CHICAGO, January 13, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In nine days, people from all over the country will gather in the frost-covered nation's capital to march for unborn children. The people who take part in this growing national movement – in recent years in excess of 400,000 people – will be joined by others all over the country who cannot make it to Washington, D.C., but assemble in cities, towns, and state capitals across the country.
One of the largest regional gatherings will take place the Sunday before the March for Life, in Chicago.
The 9th annual March for Life Chicago will be held on Sunday, January 19, at 1 p.m. Central, and organizers tell LifeSiteNews.com that this year's gathering will attract a crowd as broad and diverse as the pro-life movement itself.
“We wanted to bring in people from activist groups, people from the crisis pregnancy centers, people from different lobbying organizations, and faith groups,” Mary Hallan-FioRito, spokeswoman for the March for Life Chicago, told LifeSiteNews.
The Chicago march will involve “people or all faiths and no faiths, and all races all colors and creeds and beliefs in terms of their politics,” she said. “We're really looking forward to showing the real face of the pro-life movement to people in our state who are not familiar with us.”
Faith leaders of every Christian background will participate. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, Greek Orthodox Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, and Pastor Ceasar LaFlore of the National Black Pro-Life Union will speak at the ceremony's opening at Federal Plaza, located at 50 W Adams. Former Planned Parenthood employee Linda Couri and others will join the event's emcees, WLS radio personality Dan Proft and Relevant Radio's Sheila Liaugminas.
“The March For Life Chicago draws students and senior citizens, Latinos, African Americans, Catholics, evangelicals, moms, babies, business people, professional athletes and musicians…this is a diverse group with a common purpose, to proclaim the sanctity of all human life,” the organization said in a press release.
Indicative of that diversity, after everyone walks about four blocks to the James R. Thompson Center, which houses the offices of the State of Illinois, at 100 W. Randolph, they will hear from two U.S. Congressmen – one a Republican, the other a Democrat.
Congressmen Peter Roskam, the Republican had a 100 percent pro-life voting record in 2010, according to the National Right to Life Committee. Congressman Daniel Lipinski, the Democrat – and a high school classmate of Hallan-FioRito – was one of only three Democratic congressmen to vote against the Affordable Care Act, known conventionally as ObamaCare, based on its abortion provisions. More recently, he co-sponsored the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” act.
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Hallan-FioRito said this year's shorter, four block-long route starting at Federal Plaza may come as a welcome change given the Windy City's brutal winters. But there's more to the route than staying out of the cold. “We wanted to draw attention to the fact that the Roe v. Wade decision took place at the federal level, but had many local impacts,” Hallan-FioRito told LifeSiteNews.
At the state building, congressmen, pro-life writer Jill Stanek, Chicago Bears board member Patrick McCaskey, and Brittaney Campbell with Aid for Women will speak, among others. The state event is intended to highlight Illinois' uncharacteristically liberal abortion laws – and the human toll they reap.
“Illinois, for the Midwest, has become a major abortion tourist destination, because so many teens from Iowa and Wisconsin have been using Illinois to avoid parental notification laws in their own states,” Hallan-FioRito said.
Dr. Ulrich George Klopfer, who lives in Illinois but performs abortions in Indiana, recently told RH Reality Check that he encourages girls under the age of 14 to go to Illinois or Ohio to avoid a state law requiring abortionists to report abortions of young teens on the grounds of suspected statutory rape.
While other states have seen the number of abortions plummet in recent years, Hallan-FioRito notes, “Illinois is one of the states where abortion numbers are going up or staying the same.”
She hopes by offering a Midwestern March for Life, the number of pro-life activists will increase.
“We don't want this to be in competition with the March in Washington” she said. “It was always done on the Sunday before the March in Washington to allow people going to Washington to participate in the regional march – and perhaps even heighten awareness of the march that is happening in Washington.”
“What we want to do is provide a venue for people who cannot go, but really want to be there in spirit to support the marchers in Washington,” Hallan-FioRito told LifeSiteNews. She added that attending the March for Life in Washington should be on everyone's “pro-life bucket list.”
“We've always said that for every person who is at the March in Washington, there are 24 more other people who would have gone if they had the opportunity to do so,” she said.
A large turnout in the nation's midsection and other state and regional marches would “let the rest of the country know that the pro-life movement is the majority in this country.”
Sunday, January 19, 2014, from 1 to 3 p.m. Central. Pro-lifers will assemble at Federal Plaza, located at 50 W Adams in Chicago, and march to James R. Thompson Center, at 100 W. Randolph.