WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of people gathered near the Washington Monument on Friday to express their opposition to legalized abortion.
“I can just tell you from experience that having an abortion doesn’t solve the problem,” said Cheryl Krichbaum, a 50-year-old author and home-school teacher from Virginia.
She added: “It starts up a whole new set of problems and if Roe v. Wade hadn’t been in place, I wouldn’t have had an abortion and I wouldn’t have been lost for 15 years.”
Krichbaum said she had an abortion at age of 17, and instantly regretted it.
“I know that at the very moment my baby left my body, my joy left. I pretended to be happy but I wasn’t really happy.”
Amy Bauman, 46, teaches at a Catholic high school in Nebraska. She attended the march with 42 of her students.
“We just want to show that women and babies are important, that we love them both,” Bauman said. “[And] for the government to recognize and show that the unborn person is still a person.”
College student Abigail Bongiorno came all the way from Green Bay, Wisc. to participate in the march.
“I think a lot of women and men don’t realize that there are people that are pro-life. Not everyone in college is pro-choice, so I think even though the law itself hasn’t changed, just bringing awareness that abortion is killing a bunch of people everyday is something that we can achieve,” she said.
Dave Burns, 59, of Andover, N.Y., who volunteers for a veterans appreciation project, Wreaths Across America, said the rally provides a good learning experience.
“I’m glad that this goes on,” he said. “We’ve been to different rallies on both sides of the aisle and I love to expose my children to both sides.”
Burns added: “There’s pros and cons of everything, so they can make up their own minds.”
Featured speakers included Vice President Mike Pence, GOP Sens. James Lankford (Okla.) and Steve Daines (Mont.), and Republican Rep. Chris Smith (N.J.). physicians also addressed the attendees.
Pence was accompanied by his wife, Karen Pence. He said that with Roe V. Wade, the Supreme Court turned its back on a person’s “inalienable right to life.”
“Nearly a half century later, a generation of Americans have come together to say, ‘no, we are going to put the sanctity of life back at the center of American law,’ ” Pence said.
Religious leaders and physicians also addressed the crowd.
Attendees carried signs with messages including “Defund Planned Parenthood” and “True Feminists Fight For The Rights Of Unborn Women.”
The March for Life has been held every January in Washington, D.C. since 1974.
The first march coincided with the one-year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.
Roe invalidated state laws that prohibited abortion prior to the third trimester of pregnancy.
This week Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Inc. filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn some Wisconsin laws pertaining to abortion.
Among the laws that the suit challenges are the requirement that only physicians may perform abortions and that women must make two doctor visits before undergoing the procedure.
Planned Parenthood argues that they restrict access for women to abortion and are especially burdensome for low-income women and those who live in rural areas. Wisconsin Right to Life says the laws are designed to protect women’s health.
The 56-page lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Madison against Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, who took office on Jan. 7. During his campaign, the Democrat pledged to defend the state’s laws and was endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates.
TMN interns Justine Lopez, Felecia Pohl and Marco Torrez contributed to this report.