Tens of thousands of pro-life activists marched through melting snow Tuesday to protest the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in 1973.
The March for Life, an annual demonstration against abortion, stretches from the National Mall to the Supreme Court. Founder Nellie Gray first initiated the protest 35-years ago when she was certain the court would retract its decision.
“The fight has continued for so many years because the feminist abortionists claim this is a matter of privacy, but we know this is not true,” Gray said. “It is only hurting and exploiting women and it is time America faces this reality.”
More than 30 students from student organizations including Colonials for Life, the Newman Catholic Center and College Republicans marched Tuesday.
Before the march to the Supreme Court, demonstrators were motivated by religious songs from Liberty University and speeches by congressmen from Arizona, Georgia, Maryland and New Jersey.
Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul said that as a gynecologist, he can offer assurance that life begins at conception.
“The debate of when life begins should not be a debate,” Paul said. “(Abortion) is in fact a moral struggle for the heart and soul of America.” “You cannot be at liberty if you are with abortion.”
President George W. Bush addressed the crowd via satellite from the White House. He said that while abortion rates are declining, more than one in five pregnancies ends in abortion.
“Today, I see people with a deep conviction that even the most vulnerable of life deserves a chance to live,” Bush said. “The fingers and toes we can see on an ultrasound come with something we cannot see – a soul.”
The crowd was comprised of thousands from all across the nation. Julie Blaine, a mother of four from St. Louis drove 12 hours with her husband to attend the march.
“I knew it was my responsibility to protect my children the moment I was told I was pregnant,” Blaine said. “Abortion is just unfathomable to me, and it’s really nice to see so many people believing in what I believe.”
Members of Voices for Choices, a pro-choice student organization, met Tuesday night to discuss reactions to the march. Co-president Abbey Marr, a sophomore, said she welcomes abortion opponents’ right to express their opinions because that is what signifies democracy.
In light of the upcoming election, Marr also stressed that abortion is not a political issue.
“It is a painful decision that is between a woman and her doctor,” Marr said. “Reproductive justice, though, is part of a broader set of progressive values.”
The GW Discourse sponsored an abortion debate on campus Tuesday night between College Democrats and College Republicans. About 90 students packed the room as two members of CD, senior Gillian McHale and junior Adam Beck, discussed with two members of CR, freshman Stephen Hawkins and sophomore Brandon Hines.
CRs defended the idea that all children should be considered humans at conception, using evidence from the American Medical Association and references to the constitution.
“There is no such thing as an unwanted child and abortion is not the choice to go,” Hines said. “We are anti-choice because we believe that all have the right to experience life.”
CDs refuted the assumption that they advocate abortion.
“We sympathize with those hurt by abortion and we emphasize that the Democratic Party is not in favor of abortion,” McHale said, “but in favor of having the choice.”