- The Washington Times - Friday, January 29, 2021

The 48th annual March for Life was a smaller, more subdued shadow of its usual upbeat self, and not just because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

President Biden’s order reallowing U.S. funding for abortions overseas cast a pall over the pro-life gathering, which was held virtually Friday and followed by a scaled-down march of about 100 leaders and activists to the fenced-off Supreme Court.

“It’s a dark moment,” said Star Parker, president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, on EWTN. “Not only is Roe v. Wade a dark moment to remember in our history, but it’s also a dark moment because now we have an administration who is not going to be friendly to the pro-life message at all.”

Not unnoticed was that Mr. Biden reversed the Mexico City Policy, which bans U.S. foreign-aid funding to organizations that promote or perform abortions, the day before the pro-life movement’s biggest event, billed as the “largest annual human-rights demonstration in the world.”

His decision to rescind the Reagan-era policy enhanced by former President Trump means that “we will be giving money to Planned Parenthood and all of these organizations all over the world whose mission is to legalize abortion on demand,” said Rep. Chris Smith, New Jersey Republican.

Mr. Smith, who has attended all but one of the 48 marches, recalled that Mr. Biden has reversed himself in recent years on issues such as taxpayer funding for abortion.

“It’s just such a terrible, terrible thing that he did just yesterday,” Mr. Smith told EWTN, the Catholic television channel partnering with the march. “He [Biden] used to understand that abortion was the taking of human life, he used to be against funding, but now 180 degrees, you’ve got the most powerful man in the world now the abortion president, Joe Biden.”

The one-hour virtual rally featured pro-life leaders such as Live Action’s Lila Rose and Focus on the Family President Jim Daly as well as Rep. Kat Cammack, Florida Republican, and former NFL players Tim Tebow and Benjamin Watson.

Mr. Tebow, the son of Christian missionaries in the Philippines, told the story of how his mother was advised to undergo an abortion during her pregnancy over medical concerns but refused, even though “the doctors said it could and might cost her her life.”

He said the doctor who delivered him called him the “miracle baby” because he survived despite a host of problems, including a placenta that was not sufficiently attached.

“I’m so grateful that my mom gave me a chance at life,” said Mr. Tebow in his first March for Life appearance. “Because many times she could have made the choice to do something different, but because of her pro-life story, I now get to share my story.”

Jeanne Mancini, March for Life president, urged Mr. Biden to unify Americans by embracing pro-life policies, citing a Marist/Knights of Columbus poll released Thursday that showed 77% of U.S. adults oppose taxpayer funding to support abortions overseas.

Cultural crossroads

Past marches have drawn crowds to the National Mall estimated at 100,000 or more. Ms. Mancini said that this year’s event was “different from any march we’re had in the past, but it seems appropriate.”

“We’re at such a crossroads culturally right now,” she said, adding, “People are very quiet and very prayerful. I think we’re all considering where our culture is, where this new administration is, and praying to bring in a culture of life.”

Even though Democrats control the White House and Congress, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, struck an upbeat note, declaring that the “pro-life movement is at the strongest point it’s ever been.”

She cited the 200-plus federal judges approved during the Trump administration and tough abortion restrictions passed by state legislatures.

“We have the courts in such a strong position, and we also have laws coming up to challenge Roe v. Wade all over the country,” Ms. Dannenfelser said. “We’re very strong where it matters in the states. So that is my message of hope.”

Mr. Trump appeared at the 2020 March for Life, marking the first time a sitting president had appeared at the event in person, while Vice President Mike Pence attended the march regularly during the Trump administration.

There was no message of support this year from the White House, but GOP lawmakers released a flood of videos and statements cheering the march.

“Although we’re apart this year, we’re never apart in our commitment to saving the lives of the unborn,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, North Carolina, in the Senate Republicans video.

GOP senators have already introduced a dozen pro-life bills, including legislation by Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, that would codify the Mexico City Policy into law, although the measures have little chance of succeeding with Democrats in charge of the 117th Congress.

The Mexico City Policy may be the ultimate political football: Presidents Clinton and Obama, both Democrats, also rescinded the policy, only to have it reinstated by GOP Presidents Bush and Trump.

“The new administration has already shown its willingness to disregard unity and promote abortion at home and abroad,” tweeted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “Now is the time for us to make our voices heard to protect the most innocent among us.”

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