Photos: March for Life 2012: Youth Join Massive Anti-Abortion Rally
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | Jan 25, 2012 07:45 AM EDT
Nearly 100,000 pro-life activists flooded in Washington D.C. Monday in the rain and cold to protest against abortion, many of them young college students and teens.
The annual event, which marked the 39th anniversary of landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, was hosted by the Archdiocese of Washington and drew busloads of Catholic school children from all over the nation, The Washington Post reported.
"I didn't know what an abortion meant until I saw those pictures," Olivarez, a 17-year-old who was attending her third rally, told the paper. "But now I do, and I think it's important for me to be here."
Fox News' Shannon Bream reported that many college students attended because they are the first generation whose parents had "unfettered access to abortion." Royce Hood, a student at Ave Maria School of Law, told Fox he came because "I was born out of wedlock and my mother could have had an abortion with me. Thank goodness she didn't because I'm here today."
March for Life, which The Associated Press reports is one of the largest protests of the year in Washington, has been taking place every year since 1974 -- the year after the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade to legalize abortions.
House Speaker John Boehner kicked off the march after a weekend-long pre-rally with opening comments on Monday.
"We are heeding the voice of the people who overwhelmingly oppose taxpayer funding of abortion," said Boehner, according to Fox News.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was supposed to speak at the event as well, but got held up when he refused to receive a TSA pat-down at the Nashville, Tenn. airport and walked through security scanner.
Boehner said "he never considered being pro-life a label or political position," but the 2012 election was a major presence in this year's march. Some lawmakers encouraged protesters to vote for the GOP nominee.
"For the sake of the innocent, failure to unite is not an option," said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., according to The Associated Press.
Nancy Keenan , president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, criticized politicians attending the rally for an "extreme agenda" that is "out of touch with our country's values and priorities."
"Anti-choice politicians and their allies promised to focus on creating jobs, yet they are attacking a woman's right to choose at near-record levels," Keenan said, according to the Associated Press
A child participated in the 2012 March for Life protest in Washington D.C.Source: Reuters Date:01/25/2012
A woman holds a sign saying "I regret my abortion" at the March for Life rally 2012.Source: Reuters Date:01/25/2012
A large crowd of demonstrators protest abortion at the 2012 March for Life rally in Washington, D.C. on Monday,Source: Reuters Date:01/25/2012
Anti-abortion activists line up in front of the capitol building at March for Life 2012Source: Reuters Date:01/25/2012
A demonstrator protests abortion at the 2012 March for Life rally in Washington, D.C. on Monday,Source: Reuters Date:01/25/2012