1 capture
23 Jan 2014
About this capture

???initialComments:true! pubdate:01/22/2014 18:23 EST! commentPeriod:14! commentEndDate:2/5/14 6:23 EST! currentDate:1/22/14 7:0 EST! allowComments:true! displayComments:true!
Floating aircraft raise privacy worries
COLUMN | These Games have a dangerous ring
VIDEO | How to fold the perfect dumpling
Quick: Name this masterpiece
Dana Milbank
Opinion Writer
Dana Milbank: Antiabortion movement faces a cold reality
By Dana Milbank​,
James Dobson’s Focus on the Family asked Christians to pray for rain to fall on Barack Obama in 2008 when he accepted the presidential nomination. Various religious conservatives have said that hurricanes, earthquakes and other meteorological phenomena were divine punishment of wayward humans.
So what are we to make of Wednesday’s March for Life on the Mall in Washington? The temperature was 12 degrees at the start of the annual antiabortion event, the wind chill below zero, and participants were trudging about in snow and ice from the previous day’s storm.
Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank writes a regular column on politics.
Will 2014 be the year of progressives?: Post columnists E.J. Dionne and Katrina vanden Heuvel explain why the left should look forward to this year.
Arizona Rep. Trent Franks proposes nationwide ban on abortions after 20 weeks.
You may also like...
Ruth Marcus
Too much faux-countability
Richard Cohen
Why I won’t inhale
Crowd estimates for last year’s event, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, went above half a million. The march routinely draws hundreds of thousands. But this time, about 25,000 were on the Mall. Piles of protest signs went unused. Faces turned red. And Dobson was so cold he could hardly talk.
“Greetings to all you frozen people,” the evangelical leader said. “Your faces are cold, but your hearts are on fire. What a wonderful thing to see this crowd on a snowy — coley — cold day like this.” Dobson paused. “I can’t make my mouth work,” he said.
Dobson did not see the hand of God in Wednesday’s brutal conditions. Yet if there are weather gods, they may have been making a pointed comment about a movement that has become frozen in time.
Year after year, antiabortion faithful assemble for the march, yet their goal is elusive. Gallup found last year that 26 percent thought abortion should be legal in any circumstance, 20 percent said it should be illegal in all cases, and 52 percent thought it should be legal in certain circumstances. In 1975, those numbers were 21, 22 and 54, respectively.
The antiabortion movement has made progress in states limiting access to abortion. More than 50 such laws were enacted last year alone. But just last week, the Supreme Court reaffirmed Roe in rejecting an Arizona law that blocked abortions after 20 weeks. At the same time, advances in emergency contraception and chemical abortion agents have offset gains made in restricting access to traditional abortions.
Republican lawmakers at Wednesday’s rally spoke of more incremental legislation to chip away at abortion rights. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) 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 Wednesday’s March for Life were partly protected from cold reality: Three heaters were trained on the speakers. The guy circling in the antiabortion 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.
“It’s quite chilly out here,” said Molly Anne Dutton, an Alabama student chosen to address the rally.
“It is freezing,” amended Ryan Dobson, from his father’s Focus on the Family.
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.”
The weather had already gotten to Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), a co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. He was listed as a speaker but, Monahan said, was “stuck on a tarmac in Illinois.”
Cantor blamed the “unbelievably cold temperatures” on the same culprit he blames for many of life’s ills. He praised “advocates who don’t mind enduring the worst weather Washington can throw at you, for the opportunity to change one heart.”
So the weather was whipped up by Washington? For the antiabortion marchers, this theory beat the alternative: that it was the wrath of an angry God.
Twitter: @Milbank
Read more from Dana Milbank’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook​.
Read more:
Rickie Solinger: Five myths about abortion
Helen Alvare and Meg McDonnell: Why the pro-life movement won’t stop fighting
Maggie Gallagher: Paying the price for a GOP ‘truce’ on abortion
Michael Gerson: Abortion’s gray areas
Discussion Policy
Add your comment
Read what others are saying

SuperFan Badge
SuperFan badge holders consistently post smart, timely comments about Washington area sports and teams.
More about badges | Request a badge
Culture Connoisseur Badge
Culture Connoisseurs consistently offer thought-provoking, timely comments on the arts, lifestyle and entertainment.
More about badges | Request a badge
Fact Checker Badge
Fact Checkers contribute questions, information and facts to The Fact Checker​.
More about badges | Request a badge
Washingtologist Badge
Washingtologists consistently post thought-provoking, timely comments on events, communities, and trends in the Washington area.
More about badges | Request a badge
Post Writer Badge
This commenter is a Washington Post editor, reporter or producer.
Post Forum Badge
Post Forum members consistently offer thought-provoking, timely comments on politics, national and international affairs.
More about badges | Request a badge
Weather Watcher Badge
Weather Watchers consistently offer thought-provoking, timely comments on climates and forecasts.
More about badges | Request a badge
World Watcher Badge
World Watchers consistently offer thought-provoking, timely comments on international affairs.
More about badges | Request a badge
Post Contributor Badge
This commenter is a Washington Post contributor. Post contributors aren’t staff, but may write articles or columns. In some cases, contributors are sources or experts quoted in a story.
More about badges | Request a badge
Post Recommended
Washington Post reporters or editors recommend this comment or reader post.
You must be logged in to report a comment.
Sign in here
You must be logged in to recommend a comment.
Sign in here
Comments our editors find particularly useful or relevant are displayed in Top Comments​, as are comments by users with these badges: . Replies to those posts appear here, as well as posts by staff writers.
All comments are posted in the All Comments tab.
More about badges
Get a badge
To pause and restart automatic updates, click "Live" or "Paused". If paused, you'll be notified of the number of additional comments that have come in.

Comments our editors find particularly useful or relevant are displayed in Top Comments, as are comments by users with these badges: . Replies to those posts appear here, as well as posts by staff writers.
Dana Milbank: Antiabortion movement faces a cold reality
Dana Milbank 
Judicial activism isn’t a bad thing
George F. Will 
An emerging market problem
David Ignatius 
The Post Most: Opinions
Connect with PostOpinions
Facebook: Become a fan of Washington Post Opinions
Facebook: Become a fan of Washington Post Opinions
Twitter: Follow us on Twitter
RSS: Subscribe to our RSS feeds
Alerts: Sign up for news alerts
Mobile: Washington Post on the go
App Store: View our iPhone applications
Voice Your Opinions
Contact the reader representative
Have questions about Post content or practices?
Send a letter to the editor
Write a response to a piece in The Post.
Submit an op-ed
Make an argument about a topic in the news.
Who do you think is the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Review your answers and share
Sign in to have your score recorded »
Join a Discussion
11:00 AMMichael Roberson on interior design | Home Front
12:00 PMParenting advice: Help for raising children of all ages
12:00 PMColor of Money Live
1:00 PMGot Plans: Advice from the Going Out Guide
2:00 PMWeb Hostess Live: The latest from the Web
Weekly schedule, past shows
More ways to get us
Contact Us
About Us