There was something different about the March for Life 2001 in Washington D.C. this January 22. It was not the fact that the 27th such march held on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade attracted an especially large crowd of well over 120,000 marchers from all over the country.
Nor was it that joining the marchers was a larger-than-usual contingent of members and supporters of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). The TFP’s participation with its large red standards and brass band has long been a hallmark of the annual march.
Perhaps the difference was more one of mood. The anti-abortion movement has long suffered the terrible winter of the pro-abortion Clinton Administration. One could sense a sigh of relief in expectation of a thaw.
There was not, however, a note of unrestrained euphoria. Years in the anti-abortion struggle have made many a veteran wary of campaign promises. The politics of compromise has left Roe v. Wade intact.
This year’s TFP public declaration expressed both caution and hope in face of the change of mood in Washington. The statement “Great Expectations – Hope for the New Millennium” welcomed the change but spelled out what America expects from the nation’s political leaders and Catholic bishops.
During the opening speeches at the Washington Monument, anti-abortion leaders warned the crowd not to be satisfied with incremental victories. The TFP document echoed this theme, calling on leaders to go beyond rhetoric and give America the elements to “break the horrific abortion cycle that perpetuates this crime.”
The TFP highlighted the crisis in the family and the loss of Faith as key parts of the abortion struggle. It further noted that not just the family but all society must be involved in the veritable crusade to rebuild a wholesome society that extends to fashions, media, education, and even excessive taxation.
Scores of TFP members and supporters mingled among the crowd, passing out tens of thousands of flyers with the statement. The American TFP’s brass band with fifes and bagpipes added a note of spirit and resolution to the March.
The American TFP statement also called upon the nation’s leaders to foster good and oppose evil. It called for energetic opposition to abortion, euthanasia, homosexual civil “unions,” and characterless education.
“Above all, be yourselves models of uprightness and virtue,” the document continued. “We have had our fill of shame and scandal; bring back dignity and honor.”
The presence of over twenty American bishops, including one recently named cardinal, underscored the importance of the Catholic note in the anti-abortion movement.
A large TFP banner addressed the bishops: “Lead us in a true spiritual crusade against moral chaos, abortion, the culture of death, blasphemy, as well as the homosexual agenda and sexual perversion in the schools.”
The March for Life 2001, inspired by hope despite the terrible odds, moved up Constitution Avenue this January with greater expectations for America than have been possible for many years.
However, this expectation is not one based on naïve hopes of shifting political promises. Rather it is based on strong confidence in God and the Blessed Mother that They will bless the arduous efforts that lie ahead and prepare the way for victory.
To read the complete text of the American TFP document distributed during March for Life 2001, click here.