Thousands of people including senior politicians have taken part in a March for Life, to mark the legalisation of abortion in America.
Facing temperatures of -12C the march in Washington DC last week saw banners declaring: “Babies are precious”, “I am the pro-life generation” and “#teamlife”.
The annual gathering is to mark the 1973 court case Roe v Wade which opened the way for abortion in the USA.
Eric Cantor, who leads the Republicans in the House of Representatives, told crowds: “The truth is, there is an inalienable right to life, and this right extends to the unborn”.
“This is not a political truth, subject to the whims of man. It is a moral truth and was written” by “our Creator”, he said.
This year’s theme was adoption as an alternative to abortion. It featured James Dobson – the founder of pro-family group Focus on the Family – and his adopted son.
Crowds filled the area near to the Washington Monument for a number of hours for the march – which is described by organisers as “the largest pro-life event in the world”.
Patrick Kelly, chairman of March of Life, said: “We may be freezing, but we are freezing for the best cause in the world”.
Jeanne Monahan, the new president of the group said there were too few adoptions in America. “Abortion is anti-woman,” she declared. “Not only does it snuff out the life of a little one but it hurts mom.”
The crowd booed when speakers referred to President Obama’s healthcare reforms. In the small print of the reforms, employers are forced to pay for insurance which covers abortion drugs, like the morning-after pill and the week-after pill.
In a statement marking the 41st anniversary of the abortion decision, the White House said, “we recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health”.
It added, “we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children”.
Matt Woodley, 54, was at his first march and commented: “I am astounded by the number of young people here”.
Kathryn Brown, 20, was among students from a Roman Catholic college who made a two-day bus trip to the march.
She said: “The amazing thing is, they aren’t there because they’re mad at the government; they’re there out of love, sacrificing themselves in the cold out of love”.
In the years after the famous 1970s case, the plaintiff referred to as Roe, Norma McCorvey, came to oppose abortion.