Abortion Rights Advocates Flood D.C.
"Pro-life. Pro-life," the opponents of abortion shouted.
Answered those marching: "Pro-life is a lie! You don't care if women die!"
Occasionally the debates broke out either along or across the barricade.
"Have you ever adopted a baby? No? How many babies have you adopted?" asked Jackie O'Neil, 72, of the District, shaking her finger as she passed a pro life group.
"I want to know where these babies are going," she said in an interview. "So many babies aren't adopted. They're left to be . . . whatever."
Mick Greineder of Lancaster, Pa., sat on a ledge across from the Ronald Reagan Building and repeatedly yelled at the abortion rights marchers, "Choice kills. Choice kills." Although his voice was hoarse Greineder said he would continue to scream until he couldn't scream any longer.
"I think some of them can hear me," the 55-year-old engineer said. "If I scream at 700,000 and I get one or two people to change their mind, it's worth losing my voice."
U.S. Park Police arrested 16 protesters from the Christian Defense Coalition for demonstrating without a permit near the intersection of 14th Street and Madison Drive at about 3 p.m.
Sgt. Scott Fear said that the group had permission to demonstrate along Pennsylvania Avenue but moved into an area designated for the March for Women's Lives.
"We gave them three warnings," he said. "They decided that 16 of them were going to stay, so [those] 16 were arrested and charged."
The arrests took place peacefully without any incident, he said.
The count of those marching was different from organizers to police who have seen many protests and demonstrations.
The organizers' estimate of more than a million marchers was reached after they said they had passed out more than a million stickers. Alice Cohan, the march director, said 2,500 volunteers were trained and were given stickers that they pasted on people as they got off buses or entered the march area, stickers that read: "Count Me In." More than a million stickers were used, she said. The organizers will have a more accurate count, she said, when they determine exactly how many stickers they passed out.
Police, on the other hand, would not make a formal estimate. Veteran officers who had been on hand for marches and demonstrations in years past said it was the biggest such gathering since the Million Man March in 1995, a gathering whose size was hotly disputed and that led the U.S. Park Police to discontinue making crowd estimates. At the time, Park Police estimated that crowd at 400,00, and organizers immediately challenged the number. A team of researchers then recounted the crowd from photographs and set the number at 870,000, with a margin of error that covered a crowd from 655,000 to 1.1 million. Some officers said they figured today's crowd easily surpassed 500,000.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
Erna Toback, center, of Los Angeles, participates in the abortion rights rally on the Mall.
(Gerald Herbert - AP)
_____From The Post_____
Abortion Opponents Post Gains Since '95 (The Washington Post, Apr 25, 2004)
Activists Oppose Catholic Church's Antiabortion Stance (The Washington Post, Apr 25, 2004)
A Family's March to Redemption (The Washington Post, Apr 24, 2004)
For Abortion Rights, a Changing of the Guard (The Washington Post, Apr 24, 2004)
Women's Marchers, City Gear Up for Mega-Rally (The Washington Post, Apr 22, 2004)
Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., of the Beverly LaHaye Institute associated with Concerned Women for America was online to discuss the anti-abortion movement.
Gloria Feldt of Planned Parenthood was online to discuss the March for Women's Lives.