By Judie Brown
The March for Life took place this past Friday, January 20, and it was hailed as a success by all those who attended, including the leaders of the March. But I found something curious about the placards some carried. The signs reflected a kind of limp ideology that is not healthy for our efforts to defend and protect every human being without exception.
“Protect Women, Protect Life” may easily roll off one’s tongue, but the actual meaning is not obvious. We pro-life Americans march to protect all mothers and every one of their little babies, and I wonder why we cannot be clear about that. Every woman is a blessing of course, but expectant mothers and all mothers, for that matter, are special blessings. Shouldn’t we say so?
After the March, one headline summarized the problem, saying “Anti-Abortion Activists Got What They Wanted. They Can’t Agree on What’s Next.” Exactly what that means is about as obtuse as some of the signs at the March for Life. What exactly have pro-life Americans been doing for 50 years? Well, apparently anything but fighting for human personhood without exceptions from the moment the human being begins!
That is really not complicated! But if it is, the question is why? What are we really doing? Maybe it is not politically correct, but who cares? We are partisan, we are not at all political, we are pro-life! And if some in our movement do not agree, then perhaps the movement needs to redefine what it is because pro-life is not what I see.
Nellie Gray, founder of the March for Life, knew what it meant and gave no apologies for her position, telling anyone who ever interviewed her one simple thing: “No exceptions! No compromises!” Why she said that and meant it with every bone in her body was simple. We are talking about the babies, and either we work to protect every innocent human being, or we are not pro-life!
Gray said it best during a 1998 interview: “The battle will not be won until the entire anti-abortion movement and every community of faith works relentlessly to establish personhood for the preborn children. It takes the church as the total body—not just my Roman Catholic Church, but the whole church body—coming together and saying, ‘In America, we will not tolerate this.’”
Her words ring as true today as they did when she said them, and yet far too few see pro-life work through the clear lens of uncompromising confidence in the truth. And frankly, after examining many of the signs young people in particular carried during the most recent March, I would have to agree that it is time to put the focus back where it should be. That is on the science that supports human personhood.
Either we do it right and fight for every innocent human being or we surrender to the proponents of political possibilities.
And doing it right means understanding this simple fact as set forth by Dianne Irving, PhD: “‘Personhood’ begins when the human being begins. If ever there was an example of a time when solid reasoning and scientific facts can inform our faith this is surely one. Faith and reason, as St. Thomas notes, should not contradict, but should reinforce and complement each other.”
No more moral relativism, please. Just the facts. That is all we need to succeed in teaching and legislating the simple truth that every single innocent human being matters. We will not leave one of them behind!