Thursday, January 22, 2009

Marching for life

It's been a very long time since I've boarded a bus and headed to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life. Time was, back when I was in high school, that was a regular -- and always powerful -- event for me. Despite motion sickness from the long drive and often freezing temperatures with snow or rain thrown in for good measure, that quiet and prayerful walk along the streets of our nation's capital with thousands and thousands of other like-minded people left a deep and lasting impression. I guess back then I never imagined that all these years later the march would still be needed. In fact, needed more than ever.

What is sure to come -- promised by an ardently pro-abortion administration -- in the months and years ahead does not bode well for the millions of unborn children who will never get the right to life that is guaranteed them not only by God but by our constitution. Nor does it bode well for the millions of women who will be told that abortion is the only option or the best option, leaving them with a gaping hole in their souls that is too often never healed or even acknowledged.

Back when I was in college, when I would take every opportunity given to stand up in a class -- speech, philosophy, English, religion -- and talk about the evils of abortion, I would often fall back on something that Americans understand -- burden of proof. And I would tell my classmates and my obviously pro-choice professors that if they could not prove that a child in the womb was not a person, then they had to give the baby the benefit of the doubt or risk becoming complicit in murder. Today, as science continues to give us deeper and clearer glimpses into life within the womb, it has become undeniable that the little person sucking her thumb or grabbing his toes or kicking her mother's belly is very much alive. And so the debate has shifted, with abortion advocates now trying to make this not about whether it's a life (because they know they can't win that one) but about whose life is worth more. In the end, we all know you can never take one life to benefit another. But for reasons beyond comprehension, abortion has been given a pass in that department. Where people will rise to defend the killing of abused or near extinct animals, murderers sitting on death row, even trees in our rapidly vanishing rain forest, they remain oddly silent on babies at risk in their mothers' wombs.

The people who are marching in Washington today -- the 36th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade -- recognize the horror of abortion, and they refuse to sit back and do nothing. They go out into the cold year after year, willing to walk quietly past the angry stares and even angrier rhetoric of the opposition. They pray, they carry their signs in silence, they take comfort in the knowledge that they are defending the defenseless even when the media ignores them or tries to paint them as extremists for standing up for the vulnerable little lives that deserve the same chance that every one of us was given. And so today we honor those marchers for being willing to put a cause before comfort, for speaking out through their presence, for representing all of us who cannot be with them on the streets but are very much with them in spirit.

3 comments:

Dennis said...

Almost 50 million abortions since 1973. And President Obama is promising policies to make it even easier to obtain, right up until the 40th week. God forgive us.

Lani Candelora said...

Nice column Mary. I too miss the March. I haven't been able to go since I had kids. I'm trying to fast today in solidarity with the march. You are certainly correct, we need it now more than ever. In prayer for a culture of life, Lani

Michele B. said...

Check out Catholicvote.com for a pro-life commercial that began airing on secular stations the day of the inauguration. I hope to make it to the march some day. Thank you so much for your post.