For the pro-life movement, this is the time of year when we are most energized to do something to advance the protection of the unborn. The issue of abortion receives more attention as the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade (January 22) comes upon us, and as marches and rallies in response to it occur nationwide. In particular, the largest of those marches occurs in Washington, D.C., and the second largest occurs in San Francisco.
I just returned to my office from having been at both of those events to lead some of the activities. In fact, I’ve missed only a handful of the D.C. marches since they began in 1974 and only a handful of the West Coast marches since they began 15 years ago. And four things strike me about the crowds that attend them.
First, we represent America. You can find everyone. Children and babies in strollers (and in the womb!) are there along with teens, young adults, and the elderly. You can find every ethnic and religious background, and even atheists and agnostics. You can find liberals as well as conservatives, Democrats as well as Republicans. (This is not to say, of course, that the percentages are equivalent.)
Second, as participants in these marches, we are independent. What I mean is we they are not there because any particular person called us together (not even the organizers of the marches!). Rather, we think for ourselves, see the tragedy of abortion for what it is, and have come to the conclusion that we have to speak up for the children who cannot speak for themselves. The measure of our independence can be seen, for example, in the fact that many of us are disappointed in our local religious or political leaders, from whom we expect more leadership on this issue and who, in better circumstances, might be the ones calling us to take part in these marches. But no — we are there because we have decided to come, and we know exactly why.
Third, we speak our mind. We know what freedom means, and we use it. Take, for instance, the Covington boys, who were unfairly targeted in the coverage of the incident that occurred after the March for Life in Washington. They were not only exercising their freedom to voice their support for the unborn, but were also exercising their freedom to voice their support for the pro-life agenda of President Trump. The “Make America Great Again” hats that some of them wore have become a powerful symbol, and they knew that. You can be sure that there were no religious leaders telling them to wear those hats. To see students embracing the freedom to express political views, and more fundamentally, support for the principles that make America great, is both refreshing and invigorating for us all.
And finally, those of us who show up for these pro-life events will not be deterred. Over the years, we have marched in all kinds of weather, and in all kinds of political climates. Nothing has deterred this movement. And there’s a rather simple reason for that. While there are many causes for which to march and projects worthy of our support, only a few of them reach to the very core of who we are, as individuals and as a nation. Not every issue identifies us as a people; not every cause is absolute.
But this one does identify us, and is absolute. It’s about the most fundamental principle of justice, and the foundation of civilization: is a human life worth protecting? Is it ever OK to kill the innocent? Because we marchers know that every other cause for justice and peace depends on this one, we march with a tremendous sense of confidence and determination, and an unshakeable certainty that we are right. You can be sure that you’ll see us, in ever-growing numbers, for many marches to come.
Fr. Frank Pavone is one of the most prominent pro-life leaders in the world. He became a Catholic priest in 1988 under Cardinal John O’Connor in New York. In 1993 he became National Director of Priests for Life. He is also the President of the National Pro-life Religious Council, and the National Pastoral Director of the Silent No More Campaign and of Rachel’s Vineyard, the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion. He travels to about four states every week, preaching and teaching against abortion. He broadcasts regularly on television, radio, and internet. He was asked by Mother Teresa to speak in India on abortion, and was asked by then-candidate Donald Trump to serve on his Pro-life and Catholic advisory councils. He has served at the Vatican as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which coordinates the pro-life activities of the Catholic Church. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.