WASHINGTON – Several hundred people from metro Buffalo joined tens of thousands from across the country in gathering here today to once again march to the Supreme Court to protest legalized abortion.
The annual March for Life, occurring on the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade court decision legalizing abortion, was set to take place beneath sunny skies on a comfortable winter afternoon.
But long before the march and an accompanying rally, nearly 300 people arrived via a bus caravan organized by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, and about a third of them attended a breakfast and Mass sponsored by the Diocese at the Washington Plaza Hotel.
“I come not only just to be supportive of the cause and all the people, especially young people, but because I find it very encouraging and enlivening for my own commitment to the cause of human life,” said Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Buffalo Diocese, who flew down for the event, which he has been attending for years. “It fuels me up.”
Other attendees at the event agreed.
“I want to be able to make a difference,” said Pearl Guerin, a University at Buffalo sophomore who joined students from UB, Canisius College and Niagara University on one of the buses that made the trip. “It’s the best place to be today.” The Bishop and the college students went on to a youth rally at the Verizon Center this morning while others attended the pre-rally breakfast.
There they heard Victoria M. Thorn, founder and executive director of the National Office for Post Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, deliver an impassioned address about the trauma she has seen among women who’ve had abortions and the men in their lives.
Many in the audience reflected on the convictions that brought them, once again, to Washington.
“I’m here for the babies,” said Mary Puszert, 61, of Cheektowaga. “A life is a life.”
Of course, amid the backdrop of the march, there were to be counter-protests among abortion rights supporters.
Those pro-choice activists had a modest reason to celebrate, as the Republican-led House on Wednesday abandoned an attempt to pass a bill restricting abortion rights after female GOP lawmakers protested. The bill would have, in effect, banned abortion after 20 weeks of any pregnancy.
“The bill that was supposed to come to the floor today, a bill that would have stripped women of their right to constitutionally protected medical care, was so odious and destructive that some women of the Republican conference rebelled against it,” said Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport.