Connecticut Pro-Lifers Rally and March for Life in One of Nation’s Most Pro-Abortion States

Third-annual event draws its biggest crowd yet.

Participants in the third annual Connecticut prepare to step off from the Connecticut Capitol March 20 in Hartford.
Participants in the third annual Connecticut prepare to step off from the Connecticut Capitol March 20 in Hartford. (photo: National Catholic Register / Tom Wehner)

HARTFORD, Conn. — The abortion industry has profited from the troubles of Black women, a Black female pro-life Connecticut state legislator said.

“You’ve mocked impoverished communities all while putting clinics in them. You’ve told me that I can’t be Black and pro-life because Black women need abortion more than anyone,” said State Rep. Treneé McGee, D-West Haven, during the third-annual Connecticut March for Life in Hartford on Wednesday.

She called the abortion industry “systemically racist” and said it is responsible for what she called the “mass genocide of our children.”

“You have pocketed off of the fear and pain of women and minors who don’t feel fit to parent,” said McGee, who frequently drew cheers from the crowd of more than 1,000. “You’ve handed minors abortion pills in silence and told them not to tell their parents. The aches and pains of rape, trafficking and fear-mongering have made you rich. I stand here today and I declare: ‘Life.’ I proclaim that future generations will live and not die.”

She called on her listeners to “encourage and empower women to choose life, to encourage healthy and holistic solutions that surround them.”

“Our goal must be to care for each other on a consistent life ethic, from the womb to the tomb. Women will be empowered to choose life because we value theirs,” McGee said.


Archbishop Blair and Christopher Healy Connecticut March for Life 2024
Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford and Christopher Healy, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference, walk together at the third annual march.(Photo: National Catholic Register)

Playing the Long Game

The midday rally and march took place under gray skies with the temperature in the upper 40s. It drew more people than last year and was significantly longer; the route, which took 45 minutes to complete, meandered through portions of downtown Hartford, including Main Street, which was blocked off for a time by police.

The event was sponsored by the Connecticut Catholic Conference and the national March for Life. The Knights of Columbus, the largest Catholic fraternal organization in the world that is based in New Haven, sponsored about 30 buses to bring participants there, said Gerry Williams, radio host on WIHS FM 104.9, a Christian radio station in Middletown, who served as master of ceremonies during the rally.

Some speakers talked about the long game, acknowledging that abortion is engrained in Connecticut culture and in much of the rest of the country.

“Why do we march? We want a Connecticut where every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life. That is our ultimate goal. Whether or not it happens in our lifetime, when it happens someday, it will happen because all of you are here right now,” said Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut.

Abortion is legal in Connecticut through 24 weeks. Wolfgang told the gathered throng that pro-lifers are fighting a measure in the state Legislature that seeks to add a pro-abortion amendment to the state Constitution and a bill that he said would try to force Catholic hospitals to allow abortion referrals, against Church teaching.

In his remarks to the crowd, Michael Samaritano, a senior philosophy major at Yale University who helps lead a pro-life group at the Ivy League campus, noted that polls suggest most young people support abortion. He called for what he described as “a 100-year project” to reverse the underlying misunderstandings that he said lead them to that view.

“In a culture where relativism and skepticism about there being discoverable purpose in human existence dominate, it is no surprise that young people are unwilling to take on sacrifices related to family and sexuality, two areas of life that demand great virtue and self-discipline,” Samaritano said. “What we should shoot for over the next hundred years is a transformation in how our nation views sex, family, obligation and human purpose more broadly.”

Newington and Trumbull attendees March for Life
Left to right, are Mary Duplin and her son Patrick, from Newington, Maura Janney and Julia Trovarelli, both from Trumbull, pause for a photo during the third annual March for Life in Hartford.(Photo: National Catholic Register)

Pro-life witness works, said Erin Getz, director of the State March Program of the national March for Life.

“Fighting to change hearts and minds is worth it. And I am proof,” Getz told the gathering.

While she supported abortion as a college student, Getz said: “I changed my mind because of pro-lifers like each and every one of you, dedicated to sharing the truth about abortion. Only through their efforts was I able to learn the dark reality of what abortion is.”

Another speaker, Ramona Trevino, a former abortion facility director, told the crowd her facility closed three months after she resigned from it in May 2011.

“This, my brothers and sisters, is a great testament to the power of prayer and the power of fasting and the power of our public witness,” said Trevino, who now works for 40 Days for Life.

Practical help is key to preventing abortion, said one of the leaders of the Connecticut Pregnancy Care Coalition, which brings together pro-life pregnancy centers.

“Our women do not need abortion. What they need is help. What they need is support. What they need is for someone to tell them that ‘You can have this baby, and we’re going to be there with you, support you to have this child,’” Anna Montalvo, executive director of ABC Women’s Center, a pregnancy-resource organization that has locations in Middletown and New Britain, told the gathering.


Sisters of Life from Stamford March for Life 2024 Hartford
A group of Sisters of Life from Stamford in southern Connecticut took part in the March for Life.(Photo: National Catholic Register)

‘Dying With No Voice’

Robert Gauvin, 71, of Plainville, attended with his wife, Janice. They are members of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Plainville.

Asked why he came, Gauvin replied, “For the children. They’re dying with no voice.”

Franciscan Sister Mary Mercy Lee, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, of Meriden, Connecticut, led about 40 students from St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol, where she teaches freshman religion and serves as campus minister.

During an interview punctuated by chants from the students — including “Hey hey, ho ho, abortion clinics have got to go” — Sister Mary Mercy, who is a former Register editor, said the school tries to impart what she called “the dignity of human life.”

“They learn that in the classroom, but now they’re living that,” she said. “Listen to them.”
One of the students from St. Paul’s was asked why she came.

“Being the voice for the babies that can’t fight for themselves,” said Rose Wells, 17, a senior from Cheshire, adding that she also wants to support women with problem pregnancies and to build a culture of life among young people.

She said she and another student who lead the school’s pro-life group plan to give a morning presentation about the Connecticut March for Life to the whole school on March 25, the Day of the Unborn Child, started by John Paul II.

The rally began with a prayer from Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford.

Earlier in the day, he celebrated a special pre-march Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford. During the sermon, he tied the hope of pro-life witness with the hope Christians have in Christ.

“We know that our faith is not a mirage. It’s not an illusion; it’s not in vain. We know that our witness to the value and dignity of every human life will bear fruit, can bear fruit, in the providence of God,” Archbishop Blair said. “So may Jesus guide our steps today and all those who are joining with us in the great March for Life in Connecticut, to make our efforts fruitful in upholding the gospel of life.”

Flag bearer Connecticut March for Life
Pro-life campaigners, one unfurling a 'flag for life,' listen to one of the speakers before the third annual Connecticut March for Life kicks off in Hartford.(Photo: National Catholic Register)