(CNSNews.com) – Republican legislators joined tens of thousands of people on the National Mall on Friday to commemorate the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
And as the nation and the world reach out to help the children and adults who survived the deadly earthquake in Haiti, Republicans said Americans should not forget the more than 50 million unborn children whose lives were ended by abortion.
“I think about that all the time,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) told CNSNews.com. “The hypocrisy that’s involved with how concerned they are after children are born and how little concern they have for children before they are born.”
“I believe that the compassion and generosity of the American people is in high relief in Haiti, but frankly I think it’s also in high relief in the pro-life movement,” Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) told CNSNews.com.
He credited the spread of the non-profit pregnancy resource centers, which help women find alternatives to abortion, as one of the cornerstones of the expanding pro-life movement.
“One of the great advances in the pro-life movement in the last 20 years has been the emergence of pregnancy crisis centers,” Pence said. “I think one of the reasons why a clear majority in most polls support the right to life is because the American people know that this is not an argument over austere legal questions.
“This is a deeply compassionate argument that has the interest of the unborn and the interest of women at the very center of it,” Pence said.
“There has been almost a schizophrenic view when it comes to regarding the unborn child as expendable and throwaways,” Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) told CNSNews.com. “We have greatly and – thankfully – passionately stepped up to the plate to help people who are suffering from catastrophes like the Haitian earthquake.
“But I would hope that the same moral imperative and the same compassion we reach out to the people who have been buried in buildings – and many people in my own district have loved ones and relatives who have been buried and killed – our hearts go out to them,” he said.
“But our hearts should go out in a like manner to the unborn and to the wounded mothers from abortion,” Smith said. “So there is a double standard.”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said the earthquake in Haiti and abortion are both human tragedies that should make people value every human life.
“On this day we come to celebrate life and plead with the hard hearts that remain here in Washington to overturn Roe versus Wade and bring us back to the sanctity of life,” King said. “I feel badly for the people in Haiti – it’s the worst natural tragedy in the history of this hemisphere.
“And I think that if the people in this country could hear the cries of the unborn, who are so brutally treated, they would have the same compassion for unborn Americans that they have for the tragedy in Haiti,” King said.
On stage, representatives from pro-life and pro-family groups told the crowd that they were responsible for making sure the goals of the pro-life movement succeed, from overturning Roe v. Wade to making sure women who carry their babies to term have the support they need.
People of all ages and from across the country attended the event, including 41 students from Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, Wis.
“I support that women have other choices than to kill their innocent child,” 15-year-old Genevieve Hoang told CNSNews.com. “And euthanasia I don’t support either.”
Susan Diiorio of Newberry, N.J., said she has a personal reason for being a pro-life activist.
“Being handicapped myself, I’m very concerned over the issue, because we have a president who said life is a matter of convenience,” Diiorio said. “During his campaign speech he said that he would not want his daughters to suffer with a child because she made a mistake.
“That causes me great concern, because if he would take the life of his own grandchild, what would he or those who support him do for someone like me,” Diiorio said. “So I’m here not only for the babies, but for those of us that are handicapped, who have disabilities.”
One of the most touching moments came when Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) took the stage with her two-year-old son.
“I’m the proud mother of my two-year-old son, who happens to have Down syndrome,” McMorris Rodgers said, adding that she is “heartbroken” by the fact that 90 percent of babies diagnosed with the genetic disorder in utero are aborted.
“We can show them a better way,” she said. “A way that protects life.”
“Thanks for coming today,” McMorris Rodgers said. “You are standing up for your children. You are standing up for my son, Cole Rodgers. You’re standing up for the future of America.”