March for Life draws local supporters
Last Friday, more than 100,000 people joined for the 45th annual March for Life against abortion in Washington, D.C. Starting at the National Mall, the marchers ended their gathering by marching to the Supreme Court.
Begun in 1974, under the leadership of the late Catholic activist Nellie Gray, the March for Life began in response to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court that legalized abortion in the United States. Gray vowed to march each year until the decision was overturned. She passed away in 2012 at the age of 88.
Others have picked up the torch and continue to march for the cause, including many from the area.
Sandra Kinnaman, of Charles Town, said she went to the march “to set an example for my teenage daughter to stand for what God says is sacred: life.”
“I went to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves and to stand for the sanctity of human life,” Kinnaman continued.
Harpers Ferry resident Jayme Metzgar had similar reasons for attending.
“We attended the March for Life because we believe it’s important to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves,” Metzgar said.
“Even now, after 45 years and over 60 million deaths,” Metzgar added, “I believe it’s important to simply stand up and remind the nation that these children are a part of the human family.”
The theme of this year’s march was “Love Saves Lives.”
President Donald Trump made history during the event when he addressed the marchers via a live feed from the White House Rose Garden. This is the first time in the 45-year history of the March that a sitting president has addressed attendees live.
“Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full God-given potential. Because of you,” Trump said.
President Trump also declared that Jan. 22 would be named as “National Sanctity of Human Life Day.”
Other speakers at Friday’s event included Sen. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.); Pam Tebow, mother of NFL star Tim Tebow; and ex-NFL player Matt Birk and his wife, Adrianna.
The march draws many young people who are supporters of the anti-abortion movement.
Kinnaman, whose teenage daughter Laura attended the event for the first time, said her daughter was shocked at how many people were there and that she was proud to stand for life.
“It was an enjoyable experience with positive people,” Laura said. “I am glad I went because it is hard to find people who have the same mindset on abortion and other political opinions when I go to a secular community college.” She said the marchers quoted Scripture and made her feel at home in the crowd.
Metzgar also said that she wanted her daughters to experience the March.
“This was the first time I have taken them to the March for Life,” she said. “My girls loved the march and were energized to see so many other like-minded young people there.”
The initial march in 1974 drew approximately 20,000 people. It has gained momentum as the years have passed, with the largest recorded crowd standing at nearly 650,000 in 2013.
“This march is so important, because if we, as Christians, don’t stand up, who will?” asked Kinnaman. She said marchers also wanted to send a message to Congress that some people don’t want their tax dollars going toward organizations that conduct abortions.
“In the United States, the unborn have been dehumanized and deprived of the most fundamental right: the right to life,” Metzgar said. “I don’t want that to ever become an accepted and normal part of our culture, or to pass without protest.”