On Sunday evening, an event in Washington preemptively made mincemeat of the usual press claims that "thousands" would participate in the next day's March for Life.
The next day at the Washington Post, Michelle Boorstein and Ben Pershing followed form ("Thousands of abortion opponents rally in march on Mall"), but did make an interesting, seemingly reluctant observation: "Some attending the events Monday said that more young people appeared to be participating than in previous years."
The Associated Press's coverage of the march added a new twist. Its afternoon report on the rally made no attempt at a crowd size estimate. The New York Times, as far as I can tell, did no story of its own.
The Sunday evening event noted earlier was a pro-life vigil Mass, where the crowd size was relatively verifiable. The homilist, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, took the opportunity to point a finger at the establishment press, and to take note of the youthful energy driving the pro-life movement:
Around 10,000 Catholics, many of them young people from schools around the nation, met to pray for an end to abortion at a pro-life vigil Mass in D.C. on the eve of the annual March for Life.
The Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life was held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Jan. 23. On Jan. 24, crowds thronged to the D.C. area to participate in the annual March for Life, which occurs near the date that Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the U.S. in 1973.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, was the principal celebrant and homilist at the vigil Mass. During his remarks to the thousands in attendance on Sunday night – including numerous bishops, priests, seminarians and religious – he underscored the significance in the amount of young people participating in the annual March for Life.
“I want to thank all the young people here, the seminarians, postulants and novices, the children, youth in high schools, the university students and young adults,” he said. “You have been, have become and remain the genuine leaders and pioneers of this March for Life and this Vigil Liturgy.”
“We your elders become exhausted just watching you!” he said. “May you never cease to give your beautiful witness to the gift of human life.”
Cardinal DiNardo also reflected on the “astonishment” of the “jaded media” at the young people who have gathered from throughout the U.S. to serve as “unflagging witnesses to the inestimable worth of each human person.”
I'm sure there are elements of the proabort movement who thought that Roe v. Wade would ultimately end the debate, and the opposition, if not soon, would wither, at least within a generation or two. 38 years later, it's more than safe to say: No such luck, folks.
Clearly, if 10,000 marchers attended the Catholic Mass, there were far more total marchers in the event on Monday. Those who have participated in the larger road-running events will likely agree that the crowd pictured here yesterday was easily in the "tens of thousands."
It should also not go unnoticed that 40,000 - 50,000 marched for life in San Francisco on Sunday. I'm noticing it here, because the AP, as usual, described the attendance as "thousands." Additionally, by using "thousands" as its estimate, it gave the from all appearances incorrect impression that the crowd was smaller than last year's 35,000, which it cited. Clever in a way, but foolish in another, given that the pics showing "tens of thousands" are out there.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.