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Notes from a Protest

Tuesday was a miserable day for the 34th Annual March for Life, a pro-life rally commemorating the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Throughout the march, the sun hid, the wind blew, and thermometers scraped freezing. Nevertheless, when it came to marching on the Capitol, even the Mall’s seagulls walking on thin ice got their feet wet.

Anti-Roe v. Wade marchers protested with chants, harmonized choral arrangements, and—in the case of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property—bagpipes. They came from the country’s coasts and heartlands and wore college sweatshirts from Harvard, Princeton, Ohio State, and University of New Hampshire. Dozens of coach buses lined up on the Mall waited to carry them back to the corner of the country from which they came.

In the march, there was no single norm. Participants ran the gamut from those who probably have yet to learn where babies come from to those whose babies must be adults by now. There were nuns, Franciscan monks, and yuppie-in-training Catholic schoolgirls who walked in Uggs and sipped from Starbucks cups. 

Nor was there one, standard protest sign to carry.  “Abortion=Genocide in the African-American Community,” read a placard held by a few black marchers. “Brownback for President,” read others. One read, “I’m Adopted. Would you kill me?”  And, for those who forgot to pack, there were teenage street vendors hawking “Abortion is Mean” t-shirts—one for $20, two for $30.

Slowly but surely, the massive march made its ponderous way from the Mall, up Constitution Ave., and finally to the Supreme Court. The high school boys of St. Gregory’s Academy in Scranton, Penn., chanted again and again, “The gang’s all here.” And so, right now, is Roe v. Wade.

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