By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
My initiation into the pro-life movement came on a cold January 22nd in seventh grade, when our teacher led us to our state Capitol for our own makeshift demonstration for life. At the time there was a relatively modest turnout.
As I stood shivering holding my sign, I wondered to myself, “Where are all the people?” I later learned that then, as now, state groups, along with a number of church groups, had organized bus trips to the annual March for Life.
But at the time, even though I was a large consumer of television news, I had no knowledge of the March’s existence, or the vast crowds it attracted to the nation’s capital.
In one sense times have not changed all that much. Called the largest annual peaceful demonstration in the country, the March never attracts the kind of media attention its numbers merit. The appearance of the President via video feed or satellite, gathers some mention among national news outlets, but in-depth coverage of this hugely impressive event is often difficult to find.
That is a shame, because it is truly a life-changing event. When I finally made it to the March as an adult, I was overcome by emotion as I saw the sea of humanity flowing through the streets of Washington, standing up and marching on behalf of those who will never see the sun above the U.S. Supreme Court building—the 60 million preborn children who have died from legal abortion since the tragic 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions.
What struck me at my first March was the sheer immensity of the crowd. As a young reporter, I envisioned a few thousand people—not the masses that descend on D.C. every year.
While I had come to the March to express my solidarity with preborn children and their mothers, I also felt the strong bond of fellowship with people of all ages, races, nationalities, and religions who had come together to celebrate life. I was awestruck in that moment, and I consider it to be one of the highlights of my life.
I salute all who sacrifice time, sleep, and comfort, who brave the elements, to march for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for our most vulnerable citizens, whether it be in Washington, DC or at their own state capitols. I weep with the women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, who courageously share their testimonies of life after abortion. And I smile with all the young people who have taken up the baton and march proudly alongside their parents and grandparents.
I hope there will come a day when there is no need to march—when Roe and Doe are overturned, and every single child from every conceivable circumstance is cherished and loved.
But until that time, I am thankful for all those who, during the dead of winter, publicly witness to the joy of life—and our civic duty to protect it, no matter what the cost or inconvenience.