An estimated crowd of over 4,000 people marched through Chicago’s Loop on Sunday, January 18, proclaiming the sanctity of human life and calling for the overturn of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States. The 10th annual March for Life Chicago drew pro-life citizens of all ages to participate in the rallies at Federal Plaza and the James R. Thompson Center. Participants heard from Archbishop Blase Cupich, Congressmen Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Peter Roskam (R-IL), Bears co-owner Pat McCaskey, former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson and others.
Under a cloud of yellow balloons imprinted with the word, LIFE, this year’s event bore strong representation from college students and young adults, whom Students for Life of Illinois leader, Katie Melody, lamented “have never known a world without abortion.”
As the new Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich was firm in his support stating, “We are here to do everything possible to make sure that the right to life is preserved.”
At Federal Plaza, Reverend Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of Chicago’s iconic Moody Church, emphasized the importance of being there to help women who realized too late the negative impact of their abortions. Later, at the Thompson Center, Chanel Moore affirmed that, sharing her own abortion story and the grief that followed.
Congressman Peter Roskam shared how his daughter’s social media posts from last year’s March for Life caused her college friend to seek help and choose life for her unplanned baby, while Congressman Dan Lipinski promised a ban on abortions after 20 weeks gestation.
Former Planned Parenthood abortion director Abby Johnson reached out to the approximately 30 protesters that stood on the perimeter opposing the pro-life supporters. She told them, “We are fighting for your right to life” and assured them that this is “not just about the babies, but about everyone – everyone has a right to live and breathe. All life matters.”
The crowd was delighted by Bears co-owner Pat McCaskey’s pro-life adaption of Tennyson’s classic poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
At each of the two rally points, the enthusiastic crowd was addressed by multi-generational families of pro-life activists. Eric Scheidler, Executive Director of the Pro-Life Action League, spoke with his father Joe Scheidler (known as the Godfather of the pro-life movement) and his son, pro-life blogger Sam Scheidler. Sandy Hiltebrand addressed the gathering, thanking them for their faithfulness, along with her daughter Julie Cooper, and granddaughter, Mary Cooper.
Mary-Louise Hengesbaugh, former Respect Life Director of the Archdiocese of Chicago and 1999 Miss Wisconsin, emceed the event which drew huge Catholic participation from across the Midwest. The crowd, however, was decidedly multi-denominational, and addressed by Orthodox church leaders, the Right Reverend Anthony, Bishop of Toledo, and the Right Reverend Paul, Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest, as well as Pastor Mark Jobe, founder of New Life Centers.
Emily Zender, President of March for Life Chicago, was pleased with the turnout. “I’m so glad that thousands of people turned out to tell Chicago that life matters,” she said. “Abortion tells us that we are essentially disposable. What a disservice – and insult – that is to every one of us. All of these people came here to firmly proclaim that each human being, from conception through natural death, is important and has the right to life.”
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Photo Credit: Lori Solyom, TC Public Relations
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