Pro-Life Progressives Make Their Voices Heard at March for Life 2024

Members of the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising were in Washington Jan. 19.

Pro-life progressives rally for the unborn at the March for Life 2024 in front of the Supreme Court.
Pro-life progressives rally for the unborn at the March for Life 2024 in front of the Supreme Court. (photo: Tyler Arnold)

Although the pro-life movement is most commonly associated with conservative politics, one group of left-wing pro-life activists is working to change that perception.

Members of the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) and other pro-life progressives gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, Jan. 19, to call for an end to abortion with their fellow pro-lifers at the annual March for Life.

Their chants included “Black lives matter, even in the womb,” “abortion is oppression,” and “pro-choice is a lie; babies never choose to die.” Some of the signs tied pro-life messages to common progressive causes, such as immigration rights and gay rights.

Melanie Salazar, who is a PAAU organizer and content creator for the Spanish-language PAAU Ahora, told CNA that the organization is an “untraditional pro-life group,” which includes secular people, Catholics, Orthodox Christians and others. She added that the pro-life movement can include people of various political ideologies.

“We can hold different beliefs on different things,” Salazar, who said she is a feminist and a Catholic, told CNA. “We don’t have to put people into boxes.”

Salazar, who referred to abortionists as “oppressors” and unborn children subject to abortion as “the oppressed,” said that “the preborn are living human beings” and that “killing any human is wrong and [an] injustice.”

Some of the group’s pro-life activism includes “rescues,” which Salazar characterized as putting “your bodies in between the baby and the butcher.” A rescue, according to PAAU’s website, is a direct action that causes a “disruption of the cycle of violence” in an effort to prevent abortion. It also “defies existing law,” which can have “legal consequences” but is always “nonviolent.”

Lauren Handy, the director of activism and mutual aid for PAAU, was convicted of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in 2023 and could face up to 11 years in prison. The Department of Justice claims she engaged in a conspiracy to create a blockade at an abortion business in Washington, D.C.

Salazar said that rescues recognize that the “killing center should not be in operation.”

Recognizing that the pro-life movement tends to lean conservative, Salazar said PAAU is a “space for ourselves” in the movement and expressed a message for others who may not fit the mold of the common perception of a pro-life activist: “You belong in this pro-life movement, and we need you in this pro-life movement.”

Edward Reginald Frampton, “The Voyage of St. Brendan,” 1908, Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Wisconsin.

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