Demonstrators pray at the March for Life rally. (Brendan Hoffman, Getty Images)
Hundreds of thousands are expected at the annual event. Organizers put their emphasis on attracting church groups and rallying youth with social media
Thousands of young adults thronged the National Mall on Friday to protest abortion and cheer speakers who called for overturning the 40-year-old landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
Protesters-- drawn by social media and church youth groups -- flocked to the annual March for Life.
Pope Benedict sent them his encouragement by way his personal Twitter account, @pontifex: "I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life," he posted early Friday morning.
Anina Lund, 14, Monica Dewey, 15, and Monica's brother Jackson, 12, came from West Chester, N.Y., with a group from St. Anne's Church -- 118 people all clad in neon orange hats and green scarves to keep sight of each other in the giant crowd. Both girls spoke of how their families faced abortion decisions.
Monica, one of 10 children recalled, "My younger brother was very sick in the womb and the doctors told my mom to abort the baby but she chose not to. He is here today and he is perfectly healthy."
Jackson chimed in, "It's pretty cool that my mom didn't give up. It's cool that I am alive."
Anina had a similar story: "I had a little sister who was going to be aborted because she was premature. But now she is 7 and she is perfect. This march gave my mom so much support."
Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life Education & Defense Fund, and organizer of the event was thrilled that sub-freezing weather and a thin layer of snow did not deter the marchers.
Lauren Benzing, 18, of Solon, Iowa, who came with 350 others on 13 buses from the Catholic Diocese of Dubuque, was too young to vote last November but, she vows, "As soon as I can (vote) I will support pro life. But with the march I feel like I can still make a difference."
Kathleen Cranford, 61, of Slidell, Louisiana came to the march today with her husband Clay who is holding a green "Defend life" sign.
"I've wanted to attend all my life and now I am here - it's a dream come true," Cranford says. "I think all Americans should be here defending life." As disturbed as Americans are by the killings in Newtown, she said, abortion has killed millons more. " Where is the outrage? Where is the insistence on change?" she asked.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: USA Today