Pro-life advocates gather at March for Life following defeat of anti-abortion bill

Southern Baptists joined tens of thousands of other Americans in demonstrating their pro-life convictions during the annual March for Life on Jan. 18 in Washington.

Many of those in attendance carried signs that read, “All people are created in the image of God.”

Thirty-five students from Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School and several other Alabamians were chosen by organizers to lead the march as participants walked across the National Mall to the steps of the Supreme Court, the school said on its website.

The March for Life has been held every year since 1974, one year after the Supreme Court legalized abortion throughout the country in the Roe v. Wade decision Jan. 22, 1973.

The rally included addresses from President Donald Trump, vice president Mike Pence and his wife Karen, legislators, a former abortion doctor and an ex-Planned Parenthood clinic director.

‘Founded on love’

In a video message Trump told those gathered that the pro-life movement is “founded on love and grounded in the nobility and dignity of every human life.

“We know that every life has meaning and every life is worth protecting,” he said. “As president I will always defend the first right in our Declaration of Independence — the right to life.”

Coleman Philley, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Katy, Texas, said the march “provides an opportunity to support a holistic, biblical view from birth all the way to the last seasons of life.”

While local churches may wonder how they can contribute to the pro-life cause, “coming out here gives a tangible sense” so Christians can return to their local churches and “be re-motivated to stay true” and support the sanctity of human life.

Kaitlyn Wester, a member of The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, said, “Every human life is important.”

“I think [the march] is a really important thing to be a part of and wanted to show my support,” she said of her first time to attend the event. 

Evan Lenow, associate professor of ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, said of his first time at the march, “I think it’s important to me to be able to go back to my students and say, ‘This is what is happening in our world around us. This is how people are trying to influence their elected officials.’

“And hopefully in the future maybe we can have some more students come up here and participate,” Lenow said. “Or maybe even as they go and lead their churches after they graduate from Southwestern, they bring people from their congregations up here.”

Senate bill fails

The March for Life came one day after the U.S. Senate failed to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would make permanent the long-
standing prohibitions on federal dollars for most abortions and place new restrictions on the procedure. 

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby (R) voted in favor of the bill. Sen. Doug Jones (D) voted against it.

Democratic Sens. Bob Casey and Joe Manchin voted for the funding ban, while Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against the measure, which was defeated 48–47. 

Shortly after the failed vote U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued a statement critical of the Senate’s action. 

“Standing up for the unborn and opposing abortion is a core Alabama value, and today’s vote shows the urgent need for more pro-life Senators,” Byrne said.

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) praised marchers on social media, writing, “I am grateful for their commitment to this important cause, and I stand with them in the fight.” 

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) and Rep. Robert Aderholt R-AL) also announced their support of pro-life efforts.

A contingent of those who participated in the Evangelicals for Life conference Jan. 16–17 sponsored by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention took part in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. and the rally that preceded it on the National Mall. (BP, TAB)