The bitterly cold temperatures did not deter tens of thousands of abortion opponents on Wednesday from descending on Capitol Hill in Washington for the 41st annual March for Life.
The marchers — mostly high school and college students — had bused in from across the country, and they braved the snow and ice while attending a mass Tuesday night at Washington's National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Washington Post reports.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Boston's powerful archbishop and an adviser to Pope Francis, addressed the crowd at the mass.
While some of the youth groups went to confession, others held a vigil in the Crypt Chapel of the expansive basilica. Many more attended similar masses at churches throughout the region.
But the freezing weather did result in cancellation of the Nellie Gray 5K race, which is named after the march founder who died last year. Some youth groups could not make the rally because their flights or bus trips were canceled.
Jonathan Hayes, 18, of McVeytown, Pa., had planned to go to Washington with his group of 60, but the buses were stopped from leaving. "While the weather's impact may postpone or delay the march, it shall never diminish our cause," Hayes said. "Nothing — not even the elements — shall delay the pro-life generation from coming."
The marchers were to congregate at midday Wednesday at the National Mall for a concert and a rally. Later, in an annual tradition, the March for Lifers were to walk to the Supreme Court for a prayer vigil, and likely to face a small group of pro-choice supporters.
"We march because 56 million Americans never had a chance to experience snow," said the March for Life's Twitter account, referring to the estimated number of abortions since the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal, USA Today reports.
Speakers at this year's event, which is focused on adoption, include Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois.
"We want to encourage women facing the option of abortion to choose adoption," said march president Jeanne Monahan. "Adoption is at the center of motherhood. Motherhood is all about sacrifices. This is an ultimate sacrifice for the good of the baby."
The Post noted that Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus had altered the schedule of the party's annual meeting Wednesday morning to allow him and other RNC members to attend the march.
"I saw that there was a real interest among a significant portion of our members to attend and support the Rally for Life," Priebus said. "This is a core principle of our party. It was natural for me to support our members and our principles."
© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.