For “Black Lives Matter” to be true, it must “start in the womb,” an African American pro-life activist speaking at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., said Friday as she recalled her abortion when she was in high school.
Toni McFadden, an author and founder of the organization Relationships Matter, spoke to the thousands gathered at the National Mall about her decision to have an abortion when she was a teenager.
“There was a time in my life that I believed my life was more valuable than my unborn baby,” she said. “My senior year of high school, I selfishly ended the life of my child.”
“I believed the lie that if I aborted my child, my boyfriend would stay with me, my parents would never find out about my secret, and my life would go along as planned,” she added. “And the abortion facility led me to believe the same.”
Instead, she was given pills that caused her to experience severe hemorrhaging while at school, and her boyfriend left her soon after the abortion.
“I believe all lives matter,” McFadden stated, receiving loud cheers from the crowd during the rally before the march that is typically held each year during the same week as the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion a national right.
“Those who advocate for black lives to matter and demand equal rights for black men and women, that needs to start in the womb.”
McFadden, who founded Relationships Matter to educate the children “on the degradation of sex in our culture” and equip them to live out “healthy relationships,” contends that the “very act of abortion is wiping us out.”
“As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘it is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people, and not in favor for justice for all people,’” she said. “And that includes preborn babies.”
McFadden said she is thankful “that we have a God who redeems” and said that the boyfriend returned nine years later to apologize. The two are now married with children.
“We are on the right side of history in this battle,” she added. “I needed all of you then, and these babies still need you now.”
The 2022 March for Life included speakers like actor Kirk Cameron, Duck Dynasty star Lisa Robertson, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kristen Waggoner and Down syndrome advocate Katie Shaw.
Father Mike Schmitz, the host of the popular “Bible in a Year” podcast, was the keynote speaker for this year’s March for Life “Rose Dinner.” He also spoke at the rally.
Schmitz spoke about his pro-life roots and stressed the importance of every life, including those who had previously chosen abortion.
“Every person matters. Every life matters,” said Schmitz. “I know that we’re surrounded by men and women who have chosen abortion. Listen, you need to know [that] you’re supposed to be here. You matter.”
“You belong here. No matter what your past is, you are still loved,” he said. “You need to know this: you are still loved and you still matter.”
Billy Graham’s granddaughter Cissie Graham Lynch conducted a closing prayer and contemporary Christian star Matthew West performed music.
“Lord, we know that You are the author and Creator of all life, that You’ve created us in Your image,” Graham Lynch prayed. “We know as a nation that we have sinned. We humble ourselves before you asking for forgiveness. We know that You are a God who loves. You are a God who forgives, and You see us right where we are.”
The theme for this year’s March for Life was “Equality Begins in the Womb,” which was unveiled last October at an event at the Heritage Foundation headquarters in Washington.
“While nearly everyone seems to agree that the topic of equality is important, there’s little agreement on what the definition of [what] equality is, and who it applies to and how that should be applied to important policy questions,” March for Life Education and Defense Fund President Jeanne Mancini said at the October event.
“We want to expand this debate, this rigorous debate, about equality to include unborn children who are often overlooked because they cannot speak for themselves.”
The March comes at a time when many Supreme Court watchers believe that the high court will finally overturn Roe v. Wade as it considers whether to strike down or uphold a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks into a pregnancy.
Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the March for Life held a virtual event, with a small number of pro-life leaders gathering in D.C. and performing the march in person.