WASHINGTON — Cristen Lloyd’s eyes were watery yesterday afternoon as she walked down Constitution Avenue NW near the U.S. Capitol among a sea of other anti-abortion marchers.
“It’s fantastic but it brought me to tears just to see the amount of support for something that is so important — life,” she said.
Lloyd traveled on one of 34 buses that were booked yesterday from Roman Catholic parishes and schools throughout Long Island to the 44th annual March for Life, said Sean Dolan, spokesman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
The march and pre-march rally — which featured Vice President Mike Pence — mark the anniversary of the Jan. 22, 1973, Supreme Court decision that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.
Thea Fry, 50, of Hampton Bays, said Pence’s appearance — the first vice president to take part in the march, the White House said — “gives the entire cause more legitimacy.”
Ellen Dupree, 68, of Hampton Bays, said she marched because “I’d like for people in this country to realize that once a child is conceived, they are alive. Many women think it’s their choice and that’s their opinion. But the baby should also have a choice. We’re the voice of the unborn.”
Dupree, Fry and 38 others boarded a bus in the pre-dawn darkness at Catholic churches in Hampton Bays and Westhampton Beach to travel to the march.
Some participants were especially enthused because President Donald Trump has vowed to appoint an anti-abortion Supreme Court justice.
“It’s a cause for celebration,” said Barbara Renner, 66, Suffolk vice chairwoman of Long Island Coalition for Life, who was traveling on a bus that departed from Blue Point.
But, the Bayport resident said, she is warning other anti-abortion activists that “if Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will then go to the states, and we’ll have to fight there.”
The annual march came six days after women’s marches — several of them attracting hundreds of thousands of people — in Washington, Manhattan, Port Jefferson Station and towns and cities nationwide. Many participants at those marches carried signs saying the termination of a pregnancy is a fundamental right. Anti-abortion groups were reportedly excluded from participating in those marches.
That’s what finally compelled Dr. Maureen Crowley, 54, to attend her first March for Life. The Westhampton internal medicine physician said she respected people on both sides of the issue, but she is offended that anti-abortion women like herself seemed not to be welcome at the women’s marches.
“When I heard that, I’m like, ‘Who are you to tell me I’m not a feminist because I don’t believe in abortion?’ ” she said.
The bus trip from Westhampton Beach took 8 1⁄2 hours because one bus broke down and riders had to transfer to a second, leading to a delay that meant slogging through New York City rush-hour traffic.
Passengers prayed the rosary, read the Bible, slept and chatted as the bus traveled toward the nation’s capital, arriving long after the two-mile march began and causing the Long Islanders to join in midstream.
But Nancy Giglio, 66, of Hampton Bays, said she was exhilarated to be surrounded by thousands of people who shared her anti-abortion beliefs, even if was for only half the march route.
“I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” she said.