WASHINGTON – Thousands of anti-abortion protesters, including a contingent from Buffalo, prepared this morning to testify to their faith in the harshest of conditions, as the 41st annual March for Life was set to take place in a snow-covered capital where wind chills were hovering below zero.
The winter storm and polar vortex that socked Washington Tuesday weren’t enough to stop the protesters who were able to make it to the city – although many people could not. Flights from Buffalo to Washington were canceled Tuesday, meaning Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Diocese of Buffalo and countless other regular attendees could not make it to the March for Life.
As a result, about 75 people from the diocese – about half the usual number – attended a breakfast Mass this morning at the Washington Plaza Hotel. Afterwards they braced for a protest march that would be dangerous for anyone not properly bundled up against the cold.
“People are asking us: why would you crazy people still go?” said Cheryl Calire, director of pro-life activities for the diocese.
And the answer, for the protesters from Buffalo, was that they still have work to do to make sure that one day, abortion – which they consider to be murder – is banished from the country.
“We need to get rid of Roe v. Wade,” the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, said Pat Johnson, 78, of Forestville, in Chautauqua County, who was attending at least her 15th March for Life.
Pat Morelle, also of Forestville, agreed. Morelle, 71, said she keeps coming to the March for Life because people need to be reminded again and again of the horrors of abortion.
“This is just part of our lives,” she said of her anti-abortion activities. “We live it because we have to.”
After the breakfast, the marchers from Buffalo were set to join thousands of the like-minded for a noontime rally on the National Mall. Then, at 12:45, the annual March for Life will begin, as protesters march to the Supreme Court to mourn the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
Meantime, as usual, abortion-rights protesters are expected to line the parade route to press their case that abortion is a necessary option for many women who get pregnant unexpectedly and cannot support a baby.