Families, young adults, priests and religious, post-abortive mothers and abortion survivors were among those who marched peacefully through the US capital, calling for an end to legalized abortion.
Beginning in 1974, the March for Life has been held every year on, or near, the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision – known as Roe vs. Wade – which declared abortion legal in the US. Since then, more than 57 million babies have been aborted.
Although the practice remains legal in all 50 US States, pro-life activists are reporting a nationwide decrease in support for abortion.
“The growth of the pro-life movement in the last few years has been phenomenal,” said Live Action founder Lila Rose in an interview this week with ZENIT.
Recent polls indicate more people are identifying themselves as pro-life than pro-choice, she said, adding that there are growing trends of women, as well as young people, identifying as pro-life.
Also, the passing of pro-life legislation in the last few years, such as the “unprecedented defunding of the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood” at the State and local level, is a positive step towards ending abortion in the country.
Despite these advancements in the pro-life cause, however, Rose warns that there is still work to be done. “Keep in mind we have an Obama administration. He’s the most pro-abortion president we’ve ever had, so the political climate at the federal level is particularly hostile.”
Pro-life advocates are also facing the HHS Mandate – known as “Obama Care” – which, Rose says, “is another way of forcing Americans to fund abortion and contraceptives”.
“We [need to] completely disentangle the government from the abortion industry,” she said, adding that government funding of abortion chains must be shut down at the Federal level. “We need to be adamant in our pursuit of that goal, where we do not fund Planned Parenthood. We do not fund abortifacients. We do not fund [forms of] contraception that are also abortifacients.”
“That has to happen. And that can happen, even with a pro-abortion president. There are things that we can do and we must do.”
Education is also fundamental to the pro-life cause, Rose continued, noting that one of Live Action’s initiatives is the education through new media. “We need to be tireless in exposing the abortion industry in the United States,” she said. “We need to be putting the evidence in front of the media, in front of the legislators, in front of young people, in front of the public.”
“We need to be making the positive statement about why humans have dignity, why humans have rights, where those rights come from. [We need to be] educating people to understand why it is an actual injustice to kill a child in the womb, and how that respect for human life has to extend to all people, including themselves.”
This education, she continued, must be done in such a way so as to provide “a foundation for lasting change.” It needs to be made clear, she said, that an unborn child “is a human being, with rights - even if they’re conceived in rape, even if their mother has health issues. We need to love them both, and explain to people what that means.”
While the pro-life movement continues to confront these challenges, Rose remains optimistic. “The good news is that the cultural trending is very much in our favor [due to] the tireless work of pro-life advocates, and unlikely allies, who get out the message of the humanity of the unborn child.”