Saturday, January 24, 2015

2015 March for Life Held in Washington D.C.

On January 22nd, the 2015 March For Life took place in Washington D.C. The annual rally marks the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which acknowledged a woman's right to have an abortion. Thousands of anti-abortion activists gathered on the National Mall to hear speakers at the march rally, including Rev. Joseph Kurtz (the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops), Carl Anderson (Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus), and various lawmakers. C-SPAN posted footage of the 2015 March For Life, which can be viewed here.

The D.C. metro area was brimming with anti-abortion gatherings in conjunction with the March for Life, including the following events:

  • Choices 4 Life sponsored an evening talk in Mount Vernon, VA on January 20th entitled "Rape Conception Myth Busters". The workshop was intended to help anti-abortion activists respond to questions about rape-related pregnancies.
  • Heritage Foundation hosted a panel discussion on January 20th entitled "Welcoming Every Life: Choosing Life After an Unexpected Prenatal Diagnosis", which discouraged parents from aborting fetuses with Down Syndrome and other disabilities.
  • The National Prayer Vigil for Life took place on January 21st at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
  • The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal sponsored a Vigil for Life at the Mother Seton Church in Germantown, MD, the same town where Dr. LeRoy Carhart performs late-term abortions.
  • Students For Life hosted their 2015 National East Coast Conference on January 23rd in Upper Marlboro, MD, featuring speakers such as Family Research Council's Josh Duggar, Live Action's Lila Rose, Operation Rescue's Troy Newman, and Abby Johnson.

On the same day as the March for Life, the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and Focus on the Family unveiled an upcoming conference. Evangelicals for Life will take place alongside the 2016 March for Life. "[W]e're wanting to cultivate a new generation of born-again men and women who care about the unborn, who care about their mothers and who care about consciences that are torn apart by the culture of death," said ERLC president Russell Moore, as reported in the Baptist Press.

Some Religious Right voices remain smug about the state of the anti-abortion movement. In a January 23rd commentary piece, Concerned Women for America's Penny Nance claimed that the March For Life was the "worst nightmare" of the pro-choice movement.
"The March for Life is always a somber event, even as we celebrate the enormous support for life in recent years. We march to remember the more than 56 million lives lost to abortion since the horrendous Roe v. Wade decision and to keep reminding the nation that we are better than this. We must do better.

And we are. For the first time in a long time more young people consider themselves pro-life than pro-“choice.” The abortion industry is so concerned about this trend they have even considered dropping the whole pro-choice label. The March for Life is the abortionists’ worst nightmare as the nation’s capital is overcome by thousands of young pro-life supporters and they are reminded of what the future awaits for them."
Considering that most Americans do not want Roe v. Wade overturned, I think Nance is overplaying her hand here.

After the March For Life, some Religious Right figures reflected on the future of the movement. Rob Schwarzwalder, senior vice-president of the Family Research Council, gave his fellow activists advice on how to ensure that abortion goes the way of slavery.
"When in the midst of a battle, it is hard to envision how to keep winning once the immediate fight is won, especially when the current battle is widespread and complex. But if social conservatives really want not just political victories but a shift in the cultural mindset such that abortion-on-demand will become as anathema as slavery, we need to think hard about what we can do to keep changing hearts and minds as we wage our present war against anti-natalism and human indignity and, once victory is achieved, how to sustain it indefinitely.

Does any of this mean pro-life advocates should decelerate our efforts? Not at all. But it does mean we need to expand the reach of our arguments about the dignity of human sexual intimacy as something reserved for two-gender, life-long marriage and the dangers of sex outside of the marital covenant. Education, persuasion, political activism and Godly prayer must always be our companions in this effort."
What can I write about the March for Life that I haven't mentioned before? The rhetoric, the arrogance, the attacks on reproductive freedom, the utter lack of empathy for women with unwanted pregnancies never changes. If we cannot reason with anti-abortion activists like these, we must resist their efforts to undermine reproductive rights.

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

Slate: What Frustrated Pro-Life Activists and Politicians Are Saying at March for Life

Mother Jones: The Group Behind America's Biggest Anti-Abortion March Now Says Birth Control Causes Abortions

RH Reality Check: I Am Tired of Politicians Using My Grief for Their Gain

The Daily Signal: 24 Signs Spotted at the March for Life


  1. It is interesting how the so-called Pro-Life advocates refer to the opposition as "the abortion industry"; as if all of the often disempowered, diverse, and individual women and young girls with unwanted pregnancies are somehow profiting from the difficult experience. And as if their lives don't count when compared to, say, a zygote.

    1. George -- They call it an "industry" in order to smear it as some money-making scheme that's exploiting women. In reality, abortion is not a money-maker, and if abortion access were to disappear, many women would be put in heartbreaking or dangerous situations.

      You're right. For all their talk of loving women, they respect zygotes more than women.

  2. Had I ever been raped and impregnated, I would have had an excellent chance of dying from a dissected aorta due to a rare medical condition I have...these marching idiots would not have given a damn...they would have stood by, praising their Jesus while they forced me to of a host of reasons why I walked away from them years ago.

    1. Anonymous -- Many of these anti-abortion activists don't realize (or care) that abortion is an important medical procedure for women who can't safely carry pregnancies. In their rush to limit abortion access, they forget the lives they're endangering.

  3. I must admit a small part of me's actually impressed with the March for Life, if only because it's the first right wing protest I've heard of in DC that's attracted more than a couple of dozen people! Seriously, though, I don't have much time for the anti-abortion crowd; indeed, one of the main things that changed my views on abortion was simply the fact that so many of its opponents came across as utter dicks. Just the lies they told (especially about birth control), the fact so many of them were opposed to things that could actually reduce the abortion rate (such as contraception and effective sex education), the fact they didn't seem to give two shits for babies once they were actually born, the fact they always seemed to prioritize the welfare of the fetus over that of its mother (to the extent they'd sooner see the latter die from a life-threatening pregnancy than have a termination), the fact so many of them seemed to be frothing-at-the-mouth right wing hatemongers (which made it very hard to believe their claims that their opposition to abortion was motivated by a desire to save "poor, sweet, innocent babies"), and, finally, a strong feeling I got from a lot of them that they were just plain opposed to sex (many of them seemed to be the type of folk who considered even having a wank an unspeakable evil).

    One irony from recent history I find hilarious is that someone who actually did implement these people's dream of banning abortion and birth control was that Godless Communist, Nicolae Ceaucescu. Unfortunately, by all accounts, his outlawing of both things proved a disaster for Romania: an inconvenient fact these people would do well to ponder (though probably won't).

    1. Zosimus -- Ceaucescu's insane policies caused nothing but suffering, but anti-choice activists refused to learn from history. For example:

      They're driven by blind ideology, which prevents them from reflecting on the real-life consequences of the policies they're advocating.


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