The giant and predominantly young crowd for the 2013 March for Life braved the cold and snow to protest Roe vs. Wade on its 40th anniversary.

Pope Benedict XVI was there in spirit.

“I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote the culture of life,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, reading a tweet just sent from the Pope. “Benedict XVI is with us.”

Schools, colleges, churches and individuals showed up to voice their support for the pro-life cause. Speakers at the rally before the march pointed out the young demographic.

“We are the generation that has been affected most by abortion,” said a young student leader from Northwest Vista College. “How many of us are missing brothers, sisters cousins, friends, because of abortion?”

He challenged the youth to make a change to see visible results in their lifetime.

“We’re not the future of the pro-life movement, we are the pro-life movement,” he said.

Other presentations at the rally included a speech from former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, a telecast from John Boehner, Speaker of the House, and an address from the new head of the March for Life, Jeanne Monahan. The founder and previous leader of the March for Life, Nellie Gray, passed away last August.

“I challenge each of you,” Monahan said, “in a very specific way, young people, before you leave this weekend, to think and to take some time reflecting in your heart about how God wants to use each of you to bring a speedy end to the human rights abuse of abortion.” 

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Makena Clawson is a sophomore at Benedictine College in Atchinson, Kansas, majoring in Spanish and journalism. She is from Denver, Colorado.