This week marks the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States. The Annual March for Life is under way in the nation's capital with as many as 200,000 pro-lifers braving poor weather conditions in Washington to march to the steps of the Supreme Court, where abortion was legalized on January 22, 1973.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took the stage at the pre-march rally. He told his audience that America's principles of life and liberty are intertwined.
"Together they form the core of our national character. They comprise the standard by which the world looks to us," stated Boehner. "And when we affirm the dignity of life, we reaffirm our commitment to liberty and freedom. When we don't affirm life, when life is cheapened, weakened here or abroad, freedom is diminished."
Another of the speakers at the pre-march rally was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia).
"We come today to stand together and voice our belief that innocent life is precious and the taking of life morally wrong," said Cantor. "Millions of Americans across this country agree with us that we must stop government from assisting in the assault on innocent life."
He went on to say that those same Americans agree that we "must stop giving government funds to Planned Parenthood" -- the biggest abortion provider and referral service in the country. And Cantor said it is time to protect conscience rights for healthcare providers who object to abortion on moral and religious grounds.
Congressman Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), who reiterated several of Cantor's comments, noted that President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday. In that speech, Obama is expected to issue a call to return America to American values. Smith has a message for the president.
"Mr. President, the violent destruction of children in the womb, killing babies, is not an American value," he told the pro-lifer gathered in Washington. "Mr. President, stop violating conscience rights; stop violating religious freedom -- that is not an American value. Abortion is not [and] never will be an American value. And stop exporting abortion to the four corners of the earth."
Smith also described the last three years of the Obama administration as "a mere foretaste" of what is to come if Barack Obama is re-elected president.
Bryan Kemper, who serves as youth outreach director for Priests for Life, points out that the country is entering its 40th year of legalized abortion. "That's one full generation, 40 years of our young people being exposed to a law that says that they're not a human person for the first nine months of their life," he notes. "One full generation living under the cloud of the abortion holocaust."
But each year has brought a noticeable increase in the number of young people participating in the March for Life, he points out.
"Even someone from Planned Parenthood noticed that and wrote an article about that," Kemper reports. "They were blown away by how many young people [are engaged in this movement]. And this year, the pro-abortion movement needs to stand up and take notice because this generation is pro-life, and they are going to be the generation that will end abortion."
An estimated 54 million unborn babies have been killed in the womb in the U.S. alone since the legalization of abortion in 1973.