I recalled that when we first participated in 2008 they were elated at having possibly a thousand people. I was shocked at the time and also ashamed to not have marched before.
You will understand then why it brought tears to my eyes to find that there were 8,000-10,000 people trying to find room to hear the speakers in that lot. All cultures, all ages, all races, and all passionate about giving life a chance.
I recently had a discussion with a friend who said that one of the reasons she supported abortion rights was because she didn't feel women were given enough support after having the babies, especially poor women. I know that kindness, however misplaced, is at the root of the issue much of the time. I also know that another common reservation is because of the terrible circumstances to which unwanted children may be born.
For that reason I really appreciated abortion survivor Angela Martinez Balderaz's story. Definitely unwanted and subjected to horrific conditions as a baby, she is now a vibrant, articulate young woman. She is grateful for her life and to God, no matter the early conditions in which she lived. This was a vivid testimony that none of us knows God's ways and it was through the many helping hands He sent that Angela Balderaz is the person we saw on Saturday.
The best photos I found for the event are at The Dallas Morning News, where I was gratified to see a great slideshow and an accurate accounting of numbers.
The Morning News was so much better than local NBC news coverage. Although the story itself was fine, their website headline showed just a touch of bias: "Hundreds Hold Anti-Abortion Rights Rally In Dallas"
As I said, the story itself was fine and that was what most would see. It was definitely better than the other news stations where we couldn't find any coverage.
What I learned this year, above all, was that the key is to personally invite people to march with us. If they have time to plan for it, many simply must be invited to feel that they will make a difference. My mistake was that by the time I began personally contacting people, they were locked into other activities.
So my strategy next year will be to issue those invitations early enough. It's on my calendar for January 2014, where I hope the numbers will be 10,000+.
UPDATE - Where are the men?
I forgot to mention another very powerful speaker, Chris Wheel, Fatherhood Ministry, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. Fatherhood Ministry. I love that, I really do. Especially when you consider that Chris Wheel's talk, which energized the crowd like no other, was punctuated continually by his cry of, "Where are the men?"
There are a lot of answers to that question, of course. But what occurred forcibly to me is that the question needs to be asked all the time, of every community, of ever culture where abortion is commonplace. Which is to say, everywhere.
SECOND UPDATE - Women in Crisis
A very powerful story about why the "women in crisis need abortion" argument is wrong. You need to go read for yourselves. Here's a bit:
When I got that positive pregnancy test, the one that changed my life, I was addicted to crystal meth.
And do you know what the people around me did? They didn’t take the secular line and say, “this baby’s life would be horrible. You’re unfit to be a mother. Better for it to not be born at all.”
But neither did they take the typical pro-life line in that situation and say, “you are clearly unfit to be a mother, but all you have to do is carry the baby to term and give a stable couple a wonderful gift.”