U.S. anti-abortion marchers brave freezing cold in Washington

Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:50pm EST
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By Lacey Johnson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of U.S. anti-abortion activists braved frigid temperatures to rally at the annual March for Life on Wednesday, and a top Republican lawmaker vowed that the House of Representatives would vote soon to end taxpayer-funded abortions.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told the rally, one of the key yearly events for the anti-abortion movement, that the Republican-controlled chamber would approve the measure halting taxpayer funding for the procedure next week.

"We cannot allow the opponents of life to continually weaken the moral fabric of our country," Cantor, a Virginia lawmaker, said at the rally on the National Mall.

But Cantor acknowledged that the House Republican measure might ultimately be a symbolic one, saying that passage in the Democrat controlled Senate and acceptance by President Barack Obama "will be a much tougher task."

Opponents of the procedure failed in their attempts to attach new anti-abortion provisions to the $1.1 trillion spending bill Congress approved last week.

The thousands of marchers huddled on the Mall defied temperatures around 14 Fahrenheit (minus-10 Celsius) made more stinging by a stiff wind.

Activists carried signs saying "I was conceived from rape. I love my life" and "Stop abortion now." Groups of Catholic high school students chanted: "We love babies, yes we do! We love babies, how about you?"

From Vatican City, Pope Francis used Twitter to back the rally. "I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable," he said.   Continued...

Anti-abortion demonstrators sing as they parade past the U.S. Capitol during the annual March for Life in Washington, January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst