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Melissa Stiwinter of Cashiers, North Carolina, brought her daughter Chloe, 9, for their first March. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
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‘It doesn’t take guts, it takes putting one foot in front of the other’: Pro-lifers share why they march for life every year

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Chloe Stiwinter happy to be at her first March for Life. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
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Police amidst the crowd at the Supreme Court during the March for Life on January 22, 2015. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- While youth are an increasingly dominant presence at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., held last Thursday, people of all ages come, each with a story and a reason for being there.

“We need the truth,” Madeline Rice, from Wilmington, DE, told LifeSiteNews, in the nation’s Capital for her seventh March. “Because we have to do this until we don’t have to come here anymore, unless it’s to celebrate.”

Melissa Stiwinter of Cashiers, NC, brought her daughter Chloe, 9, for their first March.

Stiwinter was addicted to drugs and well into her thirties when she became pregnant with Chloe. She said given her situation it could have gone the other way, toward aborting her unborn daughter, except for one thing.

“God was with us,” she told LifeSiteNews, of her decision to choose life for Chloe. “I just knew that God had better things for me, and I knew it would get better from that moment on. And it did.”

Stiwinter is involved in her church, working in several ministries educating others about life.

“We wanted to save babies,” Chloe said.

“They talk about ‘choice,’ but they never talk about abortion,” said Dr. Anthony Levatino before giving his testimony to the crowd gathered for the Silent No More campaign in front of the Supreme Court. Levatino is a former abortionist who converted to pro-life and speaks about his regret for having performed more than 1,000 abortions.

Normally a dozen or so pro-abortion protesters assemble each year in front of the Supreme Court during the March in an effort to thwart the six digits worth of pro-lifers who are processing by.

This year before the start of the March roughly 50 people combined between the abortion activist group NARAL and the radical Stop Patriarchy outfit blocked the street in front of the high court to prevent pro-lifers from passing, witnesses told LifeSiteNews. Law enforcement was called but the pro-aborts didn’t cease and desist when officers arrived, even when openly confronted, and many were arrested.    

Phil Yoo, with Students for Life of America, told LifeSiteNews he engages the pro-abortion side in debate whenever he has the opportunity. The few remaining pro-aborts still standing in front of the Supreme Court after the arrest of their counterparts gave him the perfect opportunity at the March.

Yoo debated a pro-abortion advocate on the life issue as he held part of the Students for Life banner in the January afternoon wind. A formidable line of police officers had remained lined up between the young people in the Students for Life group and the abortion advocates after they’d been removed from the street, harking back to the previous tension from the situation.

Not everyone is willing to step out and combat what is more often than not a hostile response to the life message.

“I don’t see it as being brave or not,” Yoo told LifeSiteNews. “I see it as something that needs to be done.”

“It’s important because if you don’t then they’re the only people talking,” he said. “And that’s not how America does business. It doesn’t take guts, it takes putting one foot in front of the other.”

Pro-abortion apologists attempt to paint abortion as a women’s-only issue, when in reality, men are harmed gravely by it as well.

Silent No More and Priests for Life have launched an initiative called Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion, highlighting the mostly forgotten fact that abortion destroys other lives beyond that of the child it kills.

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Paul Marshall shared his story with the crowd at the March of how he and his girlfriend were forced to abort their child by their parents about 40 years ago when they were in high school.

One day while at school she’d held his hand to her stomach to feel their child, and then a few days later when he saw her at school again, the baby was gone. He was devastated. It then happened a second time for the couple.

“My heart turned to stone after the second abortion,” Marshall said.

The Utica, NY man turned to alcohol to numb his pain.

People aren’t often surprised to learn a mother suffers from the loss of her unborn child through abortion, yet perhaps as a result of the prevalent acceptance of the so-called “woman’s right to choose,” many don’t automatically expect to hear that the father would grieve as well.

“To this day I still have nightmares of the experience,” Marshall said. “And I mourn for the children I never knew.”

Marshall is the executive director of Care Net Pregnancy Center of Central New York. He became a pro-life volunteer about 14 years ago, and also took a men’s abortion recovery class. Someone suggested he check out Silent No More after hearing him tell his story at a pro-life banquet.

Marshall told LifeSiteNews that these things have been instrumental for him reconciling the loss of his two children.

“I found that it brought about a lot of healing,” he said. 

The emotion he displayed while telling his story at the Silent No More campaign at the March for Life, revealed that even though he lost his children 40 years ago, the healing process is ongoing.

For more of LifeSiteNews' in-depth, original coverage of the 2015 March for Life in Washington, D.C., click here.

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