NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Thursday, January 30th. You are listening to The World and Everything in It, and we are really glad you are!
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next: the 2020 March for Life.
Last Friday’s March for Life drew tens of thousands to the Mall in Washington D.C. Maybe into the hundreds of thousands.
Most had made their plans to attend long before they knew that President Trump was coming. But the president’s appearance did add additional excitement. We had reporters there, and Kristen Flavin brings us that story.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Forty-seven years. That’s how long pro-life people have been coming to Washington, D.C. in January to march for life. The atmosphere feels like a combination of family reunion and pep rally. Outside the National Museum of African American History and Culture, marchers gather. Pro-life groups hand out swag: signs, backpacks, hats, and gloves. Karen Sorenson represents Feminists for Life.
SORENSON: My sign is double sided. The sign right here says: “Peace begins in the womb.”… this is the logo for the female. You have the male and female gender…and then the other side says women deserve better than abortion.
Most signs are professionally produced. They convey messages that reinforce the overall theme of the March: Pro-Life is pro-women. The signs read “Choose love, choose life.” “Human Rights begin in the womb.” “I am pro-abundant life.” “I vote pro-life.”
PA: Good morning. Good morning. Good morning.
The Silent No More Campaign signs carry a more sobering personal message.
MARCHER: I regret my abortion and I’m silent no more. I’m recovering. My last abortion was in 2002. I went through Rachel’s vineyard and went through recovery.
A large contingent of women carry those black and white signs down Constitution Avenue. Men walk alongside them. They too carry black and white signs. But theirs say, “I regret lost fatherhood.”
PA: Good morning to you. Good morning. Smile, it’s the March for Life.
Marchers have to pass through metal detectors to reach the area near the stage where the president will speak. As helicopters fly overhead, secret service and park police bark commands.
Inside the secure area, marchers gather and wait for speeches. Music blares over the loudspeakers. In the sea of mass-produced signs, some hand painted ones stand out. They hint at the personal stories that inspire pro-life commitment. So we ask about the signs and the stories behind them. Here’s a sample of their answers.
Here’s a young woman named Brianna.
BRIANNA: Mine says, “Bless successful autistic pro-life because love isn’t ableist. I’m autistic and that’s a big part of why I’m pro-life because so many children with even small disabilities like cleft palette are aborted and it may not be easy but all life is precious even if it’s going to take a little bit more work.
Erica is from Manassas, Virginia. Her sign says, “Thankful 3 months was too old back in 1984.”
ERICA: my mom was pregnant with me when she was young and couldn’t tell her family. She tried to have an abortion but found she was too far along. So she hid her pregnancy and gave me up for adoption but then regretted it and got me back a few weeks later and brought me home to her family. And they were supportive and took her and me in, and so I’m thankful to be here.
Philip, a young Asian man, has a sign that says, “Smile your mom chose life.”
PHILIP: My mother considered abortion. But chose life. Choosing life God’s gift.
A middle aged woman named Cheryl also has a handwritten sign. It says, “When I was 16 I was pregnant.”
CHERYL: Pressured to have an abortion I was 16 scared and pregnant, but her life mattered too. Picture of mom and daughter. Love is sacrificing yourself for others…hate is when you sacrifice others for self. We got to get it right.
Gwen also holds a sign.
GWEN: My sign is an unborn child: Life is good. Proverbs 31:8,9.
That passage says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
GWEN: This is my first March for Life. I’m on two sides of this issue. My mother was an unwed mother in 1968. I was born and placed for adoption and then didn’t make some good choices and ended up pregnant myself unmarried and through the grace of God that child saw the light of day. I’m just grateful for people who choose life and God’s plan is good even when things are tough.
A young mom named Melissa was at the march with her husband and baby. She chokes up when we asked about her sign.
MELISSA: This is my friend Kim who I met in high school. She is a part of my family. She is my daughter’s aunt. We just think about all of the babies who don’t get the opportunity to live because they have Down Syndrome. It’s not fair. It’s a tragedy.
Melissa remembers her experience during pregnancy. At every appointment, the doctors asked her: Do you want to know? Do you want the test to screen for Down Syndrome?
MELISSA: And I finally looked at the doctor and said, if we found out my child had Down Syndrome would you treat my pregnancy any differently, medically. And he said no. And I said I don’t want to know.
In honor of her friend Kim, Melissa carried this sign.
MELISSA: It’s a picture of my sister Kim, my friend Kim holding my newborn baby at the hospital and it reads, “an estimated 90 percent of babies with Down Syndrome never get a chance to live their lives because of abortion. Here’s the thing. Aunt Kimmy has a really awesome life and there’s no prenatal test to predict that.”
For WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin, with reporting from Susan Olasky in Washington, DC.