WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – The Hyatt Regency at Capitol Hill on Thursday looked a bit like a college dormitory.  Teens and young twenty-somethings were everywhere – draped over chairs in the lobby, milling around in the hallways, talking, laughing and having fun.  They came to Washington to participate in today’s March for Life, but Thursday was ‘their’ day.  It kicked off at 8:30 in the morning with a well-attended prayer vigil at a D.C. Planned Parenthood, and continued with a three-hour youth rally at the Hyatt.

A cavernous basement level meeting hall was filled beyond capacity with young pro-life activists, many wearing shirts that said, “I survived Roe v. Wade … Roe v. Wade will not survive me.”  Survival of Roe was a major theme for most of the rally’s speakers, most of whom were born after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal.

“How many of you were born after 1973?” Kristina Garza, leader of Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, asked the crowd.  Almost every hand went up.  Garza nodded.  Young people, she said, were conceived “with a target on our backs.  If you were born after 1973, there were people out there who wanted to kill you for money.”

She drew parallels between the pro-life movement and the popular young adult book and movie franchise ‘The Hunger Games,’ about children forced to fight to the death on live television.  The turning point in the story is when main character Katniss Everdeen lays flowers on a fallen competitor named Rue, “when she recognized Rue’s humanity,” Garza said.  “I’m here to say that when compassion becomes a sign of rebellion, I’m going to be a revolutionary.”

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“Abortion is the human rights abuse of today,” said Jeanne Monahan, organizer of the March for Life.   She reminded her young audience that abortion has killed at least 55 million babies in the United States since Roe. “That’s about a fifth of the population of our country,” she said.  She urged them to get involved.  “Promise me you won’t leave the events of this weekend without seriously considering your role in the pro-life effort.”

Some of the speakers shared their personal stories of abortion.  Melissa Ohden, who survived a saline abortion and was born alive, echoed the line seen on so many posters and t-shirts at the rally.  “I literally survived Roe v. Wade,” she said.  “But Roe v. Wade will not survive me!” 

Another speaker, Kellly Clinger, told the crowd about her own abortion – an abortion she tried to keep secret from everyone, including her doctor.  When she developed an infection after the procedure, however, her secret was revealed.  “I didn't tell my doctor I had an abortion,” she said, “but when I awoke after an invasive exam to see what was wrong with me, my doctor was in tears. When I asked her why, she said, ‘Because I found hands and feet inside of you.’”

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America said this generation has grown up around technology that makes it impossible to deny the humanity of the unborn.  “We’ve seen our brothers and sisters on ultrasound,” she said.  “We’ve Googled abortion and seen the bloody images.”

At Friday’s march, she said, “we’ll be the majority.  Five hundred thousand people will march, and most of them will be abortion survivors.”  Planned Parenthood, she said, will “see their target audience slipping away.”

Her advice to the young crowd?  “Talk about abortion everywhere you go.  Do not shut up until we’ve abolished abortion. When someone tells you to stop talking about abortion, say, ‘Join with me to stop abortion and I’ll be more than happy to.’”

Said Royce Hood, President of the Law of Life Conference, “The future of the pro-life movement is in this room.  I'll even go so far as to say that maybe the person who will end legalized abortion in the United States is in this room.  Each one of you has a role to play in the pro-life movement.  Whether it’s praying outside of an abortion mill, working full time or putting on a pro-life event, we need you!”