WASHINGTON—It’s the biggest pro-life event of any year, but the March for Life often gets just tiny amounts of coverage in the mainstream media.
Donald Trump becoming the first president ever to address the March masses live, though will likely put a much brighter national spotlight on this year’s event.
More than 100,000 people are expected to show, with many of them already flooding Washington. It makes the pre-March activities — conferences, parties, meetings, exhibitions -- feel almost as huge as the March itself.
That’s because organizers and activists try to take advantage of the large attendance to further their cause. They network with people from all over the world who come to the nation’s capitol for the March.
“This is the largest pro-life event in the WORLD,” Dr. Pat Castle of LIFE Runners shouted to CBN News in a noisy exhibit hall filled with booths set up by dozens of organizations dedicated to fighting abortion.
Gear That Preaches As Loud As Words
And some organizations find unique ways to take on that fight. Castle heads up his 6,800 member association.
"LIFE Runners is the largest pro-life running and walking team in the world,” Castle shared.
But exercising isn’t their main mission. It’s wearing gear that preaches just as loud as words.
Castle showed us the back of his LIFE Runners jacket, which is emblazoned with “Remember the Unborn – Jeremiah 1:5.”
He said, “And Jeremiah 1:5 is that God knew us even before we were in our mothers’ wombs.”
Castle shared that sometimes a message as simple as that will turn a woman or girl away from getting an abortion.
First-Ever For a U.S. President
Many in that exhibit hall and taking to D.C.’s streets for the March are especially motivated this year because of Trump’s first-of-a-kind appearance. He’ll be speaking from the White House Rose Garden, but his message will be beamed by satellite to the pre-March rally.
“To have the leader of the free world on the side of life is a tremendous thing,” March for Life President Jeanne Mancini told CBN News.
Some critics try to use Trump’s past as an example that shows he doesn’t share the same values as many marchers. Focus on the Family President Jim Daly suggested that’s not the way to look at it.
Does He Stand Up For Life?
“I’m not here to defend Trump. That’s not my role,” he told CBN News. "My role is to say ‘who will stand up for life? Who will support legislation that will save a baby?’”
And by that criteria, Reverend Samuel Rodriguez says the President’s actions speak louder than words.
“We did not elect him to be the pastor-in-chief,” the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference argued. "And his public policies, without a doubt, have advanced the cause of life.”
Overall, Daly is encouraged that abortions are down, clinics are closing and young people are getting the message.
“They’re the most pro-life of any generation. So I think there’s something in the hearts of young people that resonates with truth and what it means to be human. And the fact is that over 60 percent say this is an immoral activity,” Daly said of abortion.
March Message: Love Saves Lives
Mancini pointed out the theme of this year’s March is Love Saves Lives. And she suggested these days pro-life groups and pregnancy centers are stepping up in love, providing a hundred million dollars a year worth of care to those parents-to-be who turn away from abortion.
She said that money is, “Providing resources for women and men facing unexpected pregnancies. So these are things like diapers, formula, housing, money, classes."
Capitol Hill support is also being heard as four senators gave back-to-back speeches on the Senate floor before the March, praising those who stand for life and attacking purveyors of abortion.
For instance, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, stated, "Taxpayers should not be forced to foot the bill for roughly a half-a-billion dollars annually for an organization like Planned Parenthood that exhibits such disrespect for human life.”
A Respite from The Deep Freeze
The forecast for the 2018 March is sunny skies and temps in the 40s. That’s a welcome relief after some freezing Januarys in the past when marchers shivered and shook as much as they walked.
In fact, people often wonder why the March for Life is in January when it’s likely those marchers are going to half-freeze. The reason is simple: it marks that fateful day in January 1973 when the Supreme Court with the Roe v. Wade ruling legalized abortion nationwide.