Ben Johnson

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The world is watching: foreign visitors say U.S. March for Life has a global impact

Ben Johnson
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 27, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although snowy conditions and bone-chilling temperatures prevented many Americans from traveling to the March for Life in Washington last week, delegations from around the globe marched in the streets of a foreign capital to learn U.S. tactics and to show our lawmakers that the world stands united for life.

Representatives from France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, and Lithuania were among those who told LifeSiteNews that the annual march influences people around the world.

“We are very thrilled to march here with you all,” said Silvio Dalla Valle of the Italian pro-life group Voglio Vivere (“I Want to Live”). “We need to learn from you.”

“In Italy we have an abortion law that was approved in the '70s by a Christian Democrat government,” he told LifeSiteNews.com. Abortion is legal through the first trimester in the overwhelmingly Catholic nation. “We have to fight both the mentality and the law in parliament,” he said. “It's going to be a long battle, but we'll win.”

Perhaps the most visible visitors came from neighboring Canada. The Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) organized a protest outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington, which lies along the route of the annual March. Thousands of Americans showed their support, chanting and giving high-fives to the 15 volunteers assembled on the street. “Americans, the U.S., they influence Canada,” CLC Youth Coordinator Alissa Golob said at Tuesday's Law of Life Summit. “There are so many pundits out there who say that Canadians know more about American politics than Canadian politics.”

That's why she wants Americans to encourage their neighbor to the north, where the country's Parliament has rejected dozens of attempts in the last two decades to enact even limited protections for unborn children.

“We need support. We need your influence,” Golob said. “We are paying attention. Big Brother may be watching you, and so are we.”

Mantas Kunciaitis, a 22-year-old native of Lithuania, said he came to Washington for just the opposite reason: In a time when Supreme Court justices use foreign law to define the U.S. Constitution, he hopes to show a united global front in defense of the unborn.

The young man, who is studying law at London's University of Greenwich, said he and others came to “express our solidarity. People should look how many people are here today and involved.”

“It's a good thing to show politicians, not only in America but in other countries as well,” he told LifeSiteNews.

He added, “If we organize a march in Lithuania, perhaps some Americans could join us, as well.”

One thing everyone could agree on was the encouraging demographics of the March for Life itself.

“The most important thing here is that the pro-life movement is winning the battle with the younger generation,” Dalla Valle said. “Here, you see hundreds of thousands of young people fighting for life. But the anti-life groups are getting older and they are not getting the younger generation. That is the most important thing I see here.”

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“I'm really shocked, in a good sense, at how many young people are here,” Kunciaitis told LifeSiteNews.

As in years past, activists from the French organization Droit de Naitre (“Right to be Born”) – as well as activists from Belgium and The Netherlands – were present.

The representatives were brought to the United States by the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property. The evening after the march, they gathered for an event at TFP's Washington bureau, emceed by Mario Navarro da Costa. The keynote speaker was John Horvat II, the author of Return to Order.

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