by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
I am in Washington, D.C., today (Jan. 27), participating in the annual March for Life. It is amazing each year to join hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans to pray and advocate for the right to life for unborn children, the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society.
The March for Life this year occurs almost a week after the Women’s March that was prompted by fears of some women regarding the possible positions and policies of our newly inaugurated president. Some of the revelations during the election campaign of past behavior by then-candidate Donald Trump raised legitimate concerns about our new president’s past attitude toward women. However, sadly, the Women’s March was co-opted by pro-abortion groups.
In fact, it was made clear by the Women’s March organizers that pro-life women’s groups were not welcome to be official sponsors of the event. One of the event’s “Unity Principles” was: “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people.” Translate “affordable abortion and contraception” to mean tax-funded abortion.
Erica Sackin, director of political communications for Planned Parenthood, remarked, “The Women’s March platform clearly states support for access to abortion as a core principle. Everyone who supports that entire platform was welcome to march here today.” In other words, pro-life women please stay away.
One of the dominant messages of the Women’s March was “women’s rights are human rights.” For the Women’s March organizers to insist that legal, and even tax-funded, abortion is one of their core principles, in essence, is to make the absurd claim that abortion, the killing of one’s own child, is a human right. They even appear to believe that it is a human right for society to bear the cost for the execution of their children. If the reporting on the signage at the Women’s March is accurate, vulgarity and coarseness must also be human rights.
There are many authentic women’s rights issues where there exists a broad coalition of agreement, e.g., elimination of sex-trafficking, better workplace accommodations for mothers, care for victims of domestic violence, etc. However, for those who have usurped the leadership of the so-called women’s movement, all of these must be subordinated to abortion rights.
For a very thoughtful treatment of an authentic feminism, I encourage you to read “Women, Sex and the Church,” edited by Erika Bachiochi. It is a collection of insightful essays by women on some of the key issues facing women today.
Erika Bachiochi —who authored one of the essays, wrote the conclusion and edited the entire book — describes herself the child of “a broken, nonchurchgoing, nominally Catholic home. As a young child and teen, I both witnessed and then lived a life diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church teaching on sex and marriage. Concentrating on women’s studies early in college, I identified with a radical feminist contingent and was adamantly anti-Catholic. For these reasons and more, I am an unlikely candidate to bring together the women who contributed to this book.”
Based on past history, the March for Life will be comparable in size to the Women’s March, but it will not receive the same amount of secular media coverage. Why? Primarily, because it does not fit the issue bias of those who control most of the major media outlets!
Many of the events that surround the March for Life will be prayerful. We will pray for wisdom and courage for legislators, for loving support and assistance to those experiencing an untimely or difficult pregnancy, for healing and mercy for those who procured an abortion or those who performed or assisted in the performance of an abortion, for eternal life and happiness for the children killed by abortion, and for courage in building up a culture of life.
The theme for this year’s March for Life is: “The Power of One.” It emphasizes how each of us is called to play a part in the renewal of respect for human life in our nation. We each have a sphere of influence where we can help save lives by changing hearts and minds.
Sadly, our nation has become increasingly divided and polarized over the past eight years. President Obama was willing to sacrifice the sustainability of the health care reform passed during his presidency in order to force businesses and even religious ministries, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, to include abortifacients, sterilization and contraceptives in employee health plans.
We need to prepare ourselves for a battle royal if President Trump is true to his promise to nominate a candidate for the Supreme Court who believes that Roe v. Wade was bad jurisprudence and who is opposed to the court inventing rights on neuralgic social issues. We are at another critical cultural moment for our nation.
The Women’s March and the March for Life are a tale of two marches with very different agendas. In many ways, they are a visible manifestation of two opposing philosophies struggling to capture the soul of our nation. It will be important for each of us to make our voices heard in the weeks and months ahead. Together, we can make a difference. Each of us possesses the power of one!