It all begins at the National Mall.
From every state in the union, hundreds of thousands of prolifers — some of whom have been on the road for days – surge toward this gathering point, where the March for Life will begin.
Here they assemble for the grand opener for the March — the Rally for Life – where the speakers – statesmen, religious leaders, and giants in the prolife movement – give eloquent voice to why we’re all here.
This year the rally began with a joint opening prayer for our nation by Roman and Orthodox Catholic bishops. Then Nelly Gray, who founded the March for Life in 1974, welcomed the crowd.
The first speaker was Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio). He stressed the bipartisan nature of the prolife movement – that being prolife is not a political decision, or a matter of being Republican or Democrat. Rather, it’s a matter of conscience; it’s who you are. He called on everyone to raise their voices together in defense of life.
Next came Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chair of the Congressional Prolife Caucus, who took on Pres. Obama, whom he called “the most extreme pro-abortion president ever.” Smith said that Obama, in his State of the Union address, will call on the people to “return to American values.”
“Killing babies is not an American value,” Smith said. Referring to the recent HHS ruling that Catholic hospitals and nonprofits must provide employee health insurance that covers sterilization and contraception, including drugs that work after conception to induce abortions, Smith demanded that Obama stop violating conscience rights and religious freedom.
He said in this upcoming election, “failure to unite, is not an option” for prolifers when faced with a second term for the Obama administration, which uses the “power of the state to compel conformity to abortion.”
Among the other congresspersons who spoke were Dan Lipinski, a prolife Democrat from Illinois and the other co-chairman of the Congressional Prolife Caucus, and Eric Cantor (R-Va.) the House Majority Leader who called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood and protection of conscience rights for those who oppose abortion.
Also on the platform was Chris Bell from the Good Counsel Homes. Many of you may remember Chris from the Concert for Life which was held at the Marian Shrine last November for the benefit of the Good Counsel Home for mothers and babies in Spring Valley.
Chris talked about the necessity of helping for mothers before, during, and after birth. He announced a new partnership among maternity homes around the country and invited anyone who needed help, or who was interested in finding out more or becoming a part of this project, to send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abortion was not the only topic. “Euthanasia follows abortion like night follows day,” said Colin Raye and Bobby Schindler of the Terry Schiavo Life & Hope Network. They called on the audience not to forget the brain-injured, the terminally ill, the mentally disabled, and the elderly, whose right to life was threatened.
The final speaker was Rev. Luke Robinson, pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Church in Frederick, Md. He focused on the abortion within the black community and decried the fact that 60% of pregnancies among African Americans in New York City end in the death of children.
An African American himself, he said this was genocide – a tragedy for America and the African American people.
He asked why leaders like Jesse Jackson, and New York’s senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who should be protectors of minorities, were silent on this issue. He suggested that the “blood money” from the abortion industry had bought their silence.
He said that in November, “we must take this nation back. We must work to defeat this administration. Enough is enough!”
With words of hope and courage, sadness and outrage, each speaker, in his or her own way, told the prolife story.
And now, it was time for the people to come together and act. The first steps would be symbolic – the March for Life along Constitution Avenue, past our seat of government, the Capitol to the Supreme Court. Then they would all head home.
But in the days and weeks to come, they would continue to fight against the evil of abortion – often a lonely, sad and difficult battle – but one made a little easier by the memory of the spirit of the thousands of brothers and sisters who had marched with them that day.
With God and all those good people with us, we cannot fail.