Patty Knap calls herself a “born again” Catholic. She planned to be a wife and mother of four or five kids with several girls, but as life played out, she’s a single mom with two young adult boys. She counsels at a crisis pregnancy center, teaches CCD, takes online classes with the Avila Institute, and loves the beach, dalmatians, and America’s national parks. She also saves recipes in a pile until it gets big and then throws them out.
An astounding 76 Marches for Life are set to go around the country in 2019.
The newly announced theme for this year's March for Life is, “Unique from Day One: Pro-Life is Pro-Science,” and various aspects of this theme will be highlighted at different marches.
The national 45th annual March for Life will be held Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 in Washington DC, commemorating the January 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. It is the world's largest human rights demonstration.
Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life, Dr. David Prentice, Vice President and Research Director at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, David Daleiden, Founder of the Center for Medical Progress, and Dr. Grazie Christie, radiologist and policy adviser for The Catholic Association, discussed how the theme embodies the current state of the pro-life movement. Mancini said:
Science is behind the pro-life movement. We see that medical and technological advancements always affirm the pro-life movement, for example, DNA is present at fertilization and no fingerprint on earth, past, present or future, is the same. We know, too, a baby’s heart beats at just six weeks and we can distinctly observe it ourselves with ultrasound technology. As science progresses, we see clearly that every life is unique from day one in the womb.
Life in its most vulnerable form, should be protected. To this end, we hope that Patients First Act, HR 2918, and similar legislation preserving the dignity of the human person from its earliest moments, will soon become law.
A big draw this year is sure to be conservative Ben Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire and host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” as well as former abortion center direction Abby Johnson, Founder of And Then There Were None. The musical opening for the event will be provided by award-winning band, Sidewalk Prophets.
Over the decades, attendance at the March for Life has become the central forum for pro-life leaders to take a public and powerful stand in defense of the preborn. In 2017, Vice President Mike Pence became the first sitting vice president to address the crowd. Last year, President Trump became the first sitting president to address the March via live video.
While politicians at the event are overwhelmingly Republican, Mancini reiterated the commitment to keeping the March for Life nonpartisan. “We always try to have both sides of the political aisle represented at the March for Life, and sadly that’s become harder and harder,” she acknowledged. The case of pro-life Democrat Dan Lipinski, who canceled his appearance in 2018 after President Trump’s address to the March, made this increasing polarization all too palpable. “But we also seek to get legislators from around the country and state houses, for example, because there are many pro-life Democrats at the state level, so that is something that we’re hoping to see at this year’s March for Life.”
The March for Life Education and Defense Fund has been working for over a year to develop an action plan to expand the March throughout the country. “We’re starting to embark upon state marches, and that’s something that I’m hoping to explain a little bit more to people in January,” she said. Mancini hinted at broader initiatives to inspire year-round activism. “We also just want to make sure that marchers that get so excited the day of the march, and it’s almost a life-changing experience in terms of motivation and enthusiasm and all of that, that they take that energy home and make a difference in their local communities. And so we’re trying to do what we can to really tool up the grassroots,” Mancini explained.
Attorney Rita Gitchell, former President of the National Lawyers Association and Thomas More Society Special Counsel, highlighted how science proves that embryonic humans are unique individuals, each deserving full protection of the law. “Today there are observable scientific facts known about differences in the behavior and composition of individual cells in human embryos prior to the 8-cell stage of development and prior to implantation in the womb. As human beings, human embryos are protected under the 13th Amendment. These human embryos are human lives at an identifiable stage of human development with full potential until death, not potential life, as some have erroneously reported.”
Gitchell adds, “It’s easy to get caught in the uproar of noisy political issues with each side screaming about their rights. These little ones have no voice. It is up to us to speak on their behalf, to ensure that they are protected under the law.” Gitchell serves as a consultant to the March for Life Chicago.
The Chicago March for Life set for Jan. 13 is expected to draw at least 6,000, as pro-life advocates from across Illinois and the Midwest celebrate the uniqueness of each human life at conception.
Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, and the Chicago Bears’ co-owner Pat McCaskey are among the featured speakers who will proclaim that science is on the side of life. They will be joined by Jeanne Mancini, National March for Life President, Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church's Missouri Synod, and Ryan Bomberger, Founder of The Radiance Foundation, each of whom will speak to the message that humans are unique from conception forward, emphasizing that medical technology continues to reaffirm that fact.
Bomberger, an adopted child of rape, speaks to the distinct purpose for each life. “His personal experiences make him a perfect messenger for this year's theme, Unique From Day One,” explained March for Life Chicago Board of Directors President Dawn Fitzpatrick. “This peaceful march through the streets of Chicago is a reminder that people of Illinois and throughout the Midwest desire to proclaim the synchronicity of science and faith when it comes to the uniqueness of each life.”
“Being pro-life is not in opposition to science. It’s quite the opposite in fact. Medical and technological advancements continue to reaffirm the science behind the pro-life cause — that life begins at fertilization, or Day One, when egg meets sperm and a new, unique, human embryo is created.”
Pat McCaskey, Chicago Bears co-owner, will speak at the Chicago March for Life. McCaskey recalls his parents' raising of 11 children and their family joke: “Our version of family planning was to have the children born during the Chicago Bears’ off-seasons. We had seven victories and four ties (four born during the playing season)!” He recalls the strong Catholic faith of his parents, and his mother receiving a blessing for expectant mothers when she was seven months pregnant with him. Each year, McCaskey presents a poem which is read at the March. Here's his poem from last year:
March for Life Friends
(A poem that is a combination of Oscar Hammerstein II, Father Greszik, and William Shakespeare)
God give us friends who are March for Life Friends
Who will march for the right we adore
Start us with ten who are March for Life Friends
And we’ll soon gather ten thousand more
Shoulder to shoulder and bolder and bolder
We grow as we go to the fore
Then there’s nothing in the world can halt our plan
When March for Life Friends march like we can
We who have dreams, when we march they’ll come true
To turn our dreams to a fact, it’s up to you
Since we have the soul and the spirit
Never fear it, we’ll see it through
Hearts can inspire
Other hearts with our fire
For the friends obey
Because our God shows us the way
We must follow the voice of Jesus Christ
from conception to a natural death.
I see you, friends, ready to march,
straining for the march. The march is today!
Follow The Spirit; and upon this charge
cry God for marchers and the unborn: love saves
Columbia, South Carolina
This year will be the 46th consecutive year that South Carolinians will march to their State Capitol to stand up for life and to speak out against the grave injustice of abortion. This year's South Carolina March for Life featured speaker Carol Tobias, the president of the National Right to Life Committee.
Holly Gatling, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life highlights the beauty of adoption over abortion. “We adopted my brother in 1953 when he was nine months old. His birth certificate gave his date of birth as Sept. 11, 1952. That was amazing because our sister’s birthday was Sept. 10 and our father’s birthday was Sept. 12. He fit right in from the beginning. My brother and his wife have 11 children and 10 grandchildren so far. The most recent grandchild was born on Thanksgiving Day, 2018, and is named for my brother. If my brother had been aborted, there would not been those 11 children, and their children, and their children’s children. Just one abortion can cause the loss of life more numerous than the stars. One adoption can save lives more numerous than the stars!”
Pro-life activist, Abby Johnson will be one of the keynoters at the 15th annual Walk for Life West Coast on Saturday, Jan. 26. At 27, Abby Johnson became the country’s youngest Planned Parenthood clinic director. She oversaw an astounding 22,000 abortions. After assisting in an ultrasound-guided abortion, where she watched as a 13-week-old pre-born baby struggle for life, Ms. Johnson was converted, and soon after, she walked out of Planned Parenthood for good. Her experience led her to become a popular pro-life advocate, and her book, UNPLANNED, has now been made into a major motion picture, slated for release on March 22, 2019. Abby says, “I am thrilled to be at the Walk for Life, walking with pro-lifers and representing not only mothers and women, but also those who have worked in the abortion industry and those who have suffered the effects of abortion themselves.”
Patricia Sandoval, former Planned Parenthood worker and international pro-life and chastity speaker will also speak, along with the Rev. Walter B. Hoye II, Founder and President of Issues4Life Foundation and subject of the new book, BLACK AND PRO-LIFE IN AMERICA; and Father Shenan Boquet, President of Human Life International. The Walk for Life West Coast’s mission is to change the perceptions of a society that thinks abortion is an answer.
Denver, Pensacola, Portland, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Annapolis
The annual Denver Celebrate Life Rally and March will be held on the west steps of the state Capitol in downtown Denver on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Speakers include Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Elias Moo, Superintendent of Schools, Archdiocese of Denver; and the the McGarrity Family.
Pensacola, Florida’s March will feature Dr. Alveda King, pro-life activist and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King.
In Portland, Oregon, Archbishop Alexander Sample will speak in Portland, OR. A student pro-life leader, a right to life lobbyist, and a speaker from Standupgirl.com, an outreach to abortion-minded women, will also speak to Marchers.
In Kansas City, Governor Brownback and abortion survivor Melissa Ohden will speak. Ohden survived an abortion attempt and has become a voice for the voiceless, founding the Abortion Survivors Network and writing the book, You Carried Me.
Among the speakers at the 16th annual year's Los Angeles March for Life are Rick Smith, Founder & President of Hope Story, a nonprofit that promotes the beauty and value of all human life by providing hope and encouragement to families whose child has just received a Down syndrome. Rick and his wife have created awareness about raising a child with Down syndrome worldwide via his blog and social media channels. Rick’s passionate about helping people use their story to help make a difference in the lives of others.
This year's MC in Annapolis will be Kelly Stauffer, a post-abortive woman from Silent No More Awareness. She is a post-abortive woman who shares her testimony of having an abortion at Leroy Carhart's infamous facility. Roland Warren, CEO of CareNet and former director of the National Fatherhood Initiative, will also speak. A musical performance by Idol contestant Johnny Brenns is also scheduled.
The March for Life continues to grow each year. Other cities joining in this year include:
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Jacksonville, Florida
- St. Augustine, Florida
- Oakland, California
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Mobile, Alabama
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- St. Paul, Minnesota
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Lincoln, Nebraska
- Concord, New Hampshire
- Trenton, New Jersey
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Austin, Texas
- Salt Lake City, Utah