A crowd gathers Friday on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the 2020 March for Life. (EWTN screen capture)
We can’t just wait for others to do good. Overcoming evil with good is not meant to be a vicarious activity.
Every year, when they see the news coverage of the March for Life, some people will ask why we bother marching. It’s not a dumb question—when it comes to protecting unborn life at the national level, politics has largely failed.
Even under the current Republican presidency and senate, Planned Parenthood—supplier of baby hearts, lungs, and kidneys to the highest bidder—has never received more government funding. Over 600 million dollars in “Government Health Services Grants and Reimbursements” found their way into Planned Parenthood’s coffers last year.
I wish I could say I was shocked.
The Republican Party, which prides itself on being a “big tent” party, was willing to shut down the federal government last year, believing that a multibillion-dollar wall was vital to protect citizens within American borders. No similar action, however, was taken—or even suggested—to protect citizens within American wombs.
Though there are notable and heroic individual exceptions, it is nevertheless true that if the Republican Party were charged with the crime of being pro-life, there wouldn’t be enough evidence to convict. Only compared to today’s Democratic Party can the Republican Party even be called “pro-life.” Every four years, the major Democratic presidential candidates jockey for position to see who is willing to fund the most abortions and strike down the most restrictions on the slaughter. Of course, removing those restrictions frequently results in the deaths of women, these stories are rarely reported.
The impeachment hearings recently saw the Republicans and Democrats try to out-quote the founding fathers and the Constitution to each other, yet they proved functionally illiterate in this regard. Most American legislators, executives, and jurists believe that the same nation whose founding document recognizes the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and whose Constitution promises “due process,” should afford neither that right nor that promise to the unborn citizens of America.
Many legislators fear that any protection of the unborn might weaken Roe v. Wade. They got their wish: Roe gets stronger all the time, and the respect for human life gets weaker. Sixty million of the smallest Americans have been “terminated,” their silent screams echoing from sea to shining sea. We could hope this has no repercussions, but it’s a false hope. Whether it’s the barrage of violent crime from Oakland to Baltimore, the growing of problem of human trafficking, or the ubiquitous pornography that rots souls and destroys families, we’re seeing the outright denial of man’s God-given dignity. Much of this is a response to Roe v. Wade, which argued that man is just an object with no innate value.
Today in America, we hear about how great the economy is, and we pat ourselves on the back for our wealth. In truth, however, we’ve never been poorer. As Mother Teresa said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” And when 60 million children die, it is well beyond poverty—it is full-blown moral bankruptcy.
To be sure, we need to keep looking for political victories, but we also need to realize that politics is not the only battlefront. We need to not only march and pray in hopes that others do the right thing; we need to do the right thing. Bishop Sheen famously assured us that it would be the laity—not the bishops—who would save the Church. We can’t always wait for others to do good. Overcoming evil with good was not meant to be a vicarious activity.
We need to recognize that being pro-life doesn’t just mean how you vote. It means strengthening our own marriages and encouraging others in theirs, by assisting unwed mothers financially, by promoting the payment of living wages so that parents can support their children, by practicing kindness and empathy and friendship, and by illustrating your joy in the lives of others. Life is a series of prayers, works, joys, sufferings, and love. And know this: It is better because you are here. We need to communicate that to everyone we meet.
That is pro-life.
Back to the initial question: Is politics the only reason we march? I can’t answer for anyone else, but I can answer for myself. I’m marching for my wife and my five daughters, as my testimony that women deserve respect, truth, and compassion. I’m marching for my four sons as a way of illustrating that real men stand up for women. I’m marching for our three babies who were miscarried, as my way of telling them “I love you”—and that for the brief moments your tiny bodies and souls graced this cold world, you made it better. I’m praying while I march to thank God for the gift of life.