(CNSNews.com) - Just 48 hours after Barack Obama took the oath of office on the steps of the Capitol, hundreds of thousands of people poured onto the National Mall to ask the new president to break his campaign promise to adopt pro-abortion policies.
Held on the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion, the 36th annual March for Life on Thursday drew pro-life activists from around the country for a rally on the mall and a massive march down Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill.
But this year’s event differed from those in the past as speakers and banners sent a message to Obama and a signal that his election has energized the pro-life movement.
Former California Congressman Bob Dornan said he was repeating words from Obama’s inaugural speech to send that message.
“We send it back to you,” Dornan said. “We will not apologize for our way of life – or love of life -- nor will we waver in its defense, and for those of you who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror (and, media are you listening, abortion is terror) and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”
Dornan added: “We will defeat the culture of death or we will perish as a nation.”
Joining the traditional “Choose Life” and “Stop Abortion” placards and banners, this year’s crowd held signs addressed to the new administration. “President Obama, don’t condemn our children to death,” one sign read. “No Freedom of Choice Act.”
“Obama said ‘Those who slaughter the innocent will be destroyed. Babies are innocent,’” read another sign.
Earlier in the day, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) held its annual pre-March for Life press conference at the National Press Club, which also targeted Obama’s pro-abortion stance and his affiliation with pro-abortion groups.
Press packages included a brochure, “The Obama Abortion Agenda,” spelling out the policies his administration has promised to put in place, including the federal funding of abortions and the organizations that promote or perform abortion, and passage of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would strike down all state and federal laws limiting abortion, including parental notification laws and making partial-birth abortion legal again.
Olivia Gans, director of the NRLC’s American Victims of Abortion, said that the pro-life movement is already reacting to Obama’s election.
“I can tell you that already since the election of Mr. Obama I have heard of numerous new National Right to Life affiliate groups springing up, new chapters within our state organizations,” Gans said. “I have the invitations in my hand to prove that there are people interested in learning about what’s happening under this new hardcore, pro-abortion extremist administration that Mr. Obama represents.”
Wanda Franz, president of the NRLC, said she thinks the new president will be hearing from his constituents in the pro-life community.
“When people out there become aware of what’s going to happen as these changes occur, I think that we can help to bring those people back into the public eye and they’ll begin to realize that they have to put pressure on this new president,” Franz said. “They voted for him because they counted on him doing things they wanted him to do, and when he begins to be very pro-abortion in his policies, I think you’ll see people who voted for him coming forward and trying to change his mind.
Franz and other NRLC officials cited statistics that they said show that the pro-life movement has saved millions of lives by decreasing abortions, and that states across the country have enacted pro-life legislation, including laws that require a pregnant woman to view an ultrasound image of her unborn child before having an abortion.
But one thing remained constant at all of the pro-life activities taking place in Washington, D.C., this week. People of many faiths and backgrounds bowed their heads and prayed for an end to abortion.
Franz said that those prayers extend beyond the March for Life and are aimed directly at President Obama.