- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Uplifted by a swelling public outcry over the undercover Planned Parenthood videos, the pro-life movement’s marquee event is taking aim — again — at the idea that opposing abortion is pro-women.

“Pro-life and pro-woman go hand in hand,” is the 2016 theme of the March for Life, Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said at a Capitol Hill event Wednesday.

“Telling a woman that abortion is her only option should be an offense to women everywhere,” Ms. Mancini said.

A woman’s capacity for motherhood is a beautiful and inherent quality about who she is as a person, she said. And while an unplanned pregnancy and birth “can be very, very scary,” there are “many, many resources that enable women to make the empowering choice of life.”

The March for Life — held every year since 1974 on the Jan. 22 anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court rulings, which made abortion a national constitutional right — is the world’s largest annual pro-life demonstration.

It draws hundreds of thousands of supporters to the nation’s capital every year — 80 percent of the marchers are estimated to be “well under the age of 30,” Ms. Mancini said.

The event featured Rep. Vicki Hartzler, Missouri Republican and a member of the select congressional panel investigating Planned Parenthood in light of the 11 undercover videos by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress on the harvesting and distributing of fetal body parts.

Ms. Hartzler told three stories of teenage girls she met as a schoolteacher. The memory of one teen she met, who was grieving an abortion she was forced to have by her mother and relatives, still brought the congresswoman to tears.

“Being pro-life is pro-woman. It is pro-child, it is pro-baby, and it is the right thing,” she said, adding she has introduced a bill to recognize pregnancy care centers nationwide.

George Mason University School of Law Professor Helen Alvare, founder of WomenSpeakforThemselves.com; Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life; Leanna Baumer, executive director of Assist Pregnancy Center in Virginia; and Mary McClusky, assistant director for development for the post-abortion ministry Project Rachel at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, also addressed the gathering.

Asked about the impact of the Center for Medical Progress videos on their efforts, the pro-life leaders said they have seen a surge of interest in their activities.

Digital analytics have showed that “anything related to the life issue just exponentially increased,” said Ms. Mancini.

“There’s a lot of shock factor out there” over the videos, said Ms. Foster. “You can certainly see the impact” in this youngest generation, as they are the first who are “seeing the truth about abortion.”

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