With great determination the youthful multitude – hundreds of thousands strong – marched up Constitution Avenue in the heart of Washington, D.C. today, January 22.
This annual March for Life marked the forty-first anniversary of Roe v Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that paved the way for 56 million surgical abortions in America. Since its legal inception, the sin of abortion has inflicted nothing but massive wounds on the family and society: missing generations of children, lost motherhood, dishonored fatherhood, shattered homes, depression, never-ending regret and moral decay, not to mention those "houses of horror" run by the ungodly likes of Kermit Gosnell.
Planned Parenthood is Worried
But the Culture of Death is losing ground. According to a study by Operation Rescue, a record number of 87 abortion clinics have closed down in 2013. Another telling survey published by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute has tracked over 200 legislative losses for the abortion industry over the last three years. In fact, more abortion restrictions were passed by state legislatures in 2011-2013 than in the previous ten years combined.
That is why Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, speaking of recent legislation restricting abortions in Texas, voiced her concern to The New York Times on January 3: “Any one of the restrictions passed in the last several years would be bad, but taken together, we are witnessing a catastrophe for Texas women,” she said.
Those who make a living by denying unborn children the right to survive beyond their mother's womb are on the defensive. Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, recently confessed: "...we play a lot of defense. After all, the fundamental right to choose is enshrined in the Constitution, and our opponents are constantly developing innovative new strategies to chip away at that right. But a permanent defensive posture is a losing strategy. You win some battles, you lose others, but you’re only ever ceding ground."
While pro-lifers literally covered Capitol Hill, dozens of smaller marches were held at regional or state levels. This type of innovation is what NARAL doesn't want. The Walk for Life in San Francisco (of all places) is a good example of the vitality and dynamism of the pro-life movement. It just keeps growing. Last year 55,000 attended. And when this march first started in 2005, the president of Golden Gate Planned Parenthood, Dian Harrison, was a bit stunned: "We couldn't believe that they had the nerve to come to San Francisco."
That same noble resolve to defend the unborn, employing every peaceful and legal means, was written on the faces of the many marchers today as they braved the bone-chilling frost. Bishops and priests, veteran activists, seasoned side-walk counselors, pro-life leaders, dedicated prayer warriors, college and high school students, Knights of Columbus, parish groups that traveled on buses through the night – everyone was there to fight the scourge of abortion and make reparation to God.
Look at this firsthand account: Freezing but Forcefull March for Life
As the impressive demonstration made its way up Capitol Hill to the steps of the Supreme Court, members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) marched with their trademark red standards, and the ever-upbeat marching band, complete with brass, bagpipes and drums to encourage the crowd. TFP volunteers in ceremonial habit also formed an honor guard which carried a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima. In recent years, America has been exporting pro-family know-how to other countries like France where similar rallies are organized on an annual basis. In fact, international delegations of TFP-related organizations from France, Italy, Lithuania and the Netherlands also joined the march.
Young Activists on the Rise
TFP Student Action volunteers shared a flier with fellow pro-lifers, focusing on the virtue of purity as the antidote to abortion. "Pro-lifers are winning some very encouraging victories over the Culture of Death," the handout reads. "These victories will only be lasting to the degree that we are able to promote a Culture of Purity among the younger generation." The flier illustrates the message with a stunning photo of Saint Joan of Arc on horseback in shinning armor.
Young pro-life leaders were well represented at the march. "Students are more committed than ever to abolishing abortion," said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, a group that has formed nearly 800 pro-life clubs in 49 states. "Our full-time team is overwhelmed with constant requests for support and training. This is a good thing – it shows us that there are thousands of young people out there willing to do whatever they can to restore justice."
"I see our movement ending legal abortion in our generation," Hawkins told TFP Student Action. "I think surgical abortions will be a thing of the past, and those of us in the movement will be fighting to ban drugs that induce chemical abortions such as RU-486, Ella, and Plan B," she said. "Now is the time to focus on talking about the legal personhood of the child during his or her first three months."
Pro-Life is Pro-Marriage
Children and marriage are inseparable. However, the same Sexual Revolution that claims the unborn child is not a human person is now claiming that marriage is not between one man and one woman. On all sides, God's marriage, rooted in natural law itself, is under severe attack, threatened with radical redefinition by those who call for "tolerance."
The sacred institution of marriage is facing its Roe v Wade moment. For that reason more and more pro-lifers are expanding their work to include the defense of marriage. The struggle for the unborn and the defense of true marriage form part of the same spiritual crusade. If the unborn child doesn't open his eyes to find a committed mother and father, how will the family survive? How will society endure?
That crusading spirit of Saint Joan of Arc, filled with Faith and virtue, is what will give us the means to face these multiple challenges and drive us forward for new pro-family victories in 2014.
Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us!
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