Thousands of anti-abortion marchers gathered at the 44th annual March for Life protest Friday in Washington, D.C. As protesters rallied to overturn the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion and defund Planned Parenthood, crowds chanted, “We will be silent no more." Some did break their silence, and not all of their opinions aligned with those of their fellow marchers.
A marcher named Dorothy waved a unique, double-sided sign. One side echoed others at the march, reading: "Abortion harms women and children." But the other side stood out. It read:"Jesus loves women who have had abortions (I do too)."
While most marchers espoused familiar anti-abortion rhetoric, others saw gray areas, believing certain abortions are justifiable. A recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said mothers should have the choice to abort in instances when their health is threatened.
A number of Catholic high school students were excused from classes to attend the school-sanctioned march. Wearing brightly colored school hats, students represented their schools and their values. A gym teacher from Bishop Denis J. O'Connell High School in Arlington, Va., explained his Catholic school's role in the march and told how students react to abortion rights advocates. He discussed an incident at the school that ran counter to many marchers' approach to attaining their aims: Once, a single student was booed at a school event—even by the gym teacher's son—for questioning anti-abortion beliefs.
Self-described "sheltered" Sister Maria Sophia from Philadelphia expressed her anti-abortion beliefs, though she seemed less vocal in support of the cause in cases of rape and incest. Although many at the march were willing to shout their beliefs to all who passed, the nun advocated that opponents of abortion rights "peacefully disengage" with any potential opposition.
Another woman spoke out powerfully at the march. The activist held her "I regret my abortion" sign at the steps of the Supreme Court. Asked about the sign, she said, "It's my sin, but I want other people to know. I don't want them to go through the pain and suffering that I've been through for so many years. It was horrible because it is not a clump of cells. It is a human life."