be 56 million by this point 41 years later?"

Telling the story of a couple he counselled to choose life for their child, he told the crowd, "I say to you, if you're facing a similar situation, … let your baby live!" He then marvelled at the youth of the crowd. "Look at the young people who are here!" he said. "You are the hope of the future and together we're going to win this fight!"

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA, who changed his flight to Israel to attend the March, thanked those present for "braving these unbelievably cold temperatures" and "giving voice to our cause of protecting life." "I believe that one day in the not too distance future our movement will be victorious because we will prevail in securing a culture of life," he said.

"You are our movement's not-so-secret weapon," he added. "Those of us in public office are merely fortunate to stand on your shoulders."

The majority leader also announced that next week, the House of Representatives "will vote once and for all to end taxpayer funding for abortions."

Vicky Hartzler, R-MO, told marchers, "We are here today to remember the millions of lives devastated with abortion and to pledge ourselves anew to upholding the most fundamental" right, "the right to life."

Noting there are 1.2 million abortion per year in the U.S., she said, "There are more babies who perish each year through abortion than people who live in an entire congressional district."

An adoptive mother, Hartzler said, "Every life is valuable and has a god ordained purpose. All babies are wanted."

Giovanna Romero of Latinas por la Vida told marchers that blacks and Hispanics are "systematically targeted by the culture of death." "Who is with me to fight the good fight?" she asked. "We are the pro-life  generation and we will make a mark in history. … We will make an end to abortion!"

Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Ob/Gyns, said the front lines of the abortion battle are changing. It's no longer the clinic and the hospital, but the dorm room and campus clinic because of the promotion of emergency contraceptive drugs, which act as abortifacients. She told the youth, "you've now become the frontline in the battle against abortion."

After the noon rally on the Mall, participants marched to the Supreme Court, where post-abortion men and women from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign shared their testimony.

The rally schedule was shortened today because of the cold, with temperatures hovering around zero, the marchers are undaunted.

In a homily at Washington’s National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Tuesday evening, Cardinal Sean O’Malley said the cold weather is “just perfect, because the colder it is the better our witness. They will know we are serious. That is why we are here."

“We absolutely will go on tomorrow. The March has never been canceled because of extreme temperatures, and it won't be canceled tomorrow for that reason,” Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, told the Law of Life Summit on Tuesday.

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March organizers highlighted the fact that members of both parties spoke, although Republicans made a stronger showing. The Republican National Committee has said they are delaying their annual winter meeting for the March this year and have chartered a bus to bring legislators to the Mall.

The theme for this year’s march is adoption, which Monahan called a “heroic decision” for women in crisis pregnancies. "We want to eliminate the stigma of adoption and encourage women to pursue this noble option,” she said in a press release.

The March for Life organizers are encouraging Twitter users to use the hashtags #whywemarch and #marchforlife throughout the day.

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A protester rallies against Hobby Lobby, protesting against the Supreme Court decision Dan Holm/Shutterstock
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

DNC chairwoman exhorts constituents to boycott local Hobby Lobby store

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision was nearly two months ago, but the issue as hot as ever, as was demonstrated yesterday when Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz, D-FL, urged constituents to boycott a Hobby Lobby store in her district.

In a press conference one lot away from the Hobby Lobby location in Davie, which opened in April, Wasserman-Schultz said that she wanted "people to know that this Hobby Lobby is here and they should vote with their purses and their pocketbooks, and women should not shop here."

"If you didn’t know this Hobby Lobby was here before, know it now and don’t shop here. They don’t deserve women’s business because they are the ones that all across the country have made it harder for women to get access to birth control,” she said.

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Wasserman-Schultz said that Hobby Lobby's corporate ownership "doesn’t support its employees" and "wants to be able to get in the personal business of their employees and make health care decisions and replace their own values, replace their employees’ health care decisions, with their values…."

She also criticized the Supreme Court's late June decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, which had sued the federal government over the Obama administration's HHS Mandate.

The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, say it violates their conscience to pay for coverage for the four abortifacients and potential abortifacients that the mandate required them to cover.

"The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case was not only disappointing, it was dangerous," said the Democrat. "No boss should have the right to dictate and employee’s health decisions because [they] don’t belong in the bedrooms, doctor’s offices or pharmacies of their employees.

"A woman and her doctor know what’s best for their body. Not an insurance company. Not a politician. And certainly not a manager at a Hobby Lobby."

The Supreme Court's decision allowed closely held corporations to not fund coverage of contraception or abortion drugs and devices.

Wasserman-Schultz's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Through a spokesperson, the Green family declined to comment about the Congresswoman's statements. 

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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

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America is rejecting abortion because pro-lifers are having more children: study

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

According to a new Northwestern University study, American attitudes about abortion are trending more conservatively than other contentious social issues, a phenomenon the authors credit to the simple fact that pro-lifers have more kids.

“We find evidence that the abortion attitudes have lagged behind a liberalizing trend of other correlated attitudes,” the authors wrote. Using GSS data collected between 1977 and 2010, “We test[ed] the hypothesis that the comparatively high fertility of pro-life individuals has led to a more pro-life population.”

The authors wrote: “Support for abortion rights has turned flat after a period of increase following Roe v. Wade, and in recent years there are even indications of a reversal toward more restrictive attitudes. This U-turn is evinced particularly among younger cohorts, and is happening despite liberalizing trends in several ostensibly related issue domains.”

The authors speculated that the reason for the increase in pro-life attitudes among young people is that their parents had more children than their pro-abortion counterparts. When they examined the data, they found that pro-life individuals had, on average, 27 percent more children than those who considered themselves “pro-choice.”

Not only that, but pro-life parents appear to be much more likely to pass their views on to their children. The researchers found that the younger generation’s pro-life shift was too strong to be blamed solely on differences in fertility – meaning children of pro-abortion parents are rejecting their parents’ views.

“[E]ither pro-life beliefs are always more faithfully transmitted than pro-choice ones; or, there has been a cultural shift towards more pro-life beliefs that is being reflected in the parent-child correlations,” the authors wrote.

The study concluded that if it wasn’t for the higher fertility rate among pro-life people, the nation as a whole would favor abortion by about five percentage points more than it does currently – and researchers predict the pro-life trend will continue.

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“Taken together, these findings suggest that fertility has had at least some part in leading the population in a more pro-life direction over time,” the authors wrote. “Further investigation into this pattern indicates that not only are abortion attitudes associated with fertility, but in proportional terms—which is what matters for cultural change—the gap is widening.”

“Fertility has declined for both pro-choice and pro-life groups over the past 30 years, but fertility has declined far less markedly for pro-life individuals,” they added. “Whereas pro-[life] individuals born before 1940 were only having about 1.2 children per one child born to a pro-choice parent, this ratio has grown to over 1.5 for those born in the mid to late 1970s. This pattern suggests that future cohorts may place an even stronger demographic drag on the liberalization of abortion attitudes.”

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A declaration that PP is an 'enemy of the Church' would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication. American Life League
Lisa Bourne

New campaign asks Pope Francis to declare Planned Parenthood an ‘enemy of the Church’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

The Catholic pro-life organization American Life League (ALL) is launching a campaign calling for the Catholic Church to declare Planned Parenthood an “enemy of the Church.”

Using prayer and education, ALL’s Defend the Family campaign seeks to expose the nation’s largest abortion provider for contribution to the destruction of human lives, as well as the family. 

The campaign, said Jim Sedlack, vice-president of ALL, is quite simply “a way of calling attention to the fact that this is a very bad organization.”

“Planned Parenthood is attacking the family, either by killing preborn children or by robbing the souls of the older children,” he said. 

A declaration that PP is an “enemy of the Church” would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication.

Such a declaration would not be unprecedented. Popes in the past have identified and condemned organizations that posed a grave threat to the Church, most recently Pope Pius XII in 1949 with Communism and Pope Clement XII in 1738 with Freemasonry.

While specifics would depend on the wording of the Papal pronouncement, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews if the Holy Father makes the declaration there would be no mistaking its intent.

“When the pope makes the declaration it becomes crystal clear,” Sedlak said. “There’ll be no shades of gray, it’ll be black and white, it’ll be clear to the world.”

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'Now is the time'

There are still people who are not fully aware of the extent of the societal damage inflicted by Planned Parenthood, said Sedlak, including members of the Church hierarchy. He said it’s important to emphasize the truth of what the abortion giant does.

“That’s why we’re focusing on the enemy,” said Sedlak. “When people really stop and focus on Planned Parenthood, they realize it’s the enemy.”

ALL cites Planned Parenthood’s targeting of children to sexualize them as a major cause of the destruction of the family and a fundamental reason for the Defend the Family campaign.

“They really push for getting young people into lives of sexual sin,” Sedlak said. “Young people who aren’t pulled into sexual activity do not provide a cent of income to Planned Parenthood, but young people who are pulled in provide millions of dollars to the Planned Parenthood empire.”

ALL compiled a comprehensive report on Planned Parenthood titled, “The Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood,” as part of the Defend the Family campaign.

“The document builds the case,” said Sedlak. “Why Planned Parenthood, why now is the time.”

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that for its part Planned Parenthood has always recognized that its greatest enemy is the Catholic Church, even working to have the Church lose its status at the UN.

“They fight anybody who wants to take sex away from the kids in any way possible,” Sedlak said. “That’s one reason why Planned Parenthood is the sex mafia.”

And when Sedlak uses the term “mafia,” he means it literally, pointing out that the Holy Father condemned the mafia in his June 21, 2014, homily in Calabria, Italy, denouncing its, “Adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

“Planned Parenthood kills far more people than the mafia,” Sedlak said.

Also underscoring the need for the Vatican to act on declaring Planned Parenthood an enemy of the Church, is the convening of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family this October in Rome, which will lead into the general synod in 2015.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that these, along with the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, are events that ALL will rally around to raise awareness of the Defend the Family campaign.

Preliminary response to the campaign has been very positive, he said.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that the “Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood” report was so well received upon initial presentation to Vatican officials, that ALL was asked to translate it into three more languages.

“The support we’ve gotten from talking to bishops has been overwhelming,” Sedlak said.

Prayer is priority #1

The Defend the Family campaign consists first and foremost of prayer, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews.

“Our approach is that we need prayer support,” he said. “The only way that we’re going to succeed is through prayer to the Blessed Mother; the only way it will succeed is if God wants it to succeed.”

Participants are asked to say regular prayers after Mass, to offer prayers for the pope and to initiate communication with local bishops about the dangers that Planned Parenthood poses to the faithful.

Sedlak also added that The Defend the Family campaign is for everyone, not just Catholics.

He said pro-life supporters of all faith traditions are invited to contact ALL for assistance in encouraging their religious denomination or church leader to declare Planned Parenthood an enemy.

In addition to prayers for the campaign, ALL is asking people to sign and submit ALL’s Declaration of Encouragement to the Holy Father, enroll in the Spiritual Bouquet for the Holy Father and to share ALL resources on Planned Parenthood.

Information, links and resources are available on the campaign website, defendthefamily.org.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that ALL is giving the success of the Defend the Family campaign up to God.

“This is all happening in God’s time, and so far he’s been blessing us mightily,” Sedlak said. “And we’re going to go wherever God takes us.”

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