About one million babies are killed through abortion every year in the United States – an estimated 60 million since the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. It is hard to imagine what our world would be like, how different our lives would be if these children were given a chance to live.
You might be surprised to learn that not all victims of abortion are killed, some do miraculously survive. One of these survivors, Claire Culwell, is bringing her testimony to major television networks, audiences across the country, politicians on Capitol Hill, and the March for Life Facebook page.
Watch our full Facebook Live interview with Claire:
We asked our marchers why they loved their mothers. Their replies will move you to tears!
“I love my mom for so many reasons. She taught me how important the gift of life is and what it means to be a true feminist. When I was 5 years old my mother became pregnant with my little brother. She was told by the doctors that my brother would be born with down syndrome and that she should just abort him because he would not live a normal life. She refused, and changed doctors immediately. When she came home that night she sat me and my brother down and told us that God had given us a special baby brother who would fill our lives with so much joy. She said it was our job to protect him because people wouldn’t understand him. When he was born, our mom took such good care of him. She learned how to sign, she set routines, danced and sang with him, went to doctors’ appointments, and loved him like no other. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for our family, and especially for him. I would often hear her say, “Love transcends all obstacles” when she was asked how she did it all. She became sick with Lupus when I turned 15 and sadly passed away a year later. To me, she was the example of the superwoman, and even though she is gone, I love her so much for teaching me how to be a true woman. I know she would be so proud of who my little brother has become and how smart and sweet he is. I am now a mom, and I always hope I’m at least half the woman she was.” – Silvia Gray, Richmond, VA
“Acts 17:26-28 teaches us that God created one human race; and places us in families. We are not color blind, we are not different races. So, it doesn’t matter what color you are, or how old you are, or where you are born. Everyone has a mother; sometimes the relationships are good, sometimes not. I’ve always thought that my mother is the most beautiful woman in the world. When I was little, I wanted to be just like her. However, God saw fit for me to be born looking like my Daddy; a gift I’ve learned to appreciate. In 1950, even though my parents were engaged, they weren’t married. Yet they decided to “do things that grown folks do,” so I showed up on their first date they had without a chaperone. Mama was a freshman at Spelman College, and she wanted to wait to get married. Back then, pregnant women didn’t go to college, married or not. So, Mama got a flyer at school about new “birth control” methods and a procedure called a D&C which were alternatives to unwanted and unplanned pregnancies from the Birth Control League which was changing its name to Planned Parenthood. Mama’s mother got wind of Mama’s plans and insisted that they get counseling from their pastor, Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. Granddaddy said: “Neenie, that’s not a lump of flesh. That’s my granddaughter. I saw her in a dream three years ago. She has bright skin and bright red hair and she is going to bless many people. There will be no abortion. We’re going to have this baby.” Daddy and Mama got married, and I was born January 22, 1951; the first of their five children. The story of my rescue from abortion was a secret for many years. As a result, I misinterpreted family whispers and family secrets, and sometimes felt rejected and became insecure and rebellious at times. Along the way, I slipped off the golden path and had two abortions, a miscarriage, and three divorces. God is gracious. I repented and am the mother of six living children, and eleven grandchildren so far. About ten years ago Mother told me the whole story. We cried and repented and rejoiced together. Today, she calls me her “Angel Daughter,” and I call her the Butterfly Queen because of her love for butterflies. Her favorite memory about butterflies is our trip to Callaway Gardens where a magnificent Monarch Butterfly landed on her outstretched finger. Mama also has granddaughters and great-granddaughters. We spend many fun hours together; cooking, entertaining, shopping, worshipping and praying and just loving each other. I have learned the value of healthy family relationships; how to pray for them and receive them during my years here at BBCC. I thank God that our family relationships are whole and healthy. Amen.” – Evangelist Alveda C. King www.alvedakingministries.com www.adkingfoundation.com www.civilrightsfortheunborn.org
“My mom is my rock and my motivation. She is a leader and caretaker at heart. Through the last years my life has been filled with stress and troubles, but she is the foundation of support. She strives every day to put her kids first and herself last. She loves each of us and shows it every day. I love my mom because she’s my best friend and guardian angel, I couldn’t do life without her!” – Lillian Brodeur, Estero, FL
“I love my Mom first and foremost because she chose to give me life. I was one of seven children, #6, with five before me, and one more after me. Back in 1952, I can say with almost certainty, I was NOT a planned pregnancy. I am sure when my Mom and Dad learned I was expected, they were a bit concerned about having one more mouth to feed, on a tight budget. Fast forward almost three years later, my youngest sister is nearly fifteen months old, I am just over three years old, and the older siblings are stair steps apart when my father is killed in a train/truck accident on his way to work.
I could never imagine how my mother felt that day, when she received the news of my father’s death. A stay at home Mom, seven children, and this tragedy to deal with. Any woman in this situation would probably have gone into a deep depression and neglected her children. My Mom, the strong, capable, faith-filled woman she was, drew us near to her and found various ways to get help and go to work, to raise us in her faith, love, and strength. Although she re-married, she kept the memory of my father alive in her stories and pictures, she would share with us.
The year I was to be married, I came down with infectious hepatitis. My Mom had me move back home so she could care for me around the clock, even though she was going through a painful, difficult divorce. She nurtured me back to health and had my wedding and reception in her home, since my doctor advised against the church wedding we had planned, due to the contagiousness.
My Mom raised my brother, myself and my five sisters with determination, with knowing that life will throw many things at us. She taught us we will not always have an easy life, but with our trust in God, knowing He is all loving and caring, we will survive whatever comes our way. I was tested in this faith she taught me to know in 1990, when my mother died of heart failure. I remember the strength she showed us when she lost her mother, I knew the pain she had to go through not having her mother, now that she no longer was here with me. I still hear her voice, I see her smile, I hear her laughter, and most of all, I feel her love and presence with me every day. As I have raised my three children to adulthood, and have been blessed with six grandchildren, I know that my Mom’s love, strength and faith have made me the mother/grandmother I am today. I thank my Mom for not only giving me life, but for giving me my faith that sustains me through life. I love her with all my heart and know she is watching over me from heaven. Thank you, Momma, for loving me, and teaching me what I needed to know, to go on without you. Happy Mother’s Day in Heaven!” – Marie Reinhart, Toledo, Ohio
“My mom got pregnant at 18. She was unwed and working at a local retail store for minimum wage when she found out she was expecting. She chose life despite the odds stacked against her. She attended college shortly after giving birth to me. She worked a few jobs to put me in a Montessori preschool while also attending college herself (we even studied abroad together in Spain). She graduated from college as a single mom with a 5-year-old. She never stopped being the best mom to me. She was at every school function, in the PTA and overall very active in my life. She is a role model to me for the mother I’d like to be to my children. I’m so grateful for the decision she made to be my mother.” – Rachelle Eilers, Madison, Wisconsin
“Mom Maria Altamirano is 104 1/2 years old. She and my dad Enrique who past away 6 1/2 years ago at the age of 99 raised 4 children and took care of practically all her grandchildren and still lives in the home we all were raised. It’s now our turn to take care of her. That we have for the past seven years in the same loving way that she took care of us. Happy Mother’s Day! We all love you so much. God bless you!” – Henry Altamirano
“My mom is the literal super mom. She has had eleven children, no twins, and natural births with no painkillers. She homeschooled all of her children from 1st grade through 12th grade (there are three still in high school), and sent eight of them off to accredited four-year universities. One is a lawyer, one is in federal law enforcement, one is an engineer, one is an accountant, two are nurses, and there are two still in college (one spent a year at WestPoint before transferring). She is the most patient person I know and is the woman I picture when I read Proverbs 31. She has carried our family through illness, including my dad’s cancer and my brother’s MS. She is an artist, a homemaker, an educator, a counselor, and so much more. She is truly the best human being I know.” – Elise Hegarty, Arvada, Colorado
From all of us at the March for Life, Happy Mother’s Day!
Just a few months ago, the Governor of New York had the Empire State Building lit up with pink lights to celebrate the passage of the extreme abortion law, the Reproductive Health Act. The law permits abortion up until birth with health requirements so broad and vague that abortion is available for virtually everyone. In most states when a pregnant woman is killed the accused is charged in a double homicide, for her life and the life of her child – under the RHA these murderers will no longer face charges for taking the unborn child’s life.
On Saturday, there was a much different celebration taking place. Thousands of people from across the country gathered in one of the busiest crossroads in America – New York City’s Times Square – to celebrate the sights and sounds of life.
The March for Life was honored to partner with Focus on the Family for the New York City celebration appropriately titled “Alive from New York” – an event featuring powerful pro-life stories and music, and most importantly, alive 4D ultrasound imaging of the 8-month unborn child of Abby Johnson. It was a bold event that was met with opposition at every turn, from digital billboard companies refusing to lease space to show the ultrasound images, to disruptive Planned Parenthood activists before and during the program; but the truth prevailed.
Alive from New York was a powerful reminder that our culture desperately needs truth. As I wandered the crowd, I overheard conversations sparked by the event. One young man said to an Alive from New York attendee that he was pro-choice but that he thought infanticide was clearly wrong and taking things too far. The ensuing dialogue allowed the pro-life person to gently question him about the difference between a newborn baby and a baby 8 months in the womb. I didn’t hear the end of the conversation, but I hope because of this encounter the young man has reconsidered his views.
The ultimate revelation of truth came at the end of the program when 4D ultrasound imaging showed the incredible images of a baby 8 months along in the womb. From my vantage point, the entire crowd went silent as we were all mesmerized by the life we were seeing. Then the heartbeat was played and we all erupted with cheers.
How can this reaction be described? I think it boils down to this – when you truly allow your eyes to be opened to the truth, the beauty of life evokes awe, wonder, and celebration.
There’s so much more that can be said about this incredible event – be sure to follow March for Life social media to read more about all the speeches and great moments.
Alive for Life concluded with a powerful song performed by Phil King and Francesca Battestelli. This line struck me: “They are not forgotten. We celebrate your heartbeat.”
A baby’s heartbeat is a beautiful sound of life; we cannot forget that a staggering 60 million of them have been lost to our country because of abortion since 1973. We must remember those lives as motivation to make abortion unthinkable in our future. I want to work towards and live in a world where every single heartbeat is loved and celebrated.
To honor their silenced heartbeats, we must be bold and faithful in defending and promoting life. That is why we march in freezing temperatures every January at the March for Life. I invite you to march with us again this year on January 24, 2020.
“Those who serve our nation’s sick in the health care industry, or who are training to do so, should not be forced to violate their conscience in the process. The new Health and Human Services rule will ensure that the rights of medical professionals, guaranteed by the United States Constitution as well as Federal law, will be respected. No one should be forced to participate in life-ending procedures like abortion or similar activities that go against their religious beliefs or moral convictions.”
So much happens in the span of 9 months; it’s easy to forget how many little lives will be taken before they take their first breath during that time. To paraphrase 2019 March for Life speaker, Ben Shapiro, the babies killed by abortion will never be forgotten as long as we keep them in our minds and hearts.
Keep the unborn in your thoughts and prayer by taking the 9 Month Challenge.
The campaign to end partial-birth abortion began in 1992. That year Dr. Martin Haskell presented a paper to the National Abortion Federation on a form of late-term abortion called intact dilation and extraction or D&X. D&X is a gruesome form of abortion that involves removing the baby from the uterus feet first until only his/her head remains inside of the mother. Then his/her skull is punctured and using a catheter, his/her brain is sucked out, then the rest of the baby is removed.
The National Right to Life Committee obtained Dr. Haskell’s paper and began to publicize it in 1993. Shock and disgust over the procedure galvanized Americans to put a stop to the barbaric practice. From this moment until 2007, pro-life activists fought tirelessly to make the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act into law.
Two years later in 1995, Representative Charles Canady (R-FL) introduces a bill in the House of Representatives called the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act to prohibit D&X, partial birth abortion, from being committed. After a long and difficult battle, the Act was signed into law by President Bush in 2003 and finally went into effect after the Supreme Court upheld the law in 2007.
Twelve years later, on April 18, 2019, we spoke with the National Right to Life Committee Director of State Legislation, Ingrid Duran, about what it took to stop partial-birth abortion in the United States.
On this day in 2007, the Supreme Court officially upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Ingrid Duran, Director of State Legislation for National Right to Life Committee, explains what partial-birth abortion is and the long road to stopping this gruesome practice.Warning: this interview will include a medical description of partial birth abortion.
Pro-life Americans across the entire country were outraged by Tran’s and Northam’s extremism. A huge majority of Americans reject birthday abortions. A recent Gallup Poll found that 87% of Americans do not support abortion in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. But we know that even one abortion is one too many.
Sadly, it’s no surprise that Tran and Northam are partnering with Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby to advance an extreme pro-abortion agenda. Planned Parenthood committed $3 million to elect Northam and also gave funds to Tran’s political campaign, along with pro-abortion Emily’s List and NARAL. But that extreme agenda doesn’t reflect the views of most Virginians and our elected representatives shouldn’t be beholden to special interest groups, especially ones that fail to respect the inherent human dignity of every human person.
Pro-life Virginians knew something needed to be done.
Marchers heard from National pro-life speakers, like abortion survivor Melissa Ohden and Radiance Foundation founder Ryan Bomberger, from the Virginia pro-life organization Virginia Catholic Conference, the Family Foundation, and the Virginia Society for Human Life, and from State Senator Bill Stanley and Delegate Brenda Pogge.
During the Rally, pro-life State Delegates, led by Kirk Cox, the Speaker of the House, and pro-life State Senators surprised the marchers by visiting the Rally to give their heartfelt support for life.
The first ever Virginia March for Life was an incredible success! We gathered 6,500 – 7,000 Virginians to march for life…
When the Rally concluded, Virginian students carried the March for Life banner down the streets surrounding the capitol building followed by their fellow pro-life marchers. Chants were cheered and songs were sung all proclaiming the pro-life message that every human life must be protected from the first moment of fertilization. After marchers returned to the capitol grounds, many were equipped to advocate for pro-life policy with their state legislatures at a training season with local leaders call ‘Richmond 101’.
As pro-life Virginians head into the rest of 2019, it’s a sure bet that they will be more actively engaged than ever in the pro-life mission to end abortion and build a culture of life in their state and community.
A pregnant 19-year-old is lying on a cold operating table when a very pregnant nurse walks into the room to commit the abortion.
A Planned Parenthood employee of eight years with a track record of directing one of the most efficient abortion clinics in the country wins employee of the year.
From the pro-life perspective, these scenarios seem like lost causes – what are the odds that either woman escapes the abortion industry?
But just when hope seemed spent, the quietest voices spoke the loudest.
One Saturday, Planned Parenthood’s rising star, Abby Johnson, watched a 13-week old baby fight and struggle for his life in the womb during an abortion procedure, and she was shaken to her core. She quit her job and the abortion industry a few weeks later, never to return.
After Abby left the abortion industry, she became passionately active in the pro-life movement, founding a ministry called And Then There Were None. ATWN seeks to love abortion clinic workers out of the industry and into a place of healing. They have already helped over 500 workers leave the grips of the abortion industry.
Abby’s story has continued to inspire the world. So much so that when the film producer, Chuck Konzelman, read Abby’s autobiography he knew that it needed to come alive on screen.
When looking for an actress to carry the responsibility of playing Abby in the upcoming movie, “Unplanned”, the directors chose Ashley Bratcher. After a quick phone call, Ashely accepted and headed down to Oklahoma for filming 5 hours later.
Ashley was already a few days into shooting when her mother called. Ashley hesitated to share the news of her latest role because she knew her mom had an abortion when she was young. Ashley proceeded to carefully tell her mom about the role, explaining that the movie is not demeaning but about mercy, when her mom bursts into sobs.
“I need to tell you something I never told you before,” her mom cried into the phone. “When I was 19, I went to have an abortion with you…I was in the clinic, on the table, and the nurse was very pregnant…I got really sick to my stomach and I knew I couldn’t do it. And I got up, and I walked out, and I chose you.”
Ashley was completely stunned. She had no idea how close she came to being an abortion victim.
When there was no hope left, Ashley, the littlest, most vulnerable person in the room, spoke loud enough for her mother to hear. At the last moment, her mother’s heart was moved with love for her unborn daughter, and she chose life. Similarly, when witnessing an abortion, Abby’s heart heard the unborn baby’s silent scream, and she was overcome with compassion for him. Both of these unborn baby’s tiny voices were the loudest in the room.
The 13-week old unborn baby who opened Abby’s eyes to the truth of abortion isn’t on screen for more than a few moments. But in those moments you too will hear his voice; you will hear in your heart in the same question Abby heard: “Am I not a human being?”
The March for Life team is grateful to have seen a pre-showing of the film, and we can attest that it has the power to change hearts and minds. We hope you will bring many friends and family with you to see this inspiring film!
“March for Life is grateful to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his announcement today that the Department will more fully implement the Protecting Life in Global Health Policy. Taxpayer dollars should not fund abortion here or abroad, and respecting the inherent dignity of the unborn person goes hand in glove with our country’s foreign assistance and humanitarian work. The Secretary’s courageous leadership on the implementation of this policy will assure its proper oversight and help advance the protection and empowerment of human persons at all stages in our international global health assistance initiatives.” Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life
“Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 18th chromosome. The majority of people with the syndrome die during the fetal stage; infants who survive experience serious defects and live for extremely short periods of time. This is associated with a broad spectrum of abnormalities which consist of greater than 130 discrete defects involving the brain, heart, craniofacial structures, kidneys, and stomach. Edwards Syndrome has no treatment and is usually fatal before birth or within the first year of life.”
I read these words as I waited in the maternal-fetal office. At just 23 years old, and 20 weeks pregnant, I had been referred to get a more in-depth ultrasound when my sonographer couldn’t see all of my daughter’s heart and noticed choroid plexus cysts on the brain. As I sat there, I googled “choroid plexus cysts.” Google always knows, right? These often were not indicators of anything, but at times were a soft marker for Trisomy 18. For some reason, this resonated with my heart. A genetic condition that I knew absolutely nothing about 10 minutes prior. The next several hours felt like a nightmare. I went back into the imaging room as the new sonographer scanned over my belly. She did this for two hours. She didn’t say a word. Finally, the doctor came in and asked if we had any idea what was going on. I said no.
He proceeded to say, “Basically, everything is wrong with this child. There are cysts on the brain, the fetus is missing half of its heart. There is a hypoplastic left ventricle. Clenched fists. The fetus is about 4 weeks behind on growth already and has severe intrauterine growth restriction. I see a cleft palate.” He paused for what felt like an eternity and then said, “Oh, and there are two clubbed feet. And it’s a girl.”
The doctor said I needed an amniocentesis to confirm, and that if it was indeed Trisomy 18, as he believed, I couldn’t continue my pregnancy. “She is incompatible with life. She won’t survive. I don’t think you understand how serious this is.”
We went forward with the amino, after a false preliminary result came back claiming Evelyn had Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21), we received a phone call a week later saying the lab director had made a mistake. Evelyn had Trisomy 18, not Trisomy 21. The doctor proceeded to say, “I spoke with your OBGYN already, and he told me that you will be terminating. He has that scheduled for you.” I couldn’t believe what I heard. Not only had I made it clear that was not an option, the doctor’s name spoken was one I had never heard before. I had no idea he was even a part of this practice. I instantly told the doctor I wouldn’t be doing that. Again, he said, “I don’t think you understand this. She is incompatible with life. This is fatal. She will not survive.”
I was immediately dropped from the practice after calling through screams and sobs to ask where in the world that information came from and that I would continue my pregnancy. I went 5 weeks without a provider. Tragically, it was a thousand times easier to schedule an abortion for my child than it was to find proper care for myself and my pregnancy.
Finally, I found a practice. And my Evelyn Grace continued to live. I knew inside my womb was the safest place for Evelyn to be. I lived my pregnancy knowing simply that I was not the one that created my daughter’s heartbeat and I didn’t have the authority to decide when it ended. Although Evelyn existed inside of my womb during this time, her story and her life were uniquely her own. I was simply given the beautiful gift of stewarding that. And so Evelyn stayed put. And she grew. She made it to 39 weeks when I was induced, giving my team the order that Evelyn would receive full intervention after birth, just like any other critical newborn would.
Evelyn spent several weeks in Intensive Care before we went home. I spent this time and the time during my pregnancy learning and equipping myself to be the best mom and advocate for Evelyn. I learned that a Trisomy condition, having three copies of any specific chromosome, is not a death sentence. Yes, there can be many health concerns that may come as a result of the third chromosome, but when these concerns are treated, these children will thrive.
I saw the strength and resilience of mothers ahead of me and their children in the Trisomy 21, 18, and 13 community. Through life in and out of the hospital, adapting to the medical equipment, and learning all about Evelyn’s care, my family and I have experienced more joy and love than we knew possible. I wish I could go back to myself that day in the office and say, “You have no idea what joy is ahead. Yes, this will be hard. And there will be valleys of despair and moments where this all seems too much. But you will see strength and love in yourself and in Evelyn that you didn’t know existed. The view you are about to have will take your breath away. Just keep going.”
The only tragedy here would be never meeting Evelyn. All of our days are limited. Not just a child with a chronic illness. None of us are promised tomorrow. I remind myself daily that on my best day or worst day caring for Evelyn, I never have the power to add or subtract a day from her life.
Only the author of life does. That frees me up to just be Evelyn’s mom. I don’t worry about her days ahead. I pray for wisdom for myself and her medical providers and leave the rest to God. I look forward to each day ahead with joy. Evelyn has truly changed our hearts from the inside out. Evelyn is now 2 ½ years old. She is a big sister to Esme, and a blessing to all she comes across. She daily changes the mind and hearts of those in the medical field we come across, and she is paving the way for others just like her. I will always choose life. I will always stand in the gap for those who are marginalized. Each life, no matter how long or short is precious and sacred. Every life has a purpose.
— Hannah Sudlow is first and foremost a Christ Follower, wife to Craig, and mom to Evelyn and Esme. She is also the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Evelyn’s Treehouse, inspired by her daughter, Evelyn. Their mission is to come alongside new families in the hospital who have received a life-changing medical diagnosis for their child by offering support and resources. Their goal is to help empower and equip parents to confidently live out their new role of caring for their medically complex child. Hannah is an advocate for the special needs community and those who are marginalized in their health care. Ultimately, Hannah shares Evelyn’s story to encourage others to see the value and sanctity in each and every life and help normalize special needs.