Anti-abortion activists rally on the National Mall in Washington, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, during the annual March for Life. Thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators gather in Washington for an annual march to protest the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision that declared a constitutional right to abortion. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Most media outlets were consumed with the prospect of a looming government shutdown Friday, but something else happened in DC that — as has become the norm over the years — drew less attention despite it arguably having more significance.
The 45th annual March for Life, the yearly pro-life rally that pulls thousands of attendees from all across the country onto the National Mall in a show of solidarity for the rights of the unborn, went off without a hitch. It was punctuated by a speech from President Trump from the White House Rose Garden.
In his address, the first from a sitting President, Trump paid homage to the theme of this year’s event: Love Saves Lives.
The March for Life is a movement born out of love. You love your families, you love your neighbors, you love our nation, and you love every child, born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God.
We know that life is the greatest miracle of all. We see it in the eyes of every new mother who cradles that wonderful, innocent, and glorious newborn child in her loving arms.
I want to thank every person here today and all across our country who works with such big hearts and tireless devotion to make sure that parents have the care and support they need to choose life. Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full, God-given potential — because of you.
Standing at the podium with Trump was Marianne Donadio of Greensboro, North Carolina (originally from England), who was 17 when she learned of her own unplanned pregnancy. Her parents supported her emotionally and financially and she gave birth to her son, Dominic, who accompanied her and her daughter Maria to the Rose Garden as special guests of the president. She said after the event that it was “exciting” and “surreal” and was “such an honor” to be mentioned in the President’s speech.
Donadio’s group, Room at the Inn, counsels homeless women to keep the children of their own unplanned pregnancies by giving them support. More importantly, says Marianne, they “believe in them” that they have the ability to care for their child and offer them a good life. She added that she sees the ground shifting a bit regarding the debate over abortion
“I do have a sense that things are changing in the last couple of years, for the better,” she said, adding that whatever one may think of President Trump, he is pro-life in his actions and that’s what matters to her.
Donadio was joined in her optimism by two young pastors, Chris White and Alex Bridger, both of Richmond, Virgina, who also see reason to hope that there’s a cultural awakening happening concerning their personal belief that life begins at conception.
“We just want to see every life reach its God-given potential,” said Bridger.
“You can tell by the sheer volume of people here that there is a [cultural] shift…not just from all over the nation, but from all over the world…for this one little march,” added White. “Well, I guess it’s a big march now.”
Both men believe Planned Parenthood will be defunded during Trump’s initial term of office.
And there’s some indication that White, Bridger and Donadio are on to something, with a GOP Congress already making bold moves to turn the clock back on Roe v. Wade.
House just voted to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which protects babies who survive botched abortions. All Republicans for, all but 6 Dems against. It's clear: the Democratic Party is the party of infanticide.
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) January 19, 2018
Fellow marcher Father Joseph Medio, a Franciscan friar, says he sees the growth in numbers at the march — particularly of young people — as a “great sign for our country.”
“Because it shows that nature and reason are going to prevail,” he said. “It’s written in the human heart that something is just not right about this trajectory that we’ve been going.”
The thousands of people that gathered in chilly temperatures on the National Mall Friday to celebrate the sanctity of life would surely agree.