At the 47th Annual March for Life in Washington DC, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, including a delegation of 23 Australians lead by Bishop Richard Umbers, had the opportunity to look ‘choice’ in the eye.
Melissa Ohden is an abortion survivor. She should not be alive today. Melissa was supposed to die as an unborn baby in the womb through a saline abortion.
The amniotic fluid surrounding her was replaced by a poison designed to burn her to death. After five days in the poison Melissa did not die and instead was delivered alive, barely.
A nurse took pity on the tiny baby and rushed her to the NICU where she received lifesaving care. She was later placed with an adopted family and more recently reunited with her birth mother.
Melissa’s biological mother was coerced into this late-term saline abortion by her own mother (Melissa’s maternal grandmother).
Reflecting on this, Melissa told the huge crowd, “Abortion didn’t empower my birth mother. It certainly didn’t empower me. It didn’t empower my own daughters who wouldn’t have lived if that abortion had succeeded in ending my life. Life is what has empowered each and every one of us.”
Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson said, “Abortion happens when women feel weak. There is never and has never been anything empowering about abortion.”
The testimonies of these brave women reinforced the theme of this year’s March for Life; Life Empowers: Pro-life is Pro-woman.
The pro-woman theme was chosen to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment of the US Constitution which guaranteed women the right to vote.
The early feminist leaders who fought for this right were also proudly anti-abortion. Women such as Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul labelled abortion “the ultimate exploitation of women”.
These authentic feminists understood the true dignity of every human person, especially women and children and knew that abortion was not the solution.
The March for Life is the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world, however it is also affectionately known as the world’s largest media blackout.
For years local and international media have refused to report on the half million strong crowd. Finally, the light was switched on in the form of President Donald Trump. Trump was the first president in US history to attend and address the March for Life. He labelled the opportunity as a “profound honour” and singled out young adults as the catalyst for change.
“Young people are the heart of the March for Life and it’s your generation that are making a pro-family, pro-life nation,” announced President Trump.
Looking around the crowd this couldn’t be truer. The vast majority of attendees were high school and university students, many of whom had travelled more than 20 hours by bus to attend the rally. They were loud, full of energy and absolutely determined to have their voices heard, both at the event itself and online.
Thanks to social media, every student present was able to amplify his or her voice to include thousands of others around the globe. Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat. If you can name it, it was being updated live by a specialist army of digital natives.
The Australian March for Life contingent was no exception. Our team immediately jumped into action. It was selfie, Instagram story and boomerang-Central as we waved our pro-life signs and Aussie flags in the air.
Our inflatable kangaroo known as ‘Skippy’ has quickly become a March for Life legend as he made his second annual appearance. Shouts of “We love babies. Yes, we do. We’re pro-life. How about you?” echoed around the city.
While this may all seem trivial, the reality is that this is how we will reach the hearts and minds of the next generation. We’re operating in their world to help them understand the beauty of human life. The first photo anyone from my generation has of themselves is our ultrasound photo.
We know that life begins long before birth and Melissa Ohden’s survival story proves this. As Melissa simply said, “I am more than a choice. I am more than someone’s reproductive rights. I am a human being.”