Pro-life rally attracts diverse supports
Hundreds of thousands of people swelled the Capitol on Saturday for one of the largest gatherings in the history of the abortion controversy. The crowd stretched from the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial and into the Mall. The Washington Memorial hill was transformed into a colorful sea of people. This event was Rally for Life '90.
The atmosphere pervading the event was one of infectious optimism. These were people who had fought great odds in their commitment to life and they knew that they represented the sentiment of the majority of Americans. This conviction was the source of the optimism which made the rally a true celebration of life, without a trace of bitterness or anger.
Every walk of life was represented at the rally. There were students from colleges and universities across the country. From the Northeast alone, MIT, Harvard, Cornell, Smith, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke and dozens of other colleges sent pro-life contingents. Working people from every field, both blue and white collar, joined the crowd. There were people from all ethnic, minority and social groups. Thousands of young families were witness to the vitality of the right to life movement. A good showing by the elderly, who stand at the other end of life's spectrum, and by people with handicaps showed the concern of these two groups for the right to life. These people have a large stake in this movement, because whatever happens to the unborn happens to them next.
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as diverse as the people in attendance, comprising Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and progressives. Although there were a large number of men, the overwhelming majority of participants were women. Such women's groups as Feminists for Life, American Victims of Abortion, and Women Exploited by Abortion took center stage, putting to rest the myth that pro-abortion is pro-woman. Representatives from both Teens for Life and Black Americans for Life had a prominent place on the agenda. And despite the recent pro-abortion proposal of the AFL-CIO, a large number of union members banded together, calling themselves Hard-Hats for Life.
The array of speakers and entertainers mirrored the makeup of the crowd. Olivia Gans from AVA was the rally facilitator. The speakers she introduced enlightened everyone present about the issues related to right to life efforts. Carol Everett, former owner of five abortion clinics, reminded the crowd of something Planned Parenthood is particularly reluctant to admit: that the abortion issue is not about women's rights, but about money -- the millions of dollars that abortionists make each year from the blood and grief of women. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL) stressed the contradiction in the pro-choice logic when he asked, "If a woman has the right to her own body, how can we abort an unborn woman?"
Comments from other speakers exemplified the basic pro-life attitude of young American women. Representatives of Teens for Life indicated that, when given the full facts about abortion, teenage women are inherently pro-life. Lisa Whelchel, former star of Facts of Life, in discussing her own pregnancy, asked, "How can you look at an ultrasound that shows little hands and little feet and say it doesn't have the right to life?"
In response to accusations that pro-lifers do not act on their convictions, John Cardinal O'Connor, archbishop of New York, reiterated his offer that the diocese will provide full financial support for any woman facing a pregnancy crisis. The support is offered regardless of the woman's race, age or religion. If the woman chooses not to give the child up for adoption, such support can be continued until the child reaches the age of 18, if necessary. The cardinal originally made this offer on Oct. 15, 1984, and has not yet seen it mentioned in the secular media. A similar offer by Bernard Cardinal Law stands in the Archdiocese of Boston.
Even in the midst of this celebration of life, all present were forced to acknowledge the reality of media bias. One speaker commented, "I'm surprised at the number of TV cameras I see here. Now, I wonder what's going to happen to the footage." The president of MIT Pro-Life witnessed a reporter concentrating solely on the fringe elements of the rally. When she asked him if he would care to hear from college students, his answer was simply "No."
Earlier that day, MIT Pro-Life joined other Massachusetts citizens for a prearranged meeting with the press, only to discover that the press had come and gone an hour and a half before scheduled. Even the next morning's papers did the rally a grave injustice by reporting not the peak attendance but rather the 4 pm estimate which was taken as people were beginning to leave.
It is our sincere hope that this great showing of pro-life strength and support will be a source of encouragement to those who silently support the right to life and will inspire them to take a more vocal and active role in the pro-life movement. Members of the MIT community have a unique opportunity to join the largest campus pro-life group in the Boston area. In addition, a new group tentatively named "MIT Progressive Life Action Network" is currently forming. It will allow members to take a more direct role in the movement. MITPLAN intends to provide services to women facing crisis pregnancies through fundraising, sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics, and referrals to established pregnancy help centers.
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