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Standing between America and the darkness: the 46th annual March for Life

21 January 2019

 
Huge crowds in Washington for the March for Life.

"The vibrancy and magnitude of the event was incredibly inspiring to be in amongst"

Last Friday (18 January) saw hundreds of thousands of people descend on Washington DC for the 46th Annual March for Life, a joyful celebration of the pro-life message. The theme of this year's March was "Unique from Day One", emphasising that science is on the side of life. 

Pro-lifers from around America and the world (including a delegation from SPUC Scotland) were addressed by Vice President Mike Pence, who also introduced a surprise video broadcast from President Donald Trump. The President promised in his message to veto any legislation "that weakens the protection of human life."

"Righteousness doesn't have to be popular"

The rally preceding the March was kicked off by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who began by exploring the pro-life is pro-science theme, detailing multiple scientific truths of fetal development denied by the abortion lobby.

He then cited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's comment this week that pro-lifers are "not in line with where we are as a government and quite frankly where we are as a society."

"Maybe they're right. Maybe we today here are not in line with the rest of society," Mr Shapiro said. "To which I say, good. So were the abolitionists. So were the civil rights marchers. So were the martyrs in Rome and the Jews in Egypt. Righteousness doesn't have to be popular; it just has to be righteous."

He concluded: "We stand between America and the darkness, and we will march until that darkness is banished forever, and all of our children can stand together in the sunlight."

Other speakers included both Republican and Democratic political representatives, former Planned Parenthood clinic worker and founder of And Then There Were None Abby Johnson, and Dr. Kathi Aultman, fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

How many attended?

No definite figures have been released, but March for Life president Jeanne Mancini told the crowd gathered at the National Mall for the March for Life rally that she could not see the end of the crowd.  "Seriously guys, I can't even see the end of the crowd out there," she said. "This is unbelievable. It makes me nervous to say this, but, I think you might be the largest crowd ever. Literally, I just cannot see the end of you."

The event was attended by 400,000 in 2011, according to organisers. Life advocates estimated the march drew 650,000 in 2013. This time lapse certainly gives lie to the few mainstream media outlets who covered the March at all that it was attended by only "tens of thousands". 

The almost complete lack of media attention given to the largest human rights march in the world held true this year, with the majority of mainstream media coverage that there was focusing on criticisms of Ben Shapiro and on an incident where some boys from a Catholic school allegedly taunted a native American leader (a story that was quickly disproved).

The French March for Life, which took place yesterday, was actually reported by the Associated Press, but again there was a stark divergence on the reported numbers marching - 50,000 people according to the organisers, 7,400 according to police.

Inspiring experience for Scottish youth

Louise Grant, who led a group of 15 young people from SPUC Scotland to Washington, said: "The media may have largely chosen to ignore the March for Life, but the vibrancy and magnitude of the event was incredibly inspiring to be in amongst. Whilst celebrating the theme 'Unique from Day One', the joy and love radiating from the attendees was amazing to see. The 15 young people we brought to DC have been educated, inspired and empowered by this trip. We will return to the UK renewed in our conviction to protect and uphold the sanctity of life and to do all we can to protect pre-born babies and their mothers. Our women deserve better and everyone deserves a birthday."

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