National Catholic Register


What Makes This Year’s March for Life Different?

BY Tim Drake

| Posted 1/19/10 at 3:35 PM


Several things make this year’s March for Life different, but what really sets it apart is that more lives are at stake – through the potential of publicly-funded abortion.

The looming abortion-providing Health Care Reform Bill before Congress is motivating participants like never before. As all eyes are on what happens in Massachusetts, organizers wonder whether the turnout for the 37th Annual March for Life might not be the biggest ever. I’ve spoken with several individuals and families who have never attended the March, but plan to do so this year.

“They said that last year there were between 300,000-400,000,” said Stephen Phelan, communications manager for the Front Royal, Va.-based Human Life International. “How many more people come out this year because of the healthcare bill is uncertain, but there’s definitely a lot of energy. Every poll indicates that between 75-80% of people are opposed to abortion coverage in the bill, and in Massachusetts we’re seeing that even middle-of-the-road people are upset with this bill.”

The Stop the Abortion Mandate coalition is asking attendees to bring signs that read: “No Abortion in Healthcare.” As their video explains, they’re also encouraging attendees to schedule meetings with their elected representatives and senators to let them know that they do not want publicly funded abortion included in the healthcare reform bill.

Pro-life leaders from around the world will also be on hand for this year’s March. Human Life International is hosting an international conference prior to the noon March for Life. It will include nine pro-life leaders from Africa, Europe, South America, Asia and Oceania. Over 300 people will be in attendance at the conference.

“America’s March for Life is now the world’s March for Life,” said Joseph Meaney, Director of International Coordination for Human Life International (HLI). “It has become the world’s pro-life protest because of the aggressive promotion of abortion and population control that is now official policy of the United States, thanks to the administration of President Barack Obama.”

In a first for the March, AUL Action is offering those who cannot be in Washington, D.C. in person to sign up for the Virtual March for Life. By signing up with their email, participants can choose their own personal avatar and participate in the March for Life online. To date, more than 23,400 individuals have signed up to participate virtually.

Something else that’s new is a Flash Light Mini-Rally at the White House on Thursday, January 21 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in Lafayette Park (16th & Pennsylvania Ave, NW). 3,000 marchers have a permit to rally on the north side of the White House. The program will include prayer, songs, and a presentation on the March for Life theme and the Life Principles. A 27 student choir from Liberty University will be on-hand, and speakers will include Pastor Luke Robinson and March for Life founder Nellie Gray. Attendees are asked to bring flash lights, but no candles.

On a personal note, I’ll be blogging about Minnesota’s own March for Life. The day begins with prayers for life at the Cathedral of St. Paul, after which participants march over to state’s capitol building for the March for Life at noon.