“The deadliest thing in the world is indifference,” proclaimed former Planned Parenthood director Ramona Trevino to the crowd of an estimated 6,000+ participants in Sunday’s 2018 March for Life Chicago. Indifferent was not a word to describe the largest pro-life gathering in the Midwest as enthusiastic people of all ages filled the Loop Sunday afternoon in below-freezing weather to decry abortion.
Trevino, the author of, “Redeemed by Grace,” was the keynote speaker among a dozen luminaries including Chicago’s Archbishop, U.S. Congressmen, Illinois legislators and a Chicago Bears owner.
March for Life Chicago Board of Directors President Dawn Fitzpatrick was pleased at the record turn out for the peaceful march to support life and call for an end abortion. “This March for Life Chicago drew people of all ages, from across the Midwest,” she said. “Some come singing, chanting and dancing. Some come quietly praying. They are from all walks of life, but they have one thing in common, they know that loves save lives and that abortion is one of our culture’s gravest ills.” Fitzpatrick added, “This March for Life for Chicago bears witness to the fact that killing a child in the womb is never an acceptable solution to any problem. We call upon religious, civic and community leaders to renew every effort to build a nation and culture dedicated to protecting life at every stage and eliminating the violence of abortion.”
The pre-march rally at Federal Plaza, emceed by Relevant Radio talk show host Sheila Liaugminas, kept participants engaged before the walk through the downtown area. Following the March for Life Chicago banner, the bright yellow-clad Crusaders for Life youth organization led the massive sign-waving group, with a drum corps and singing, under a cloud of yellow balloons imprinted in large black letters spelling out L-I-F-E. Music was provided by the Carmel High School Marching Band from Mundelein, Illinois.
Bears’ co-owner Pat McCaskey warmed up the crowd with a poetic ode to his “March for Life friends.” The well-known sports figure has been a regular attender over the event’s history.
This is the 13th year for the regional event patterned after the national March for Life that has been taking place in Washington, DC, since 1974. The universal theme for this year’s marches was “Love Saves Lives.”
“It is love that brings us here today,” proclaimed Trevino, “It is love that reaches out to a woman in crisis that says I’m here for you, to help you.” She added that love is what is needed to counter the indifference that, “Makes it possible for Planned Parenthood to perform over 300,000 abortions a year and for politicians to fund Planned Parenthood to the tune of half a billion dollars of our money.”
The elected officials on hand were clearly in favor of defunding the abortion giant. The crowd heard encouragement from Illinois State Representative Jeanne Ives, who focused on the large numbers of young adults and teenagers participating, acknowledging youth as the future of the movement. US Congressman Peter Roskam spoke of the legacy of Statesman Henry Hyde, whose strong faith motivated the long standing federal protections against abortion provided by the Hyde Amendment. US Congressman Dan Lipinski pointed out that, “Being pro-life is being pro-woman,” something extremely relevant to current the movement to wipe out sexual harassment and assault. State Senator Dan McConchie was also in attendance.
Cardinal Blase Cupich also spoke to the youth in attendance. “I want to applaud in a special way the young people who have joined us today,” he began. “You give us confidence that the energy to protect the child in the womb has not grown weak over these 45 years, but is as youthful, strong and vibrant as you are. You are the new magi in our time, who teach us all to keep our heads up, and amid the darkness of the night at times, to take heart that God is still in the heavens, guiding us like that Bethlehem star and keeping our dreams alive.”
Cupich encouraged participants to remain “firm and unwavering,” because “taking human life deeply wounds all of humanity.” The Cardinal made it clear that he was not only speaking of the United States Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, but also of Illinois’ controversial HB 40, “the recent law signed by our governor robs us of our hopes and dreams.”
Chicago’s faith community was well represented with banners and signs demonstrating the presence of Catholics, Lutherans and Evangelicals.
“I believe the tide is turning,” declared Dr. Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center and Interim Teaching Pastor, Moody Church in Chicago. The Right Reverend Paul, Orthodox Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest, called upon the crowd to apply pro-life values across the spectrum of social ills. Bishop Donald Hying of Gary, Indiana, stated that, “Even an atheist can recognize the moral absolute of ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”
Kaila, a young mom served by Aid for Women, a Chicago area pregnancy help center, told of her own crisis pregnancy, one that she had believed threatened the well-being of herself and young son. “I received the support I needed.” She shared how Aid for Women provided them with a home and safety, helped educate her son and provide her with work training and scholarships for college. Kaila now raising her new daughter along with her son, is grateful to Aid for Women for many things, including, “Providing a stable environment for my family.”
Sarah Storto of Students for Life shared how a disregard for life among fellow students at Loyola University drove her into advocacy. She was appalled by derogatory attitudes and comments including one student’s statement that abortion is justified because, “A fetus is just a clump of cells and so is bacteria. You use hand sanitizer to kill bacteria, don’t you?” Storto proclaimed, “Women deserve better that abortion,” and provided a quote for inspiration from civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Storto then urged those present to use, “One conversation at a time to build together a culture where love truly does saves lives.”
Trevino, the abortion clinic manager-turned-pro-life advocate issued a battle cry, possibly targeting the small crowd of anti-life protesters across the street from the Federal Plaza rally. She explained, “I walked away from that Planned Parenthood seven years ago, knowing that their days are numbered, and that Roe v. Wade’s days are numbered. To Planned Parenthood, I say stop perpetuating the lie that we need abortion!”
About the March for Life Chicago
The March for Life Chicago is an annual public event composed of people from diverse ethnic, social, and religious backgrounds dedicated to defending and protecting all human life. The event marks with deep sadness the great tragedy of the legalization of abortion in the United States along with the devastating social, moral, and legal consequences that have followed. Marching together in hope, the March for Life Chicago calls upon government, religious, civic, and community leaders to renew every effort to build a nation that affirms the authentic dignity of women, the gift of children, and a culture dedicated to protecting life at every stage of development. Learn more at: MarchForLifeChicago.org.
Photo courtesy: March for Life Chicago
Publication date: January 15, 2018