I had never seen so many people in one place before.
That was my primary thought as I made my way to the starting point of the 2019 March for Life.
This was my first March for Life, after several years of watching live updates and cheering the march on from behind a computer screen. I’m happy to report that it far surpassed my expectations.
Here are a few observations from this year’s March for Life.
1. Over a hundred thousand people came to Washington, D.C. to participate in the March.
It’s one thing to hear that there is over a hundred thousand people at the March for Life. It’s an entirely different thing to actually experience it.
As you are marching down Constitution Avenue to the steps of the Supreme Court, it is surreal to be surrounded by so many people. In the midst of it, you can’t see the beginning or the end of the sea of people – all united by a single cause.
Take a look at this time-lapse video put out by the Students for Life of America to get a sense of just how many people are out there, braving cold temperatures to stand for unborn lives:
Seeing this video makes it even more mind-boggling that the March rarely gets mentioned in the mainstream media. And when it does, it downplays the size of the March, saying that thousands or tens of thousands attended – when that is just a fraction of reality.
2. The March was made up of a truly diverse set of people.
The March for Life was certainly not a giant group of people that all looked the same, or thought the same, or had the same story. There were people from all walks of life.
I was also struck by the huge number of young people that attended. My generation has been called the most pro-life generation yet, and based on what I saw at the March, I feel confident that will only continue.
One thing that also sets the March for Life apart is that it welcomes diverse groups and people who might not even agree on many other issues. For instance, the March for Life welcomes secular and liberal pro-life groups.
This stands in stark contrast to marches such as the Women’s March, which kicked out pro-life groups from its first-ever march, making it clear that it did not actually welcome all women.
People came from all over the country to participate in the March – and even from all over the world.
I was particularly struck by the fact that I talked to several people who had traveled from Ireland to participate in the March.
It seemed particularly notable, considering that Ireland recently voted to remove a constitutional amendment that protects the sanctity of life. Abortion through the first trimester is now legal in Ireland, a historically pro-life, Catholic country.
My original thought was, “That must be really difficult.” But then I realized – we’ve been there. In 1973. When the Supreme Court issued its decision in Roe v. Wade.
And now we can confidently say that it gets better. God is at work even when it seems bleak.
Which brings me to my next observation…
3. The overwhelming atmosphere was one of hope.
There was no rioting or protesting. There wasn’t yelling. There wasn’t anger.
But there was an overwhelming sense of hope.
And it’s no wonder as to why.
In the 46 years since the Roe v. Wade decision, the abortion rate continues to decline. Pro-life sentiment only continues to increase. Abortion clinics continue to shut down across the country. And states continue to pass laws that defund Planned Parenthood.
We have a president who has pledged to stand up for life. And a vice president that spoke, in person, at the March for Life rally.
The pro-life movement is in a better position than ever to make abortion unthinkable in America.
And that is a hope worth marching for.