Crowd comes to march for different reasons but same message: Defend life

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By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS)  — The ritual sights of the annual March for Life never seem to change.

Tens of thousands congregate on the National Mall on a brisk winter morning. Many of them have arrived after hours on the road as part of bus caravans.

They listen to speeches and then march up to the U.S. Supreme Court to mark the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The speeches and the marchers each year call for respect for all life and an end to abortion, but there’s nothing monolithic about the marchers. In fact, there’s great texture there and a diversity of faith traditions.

Alexander Kvenvolden and wife Aleah, at the march for the second year, had come all the way from Seattle by themselves. Despite the damp chill and the remains of a snowfall on the ground, Alexander was in khaki shorts. “I like shorts all the time,” the software developer explained.

They’d both been active in Students for Life while in college. “I’m also super-stoked about (rally speakers) Ben Shapiro and Abby Johnson (founder of And Then There Were None),” Alexander said.

Ahead of his remarks to the rally, Shapiro, a commentator and editor-in-chief of “The Daily Wire,” did a pre-rally podcast from the stage. He took a call from Vice President Mike Pence to appreciative whoops from the crowd. Later, Pence and his wife, Karen, made a surprise appearance at the rally.

“It’s an extraordinarily important event,” Pence said of the march. “Forty-six years ago this month, the Supreme Court turned (away from) the inalienable right to life.”

He also said he couldn’t be “more proud than to be the vice president of the most pro-life president in history, President Donald Trump.”

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