WASHINGTON - Participants in Monday's March for Life in Washington, D.C., wanted to send a message that abortion shouldn't be viewed as an option or a freedom, but instead as something that makes women victims.
Every year, thousands rally in the nation's capital to protest the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion and to urge protection for the unborn.
Christian author and broadcaster Teresa Tomeo told attendees that abortion is often forced on expectant mothers.
"Over 64 percent of women who have abortions never actually chose an abortion in the first place," she said.
Tomeo is author of the book Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture, and believes pressure plays a clear role in the abortion rate. She has researched abortion's effects on women.
"They were pressured to do that, either in an economic situation that they thought they couldn't get out of, either by a parent, a boyfriend, a husband. They've been told it's either you or the baby," she explained.
"I think it's bondage because of the problems that follow it in terms of the increased rates of depression, increased chance of drug addiction, alcohol addiction, depression," Tomeo added. "All these things, there's research to back all this up."
Catholic University sophomore Mary Spence sold pro-life shirts to marchers heading to protest abortion and its effects.
"I think it's really dehumanizing to women because it really objectifies them," Spence told CBN News. "And the sad thing is it pits mothers against their children."
Magaly Llaguno, who directs Human Life International's pro-life outreach to the Spanish-speaking world, said many women find they can erase their unborn, but not the memory of them.
"And you know the cells of the aborted baby remain in the body of the woman for some time. They remain in her heart forever," Llaguno said.
She added that she's counseled and cried with women who mourn for years what they did to their unborn babies.
"[They say], 'I know God has forgiven me, but I can't forgive myself,'" Llaguno recalled.
Sunday marked 39 years since the Roe v. Wade decision. Each year, tens of thousands of people still come to the March for Life, hoping to prick the conscience of a nation.
Along the march route, the group Created Equal showed a graphic video of what abortion does to the unborn.
Aubrie Drayer works with the group and just had her own child.
"She's three months old and when I look at her, to think that I could have chosen to have her killed, and when I look at the images we have, it's really shocking and horrible," Drayer said.
Christian pop singer Robert Pierre, who also attended, has written a song called "Silent Cry" to rally the church to fight for the unborn. The song's lyrics say, "Life is a gift, not a choice that you make."
He compared the anti-abortion fight to the Holocaust.
"One of my assumptions about the Holocaust was that back in World War II, had the Germans really known what was going on they would have stood up and said something," Pierre told CBN News. "But yet when you stand there, it's so blatantly obvious that they just remained quiet."
Pierre said he's praying women, as well as men, will stop remaining silent like the Germans did.
Pro-lifers want the nation to realize that with the physical maladies, psychological harm, shame, guilt, and broken relationships women can experience because of abortion, they are in fact victims.