As pro-lifers from across America gather for this year’s 35th Annual March for Life, we are proud to be part of a visible force in the public debate that has surrounded the abortion issue. Over the years, the movement has weathered many a storm and today is ready, relevant and resilient as we face the future.
When the infamous Roe v. Wade decision was first imposed upon the American people in 1973, abortion seemed irreversible. The abortion movement was riding on the wavecrest of the Sexual Revolution of the sixties that turned morality upside down. The media created the false impression that everyone supported abortion-on-demand. Abortion soon became an industry with tens of millions of dollars at stake.
At the same time, the pro-life position was virtually shut out from a voice in the public square. Abortion advocates seemed intent upon isolating pro-life Americans by writing them off as part of some outdated religious fringe that would gradually fade away.
A Refusal to Be Isolated
Such feminist hopes failed to materialize. Protests have only proliferated. Scores of abortion clinics have been shut down. The tens of thousands who trek every January 22 to the nation’s capital and so many other major cities and state capitals are testimony to a growing movement that shows no signs of fading.
Today the pro-life movement is relevant because of its stubborn refusal to be isolated.
Instead of retreating from the debate, we have responded by literally appearing in the public square in front of abortion facilities nationwide. Instead of being ashamed of our “unpopular” message, we have proclaimed it everywhere—on radio waves, web sites, billboards and truck panels. Rather than writing off the new generations, we have recruited young people who have swelled our ranks and guaranteed our future.
Our public witness has paid off. Abortion is a major issue that will not go away. It is far from “settled law” as cracks in the foundation of Roe v. Wade are beginning to appear that, for abortionists, are quite unsettling.
Indeed, it is the aging feminists that run the risk of fading away.
A Refusal to Let Abortionists Frame the Public Debate
With noble obstinacy, we have achieved these results because we have refused to let the abortionists frame the debate in the public square. Pro-life activists have consistently highlighted the broad scope of the killing of the unborn.
We do not hesitate to call abortion a moral issue and appeal to God’s law that forbids the taking of innocent human life. We affirm that any moral wrong undermines the common good and therefore harms all members of society.
On every front, the pro-life movement has consistently pointed out the many victims of abortion. First and foremost, there are the infants themselves that are brutally slaughtered in the womb that should be a protective sanctuary. Mothers who abort become victims of their self-inflicted trauma, suffering incalculable psychological and physical harm so often ignored by major media. Abortion destroys the family and harms all society by promoting a mentality that debases human life and exalts promiscuity.
Such a wide perspective has served to broaden the support for the pro-life cause. The result is that huge sectors of the American public now reject abortion while those in the middle have major reservations and doubts.
Trying to Shift Focus
In response to the pro-life offensive, the pro-abortion movement has long abandoned its earlier rhetoric emphasizing abortion’s broad “liberating” benefits and now tries to make abortion a strictly private matter.
Indeed, the more the pro-life movement has stressed the broad scope of abortion, the more abortion advocates narrow it down.
Pro-abortion marketers spin their message with talismanic words like “choice” and “privacy.” They seem to relegate the issue to that of a mere “women’s health” concern that has no place outside the doctor’s office. Mantra-like slogans declare “abortion is a personal decision between a woman and her doctor.” They oxymoronically classify the deliberate killing of an innocent human being as “reproductive rights.” They illogically proclaim the preeminence of individual “conscience” while subverting it in order to kill an unborn child.
And while this tactic may shift the focus from a social issue to a personal decision, it also tends to erode broad support for the nefarious practice since that choice always appears shrouded in personal tragedy. This negative perception has tended to isolate the abortion promoters from mainstream America.
A Refusal to Make Abortion Private
By marching in Washington, D.C. and other cities throughout the country, the pro-life movement signals its refusal to make abortion a private matter. We must keep it in the public spotlight.
In their failure to win the debate in the public square, abortion advocates are now resorting to tactics that silence opponents, avoid controversy and maintain secrecy. They are pushing for constitutionally-questionable ordinances making ever-widening “protective bubbles” that prevent pro-life protesters from exercising their First Amendment rights in front of clinics. They have built fortress-like abortion centers which isolate them further from local communities. Hiding behind the battlements of “privacy,” abortion providers have been accused of breaking the law by falsifying medical records and not reporting adults who abuse minors who subsequently seek abortions.
We assert our right to be heard and resist those who would force us from our duty to oppose abortion in the public square.
Making our Prayers Public
In our struggle against abortion, we have also made our prayers public. Prayers at protests and rallies have wrought miracles. They have given courage to pro-lifers against those who scorn them. These prayers have closed facility doors and converted those who once practiced abortion. They have changed the mind of those who wavered toward abortion and took the joyful option of bringing a child to term.
We are confident that all our pleas are not in vain. And if we continue in our public prayer and protests, we will witness yet more miracles. We must thus redouble our efforts and prayers, confident that God will grant us the final victory.