January 19, 2019 fell just one week before the 46th anniversary of the infamous landmark court decision of Roe v. Wade. The wind howled in Washington D.C. and the temperature remained below freezing for most of the day. As the morning ticked by, waves of people began to arrive by the thousands. Slowly, the crowd swelled to the size of a small city. More and more people marched to the front of the Washington Memorial as the morning passed on.
The March for Life is an event that takes place every year in protest of the practice of abortion in America. Tara Burton, a writer for Vox, informs us that The March for Life was founded by a Roman Catholic named Nellie Gray in 1974, just one year after Roe v. Wade. Although it was only intended to be a one-time march, the incredible turnout of 20,000 people sparked a trend.
The march has varied in size from year to year, but the largest recorded demonstration took place in 2013, with 650,000 people. Supposedly, although the exact numbers are unknown, more people attended the 2009 March, directly following the inauguration of the highly pro-abortion president Barack Obama. In 2016, tens of thousands of people still came to the march, despite a staggering 24 inches of snow left by a blizzard the night before, according to heavy.com.
“At the very least, over 100,000 attended the 45th March for Life on Jan. 19,” said Katie Yoder, a columnist for catholicvote.org. Some sources, such as heavy.com, reported that more than 200,000 people attended the march, while others, like Ben Shapiro, reported as many as 600,000 attendees.
Other coverage, such as an article in USA Today, downplayed the size of the march by making statements such as, “Thousands of anti-abortion activists... gathered at a stage on the National Mall Friday for their annual march in the...debate over abortion.” A time-lapse video of the march, uploaded by Students For Life, leaves the viewer with no doubt that at least 100,000 people participated in the event.
Little did the crowds at the March for Life realize that just a few days later New York governor Andrew Cuomo would do more to help the pro-choice community than anyone had done in decades. On Tuesday, January 22, Cuomo signed into law “one of the most expansive abortion rights bills in U.S. history,” says JD Flynn in the Washington Post.
The law is long and complicated, but Caleb Parke at Fox News breaks it down. Basically, the law does three main things. First, abortions are moved from “the state criminal statute to the health code.” This means that an abortion can no longer be viewed as murder.
Second, the law allows non-doctors to perform abortions. Snopes reports, "It expands the list of health care professionals who can perform abortions beyond physicians to also encompass highly trained nurse practitioners, licensed midwives, and physician’s assistants.”
The last part of the law is possibly the most shocking and disturbing. Abortions, in many cases, can now be performed up to the point of birth. Directly quoted, the bill affirms that abortions can be carried out if “the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or if the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.”
OB/GYN Dr. Hamada told Fox and Friends, “There’s absolutely no reason to kill a baby before delivery in the third trimester. Not a fetal or maternal indication – what we say in medicine. If there’s a problem, and there are problems in the third trimester, both with the babies and with the mom that require delivery, just deliver the baby. We don’t have to kill it."
On the night of the signing, Cuomo said, “Today we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health, including the ability to access an abortion. With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body.”
And to add to this disheartening announcement was the ruckus, applause, and cheering that was heard celebrating this new law in the house chambers. This law codifies Roe v. Wade.
Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh has made statements hinting that he wishes to overturn Roe v. Wade. According to Joan Biskupic for CNN, “If Roe is overturned, abortion law would be set on a state-by-state basis, as President Donald Trump, who nominated Kavanaugh, declares he wants. In a memo Kavanaugh wrote in 2003 which was made public Thursday, he acknowledged that the Supreme Court ‘can always overrule’ Roe v. Wade.” Cuomo’s law would protect abortions in the state of New York according to Yoav Gonen, a writer for the New York Post, if Roe v. Wade were to be reversed.
Views similar to Cuomo’s are being taken and supported across the nation. This week, Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia was asked what would happen in the event of a failed abortion. He responded, “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen, the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
The theme for the March for Life was “Love Saves Lives.” President Trump addressed the march from a live video stream, Vice President Mike Pence made a personal appearance, and celebrities like Tim Tebow and Ben Shapiro spoke at the event.
Shapiro gave a riveting speech at the March for Life which he concluded by saying, “Our children, yet unborn will remember, and they will thank us in their prayers. And most of all, God, the God who built and preserves nations, who brings life and maintains it, who stands with those who suffer most at the hands of evil—he will remember us, too. He will remember America and he will bless her. God will bless us because we are the guardians of his most precious creations. We stand between America and the darkness, and we will march until that darkness is banished forever and all of our children can stand together in the sunlight.”