Republican lawmakers at the rally spoke of more incremental legislation to chip away at abortion rights. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia told the crowd he would rush to the House floor next week a "No Taxpayer Funds for Abortion Act" -- even though the bill hasn't been fully vetted by committees.
But long before they make abortion illegal, Republicans will make themselves irrelevant, by choosing abortion bills over jobs bills and by validating Democratic claims of a GOP "war on women." (Not one woman among the House Judiciary Committee Republicans made abortion legislation the year's first order of business.)
Those on the stage at the March for Life were partly protected from cold reality: Three heaters were trained on the speakers. The guy circling in the anti-abortion truck, with its photos of bloody fetuses and its "Prepare to Meet thy God" message, was also protected. The shivering masses, under banners announcing their origins ("Mercer County Right to Life," "St. Jude Regional Catholic School") were not so lucky.
Looking out over what he generously called "this enormous crowd," March for Life Chairman Patrick Kelly thanked those who "braved frigid temperatures." For this, they got to hear him recite his organization's many achievements ("We have a new logo and new offices!") and praise their dedication: "We may be freezing, but we are freezing for the best cause in the world."
Matt Maher, a Christian musician who opened the proceedings, had sacrificed his tonality for the cause. "We're all really cold and my guitar is really out of tune," he told the audience.
Organizers were concerned about the diminished crowd's well-being. Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life, announced the availability of two "warming tents" for cold-related emergencies. Kelly repeated the offer of first aid, "if the cold is starting to get to you."