(RNS) Snow, ice and below-freezing weather won’t stop thousands of people from across the country taking to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday (Jan. 22) to protest abortion in the annual March for Life.
The weather did force cancellation of the Nellie Gray 5K race, named for the march founder, and could shorten some speeches, but organizers say the march will go on.
“We march because 56 million Americans never had a chance to experience snow,” the March for Life’s Twitter account posted Tuesday, referring to the estimated number of abortions since the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal nationwide.
The weather has canceled flights and stopped some D.C.-bound tour buses, though.
John Triscik, 44, of Hershey, Pa., canceled his plans to take about 50 members of his youth ministry at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church to the March.
“I’d love to be able to take these kids and show them that even the weather can’t silence us, but it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Triscik said.
Jonathan Hayes, 18, of McVeytown, Pa., found out Tuesday that the buses that were supposed to carry his group of 60 to Washington were canceled.
“Make no mistake, while the weather’s impact may postpone or delay the march, it shall never diminish our cause,” Hayes said. “It will only uplift our cause even more so by reminding us that nothing — not even the elements — shall delay the pro-life generation from coming.”
Veronika Johannsen, 22, of College Station, Texas, beat the weather and arrived safely for her second time at the march.
“The face is changing. It’s not just white male politicians like the pro-choice people like to say,” Johannsen said. “All kinds of people come. Religious groups of all different denominations, former abortion workers, women who have been raped or have been conceived in rape.”
This is the 40th year that protesters will march from the National Mall to the Supreme Court, and 2014 is bringing changes like social media and a March For Life app. There is a “virtual march” on Facebook where users who can’t make it can post a past March for Life photo as their cover photo to show support.
The theme this year is adoption. Speakers will include Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois.
“We want to encourage women facing the option of abortion to choose adoption,” said Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life Education & Defense Fund. “Adoption is at the center of motherhood. Motherhood is all about sacrifices. This is an ultimate sacrifice for the good of the baby.”
(Natalie DiBlasio writes for USA Today.)
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