Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Thousands of priests, nuns and Catholic youths assembled at National Mall and marched to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday for the 41st annual anti-abortion demonstration March for Life.
The marchers coming from different states held placards with such slogans as “We are the pro-life generation” and large images of a smiling Pope Francis. The organizer, March for Life Education and Defense Fund, used adoption as the theme of the event commemorating the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which resulted in the legalization of abortion in the U.S.
The usual political speeches and dance music featured the event. Lawyer Susan Wills, assistant director for education and outreach for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, spoke about the Affordable Care Act provision requiring large employers to insure birth control as part of their health care plans, including “morning after” pills that some religious organizations equate to abortion.
The Family Research Council conducted a workshop for anti¬abortion bloggers Wednesday morning as part of training sessions for abortion opponents included in the program of the event. Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum was among the workshop speakers.
Pope Francis expressed support to the march with a tweet praying for God’s help to “respect all forms of life, especially the most vulnerable.”
Anti-abortion activist Nellie Gray of Virginia led the March for Life for decades until her death in 2012. The march is now handled by other people who also raise funds for anti-abortion advocacies.
Meanwhile, the White House issued a statement Wednesday supporting a woman’s right to an abortion. President Barack Obama promised to recommit his administration to the landmark Supreme Court decision’s guiding principle of allowing every woman to make her own choices about her body and her health.
“We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom,” Obama said. The President added that he wants to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and to “build safe and healthy communities for all our children.”