By Nancy Thorner & Mark Weyermuller –
Chicago's annual March for Life was held last Sunday, and despite a snowstorm blanketing the region hours before, organizers say this year's gathering set a new record for participation – in excess of 8000 people.
The Chicago March for Life has become a full weekend of events. It started with the Rose Dinner on Saturday night, sponsored by Speak Out Chicago. It featured a roundtable discussion between three dynamic leaders in the pro-life movement: Jeanne Mancini, president of the National March for Life Education and Defense Fund, Eva Muntean, coordinator of the West Coast Walk for Life and Dawn Fitzpatrick, president of the March for Life Chicago.
Then early Sunday morning, about 500 young people gathered at 8am for a youth rally and mass at Holy Name Cathedral. Their keynote speaker was Steve Angrisano.
Others gathered at the Union League Club for a mass and brunch sponsored by Aid For Women. This group provides emotional, practical, and spiritual support the mother needs to choose life for their unborn baby and to provide a better future for her and her children. Their keynote speaker was Ryan Scott Bomberger.
The annual March for Life Chicago is one of many being held nationwide to protest the 46th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. The Chicago event drew groups from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio and Missouri. Chicago’s and other marches lead up to the largest and oldest protest, The March for Life in Washington D.C. on Jan. 18, 2019. The march begins with a featuring a rally on the National Mall followed by a march to the U.S. Supreme Court building.
"Unique from Day One," was this year's theme for both marches. As Dawn Fitzpatrick, who serves on the Chicago march's board of directors, explained, "Being pro-life is not in opposition to science. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. Medical and technological advancements continue to reaffirm the science behind the pro-life cause — that life begins at fertilization, or Day One, when egg meets sperm and a new, unique human embryo is created.”
Cardinal Blase Cupich touched upon the same theme. "When a child's life is taken, we are all touched by that loss," Cupich told the crowd. "We are all robbed of the distinctive interest, the skills, the talents these little ones might have been able to contribute in a myriad of ways to our families, communities and the world.”
Two U.S. Congress members from Illinois – Republican Darin LaHood of IL's 18th CD and Democrat Dan Lipinski of IL's 3rd CD , appeared together on stage in a show of unity concerning abortion. LaHood stressed the importance of anti-abortion legislation, while Lipinski said, "I am a Democrat. We all have our differences, but we all agree science shows us life begins at conception. There is nothing more important than protecting Life.”
Vice President of the Chicago Bears Pat McCaskey shared a pro-life poem to the delight of those assembled. “On the Chicago streets, we think marching is quite neat," he read. "March for Life. March for Life.”
A young parent Reyanna told her inspiring story about why she chose life while holding her young child. Calling her the "love of her life," Reyna said, “I don't think there's a greater love than a mother who loves her child. When I see her, my whole world lights up." Illinois' pro-life pregnancy center Aid for Women encouraged Reyanna to choose life.
Speaker Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation told how his biological mother was raped, yet courageously gave him a chance to live via the beautiful gift of adoption. Bomberger said he was adopted at six weeks of age and grew up in a loving, multi-racial Christian family of 15. With siblings of varying ethnicities, he grew up with a great appreciation for diversity. Ten of the thirteen children were adopted in his remarkable family. His life, he said, defies the myth of the “unwanted” child – he was adopted, loved and has flourished.
Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life in Washington, spoke of the history behind March for Life. Hear what Mancini had to say three weeks prior to last year's March for Life in Washington, D.C.
After an hour of listening to speakers, the assembled pro-lifers marched nine blocks through downtown Chicago with signs displaying their unity with 2019 theme.