I hate the cold. Like really don’t like the cold. Like really, really. But, there are moments when you have to suck it up. For me, this year’s March for Life was one such occasion. I woke up in the hotel on January 21st to a balmy 15-degree forecast, but I was prepared! I pulled on my long johns, wool socks and sweater, hand warmers, foot warmers, and my puffiest coat. And, with my good friend, Susan set out for the National Mall in Washington D.C.
It all hit me seven or eight years ago while sitting quietly one morning after Mass. I’d recently rededicated myself to the Catholic faith, which in turn led to an unquenchable thirst for understanding the teachings of The Church. I was pondering the contradictions between God’s laws, the ten commandments, and our current civil law. That’s when I heard the word “abortion” in a whisper. Now, I was all alone in an empty church… so interpret that as you’d like.
The injustice and evil of abortion may be very obvious to some, but at the time, I was in the camp of “it’s not for me, but it should be a choice for others.” Instantly, I understood abortion for what it was—the saddest act humankind has ever accepted—and I was overcome with remorse for not realizing it much sooner.
However, the experience I had that day did not turn me into an automatic activist. It has taken years for me to “come out” as a pro-lifer. Sadly, even within our own Catholic family, so many believe in the right to an abortion—and most everyone assumes you agree (at least in my neck of the woods). It’s not easy to stand up for life when a group of your friends gets together to socialize, and someone starts bashing those “radical anti-abortionists.” It might be even harder to stand up to your teenage children, who are so engrossed in our culture’s ideas of “women’s rights” and “your truth is your truth,” that they may look at you with disbelief, or even anger and disgust when you try to explain that taking an unborn child’s life is murder.
God had convicted my heart, yet I carefully guarded myself against being labeled a zealot by putting one toe into the pro-life movement at a time. First, I committed to learning as much as I could about why abortion is so utterly wrong. The truth will set us free, especially from those who fear it—but I needed the right words to express myself to others.
Life begins at conception. The science is settled on this. “My body, my choice” can not explain away the entirely separate, live human organism, with its own unique DNA from human male and female parents. This organism, or embryo, converts nutrients into energy, triggering rapid cellular reproduction—and with the proper environment and time, will grow from an immature fetus (which is Latin for baby) into a fully developed human inside the womb. Once born, this same little child will continue this process, given the proper environment, time and nutrition, and will eventually become an adult human.
Even so, none of this may matter to the pro-choice gang. They aren’t dumb; they just don’t want the truth. And aren’t we all guilty of that? One thing is for sure; I’m far from innocent when it comes to how I’ve handled my own “reproductive rights.”
The truth is uncomfortable. It reveals how we are broken—and not as “good” as we’d like to think. It points to our pridefulness and selfishness. It provokes shame, which we can’t handle. It might tell us we’ve made a huge mistake and need to be sorry. It may even encourage us to lean on someone more all-knowing and all-powerful and ask for forgiveness—which would mean admitting we need help and aren’t fully self-sufficient. Instead, we double-down, continuing on the wrong road, dragging as many others with us as possible.
I’ve done it. We’ve all done it.
Time has passed, and I’ve become braver in my stance for life. Truth effectuates confidence. I knew I was ready for the March for Life.
As we walked down Constitution Avenue, Marchers from all across the country surrounded me; women, men, and children. I learned that some marchers have had an abortion and regret their decision, while others have adopted children or are adopted themselves. I met one elderly couple who had seven children, five of whom were adopted. It was a day without judgment. A day to remember we live in a broken world in need of healing. A day to celebrate how far the pro-life movement has come. We marched for the innocent unborn child and all women… because we’ve been given a super-power from God to bring life into this world—and we must reclaim and embrace this incredible, miraculous, and precious gift as our highest privilege.
Yes, we’ve been lied to, cheated, abused, and brainwashed. Still, it is time to ask for forgiveness. It is time to take a stand for humanity and demand that our civil laws accord with God’s. After all, the ultimate goal of these laws is to make us morally good—and they should help us align ourselves with the design God has written into human nature.
Finally, I felt proud to be Pro-Life! And while my feet were frozen solid, being surrounded by tens of thousands of people who believe that life is precious from the start, set my heart on fire.
If you have never attended the March for Life in D.C., mark your calendars for next January—the 50th anniversary of this tremendous event. Pray we will have much to celebrate, as we now await the hearing of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that could soundly jeopardize the unconstitutional ruling of Roe v. Wade.