March for Life Pushes the 'Adoption Option'

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WASHINGTON -- Jan. 22 marks the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Although Washington temperatures were near zero, multitudes of pro-lifers still showed up Wednesday for the annual March for Life that protests the infamous ruling.

Marchers filled the streets in the bitter cold, knowing huge battles loom on every side of the abortion issue.

For instance, abortion opponents encourage pregnant women to go to pro-life pregnancy centers rather than abortion clinics. In response, the clinics and their allies have been trying to regulate such centers out of business.

Peggy Hartshorn is president of Heartbeat International, which represents some 1,800 pro-life centers.

"Abortion clinics are closing in the United States at the highest rate ever," she told CBN News. 'We had about 1,700 abortion clinics. We're down to just over 500 now. But pregnancy centers are multiplying. We have more than 2,000."

The theme of this year's March focuses on fighting for the adoption option.

Five years ago an unwed and pregnant Whitney Wall was planning to abort her unborn child. But after receiving help and support from a pregnancy center, Wall decided to form an adoption plan rather than abort.

She now encourages other women to do the same, not only for their own piece of mind and to save the baby, but because so many childless couples are anxious to adopt.

"I just remember when I had decided to make the adoption plan for my son, the boxes and boxes and boxes of profiles that I got of couples that were waiting for a family," Wall said. "It's just amazing to think of all the people that are relying on these women to make the right decision."

One battle inside the pro-life movement is whether to use gruesome images of aborted babies to ram the reality of the practice into the public's consciousness.

That's what Mark Harrington, executive director of Created Equal, was doing during this year's March: displaying such gruesome images on a JumboTron along the marchers' route.

"America's complicit in abortion. You have to see it to understand it," Harrington said in defense of showing the bloody photos. "A picture's worth a thousand words and nobody can explain it with words alone."

"That's the problem: it's all a bunch of rhetoric. Once you see the victims, you understand the injustice," he said.

Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler marched in Chicago with many other abortion opponents on Sunday, Jan. 19. He said one battleground is just getting people to realize a human life is a net positive for the world.

"Many people believe that when a new child comes into the world, it's a big cost -- a cost for the parents; a cost for society. But we're finding that's simply not the case," Scheidler said. "In fact, a new study's just come out showing every child born on average contributes $217,000 to the national economy."

Scheidler pointed out polls show a growing number of Americans are turning pro-life. Now he's imploring those people to take action.

"The only way we're going to be victorious in the end is if every single person who recognizes the unborn child as valuable is willing to step outside their comfort zone and share that message with others," Scheidler said.

In the 41 years since Roe v. Wade led to legalized abortion, some 56 million babies have been aborted in America.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.