South­ern Mary­lan­ders March for Life

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com and SARAH FALLIN sfallin@somd­news.com

South­ern Mary­lan­ders ar­rived by the bus­load Fri­day as tens of thou­sands of anti-abor­tion demon­stra­tors from across the coun­try flocked to Washington, D.C., for the 44th March for Life.

This year’s march, held an­nu­ally fol­low­ing the

1973 U.S. Supreme Court rul­ing in Roe v. Wade, was high­lighted by re­marks of Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence (R) and pres- iden­tial ad­vi­sor Kellyanne Con­way. Pence, the high­est rank­ing U.S. of­fi­cial to ever speak at the event, re­ceived thun­der­ous ap- plause when he promised that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump (R) would fill the Supreme Court va­cancy with a pro-life jus­tice.

Many Chris­tian parish- es from Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s coun­ties or­ga­nized bus con­voys to trans­port lo­cal ac­tivists to and from the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

While there is no of­fi­cial crowd size es­ti­mate, Cid Mar­cus, chair­man of the Charles County Right to Life chap­ter, be­lieves the move­ment to over­turn Roe v. Wade has gar­nered new strength thanks to a pro-life Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“We think the crowd’s larger this year … be­cause we have a pres­i­dent who’s made some pro-life prom­ises,” Mar­cus said, while also point­ing out Trump’s re­cent move to re­in­state the “Mex­ico City pol­icy” that de­funds U.S. aide to for­eign non­govern­men­tal agen­cies that con­sider abor­tion as a fam­ily plan­ning op­tion. “We’re hop­ing that he’ll sign a law that will ban abor­tion at 20 weeks.”

Many sup­port­ers of stricter reg­u­la­tions ar­gue that at 20 weeks a fe­tus can feel pain, though pre­cisely when this occurs is still de­bated within the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity.

“We be­lieve that life is pre­cious from con­cep­tion to nat­u­ral death,” Mar­cus added. “You de­fend it at all stages, and I agree with that.”

Mar­cus and his wife, El­iz­a­beth, who have reg­u­larly at­tended the March for Life for the last four decades, be­came adamant in their be­liefs af­ter strug­gling to get preg­nant. On one par­tic­u­lar oc­ca­sion, Mar­cus de­scribed over­hear­ing how ca­su­ally abor­tion was dis­cussed by staff at a med­i­cal fa­cil­ity while he and his wife un­der­went fer­til­ity test- ing. In the fol­low­ing years, they fos­tered 14 chil­dren, three of whom they adopt- ed.

“And here we are,” said Mar­cus, “paying good dol- lars, not in­sur­ance dol­lars, out of our own pocket to try to get preg­nant, and peo­ple were killing their ba­bies. I said, ‘That’s not right.’”

Also in at­ten­dance was Nina Por­siri of Hunt­ing­town, who marched with about 150 peo­ple from Je­sus the Di­vine Word Catholic Church in Hun- tingtown. Por­siri is no stranger to the March for Life, and has lost count of how many marches she’s been to. At least 10, she es­ti­mated.

“I stand for life be­cause life is sa­cred,” she said. “I be­lieve no­body should have the abil­ity to take an in­no­cent hu­man life.”

Af­ter march­ing in Wash- in­g­ton, D.C., many times be­fore, Por­siri said this year’s march had more of an at­mos­phere of hope and she felt like the pro­life move­ment was in­vig- orated by the new ad­min- is­tra­tion.

“The at­mos­phere was way dif­fer­ent,” she said.

Sa­man­tha Wilt of Me­chan­icsville and a ju­nior at Tow­son Univer­sity, who marched with a group of about 150 peo­ple from St. John Fran­cis Regis Catholic Church in Hol­ly­wood, said she was also struck by how much hope there was at the march — espe- cially with Pence speak­ing in per­son at the march.

“There was def­i­nitely a lot of hope,” Wilt said, adding that some at the march even thought that next year, march­ing to re­peal Roe v. Wade might not even be nec­es­sary.

This was Wilt’s first ex­pe­ri­ence at the March for Life or at a protest of any kind. She was ner­vous about at­tend­ing her first protest, but it faded away once she saw the joy and peace dis­played by the marchers.

“I re­ally be­lieve in stand- ing for the pro-life move­ment and wanted to show my sup­port for all the ba­bies and all the women who have ex­pe­ri­enced abor­tions ... and march with all those thou­sands of peo­ple,” Wilt said.

Sa­muel Matthews, a se­nior at Hunt­ing­town High School and pres­i­dent of Hunt­ing­town High School Stu­dents For Life, at­tended the march in a group of 16 stu­dents from HHS.

“I think you see hope in ev­ery march, but there was more ex­pec­ta­tion in the air this year,” Mat- thews said. Matthews even spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court dur­ing the march. He spoke about how his gen­er­a­tion can end abor- tion just as pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions fought dur­ing the civil rights move­ment.

The pos­si­bil­ity that the new ad­min­is­tra­tion could lead to change re­gard­ing abor­tion in the U.S. is es­pe­cially ex­cit­ing for the younger marchers, who have dubbed them­selves the “pro-life gen­er­a­tion.”

“I see it as a so­cial jus­tice move­ment. I think that all hu­mans no mat­ter who they are, whether in­side or out­side the womb, have an equal right to life,” Matthews said.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY AN­DREW RICHARD­SON

Caleb Shorts, a fam­ily friend, stands with Cid Mar­cus and his wife, El­iz­a­beth Mar­cus, as the mas­sive crowd of pro-lif­ers marchers on. Cid Mar­cus has been the off-and-on chair­man of the Charles County Right to Life chap­ter since 1980.

Brian and Nina Fer­rera of La Plata stand to­gether, brother and sis­ter, against abor­tion at the 44th an­nual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Above left, A group of about 16 stu­dents from Hunt­ing­town High School took part in the an­nual March for Life. Above right, Greg Lawrence, left, Ryan Miller, Bradley Beck­man, Emma Thompson, Gabe Ich­niowski, Kyle Campbell and Jonathan Cooper from St. John Fran­cis Regis Catholic Church in Hol­ly­wood par­tic­i­pate in the March for Life held in Washington, D.C., last week­end.

Among a throng of Charles County res­i­dents min­gled to­gether to­ward the main stage dur­ing the rally were pro-lif­ers Cindy Cle­mons, Mea­gan West and her daugh­ter, Sara West.

Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple mo­bi­lize as the march be­gan from the Washington Mon­u­ment and ended at the Supreme Court, where anti-abor­tion­ists hope Roe v. Wade will be re­pealed.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY AN­DREW RICHARD­SON

Shouts of “save the ba­bies” and “we are the pro-life gen­er­a­tion” echoed through­out the crowd dur­ing the 44th an­nual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

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