Opinion: The March for Life: Fighting for the Right to Live

“The March for Life is one of the most important national rallies of the year as hundreds of thousands of Americans gather to fight the injustice that has taken away the right to life of the unborn.”

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Canisius students gather in Washington D.C. to add their voices to the pro-life movement. Credit: Justin Begley

This week, the pro-life movement is coming together in Washington D.C. for the 47th annual March for Life. The March for Life is one of the most important national rallies of the year as hundreds of thousands of Americans gather to fight the injustice that has taken away the right to life of the unborn. 

The March for Life was first organized by pro-life activist Nellie Gray in 1974, exactly one year after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which invalidated 50 states’ laws and federally legalized on-demand abortion. Disappointed with the lack of legislative action to combat the Court’s decision, Gray pledged to hold a march every year until Roe v. Wade is overturned. She did so until her death in 2012 when it was passed on to a new generation of pro-life advocates.

Since its founding, the March for Life has grown into a national movement that has generated widespread support among Americans of all generations. In 1974, just 50 marchers protested in front of SCOTUS for the protection of the right to life. In 2019, that number had grown to nearly 300,000. 

According to the March for Life organization, the march is “the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world. But this is not just a protest … together, we gather to celebrate life. We celebrate each and every life, from the moment of conception. We envision a world where every life is celebrated, valued, and protected,” The march was even one of the reasons that Norma McCovey (a.k.a Jane Roe) left her job at an abortion clinic to join the pro-life movement in 1995. 

This year’s theme is “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman,” which is a commentary on statements from the radical left suggesting that a pro-life stance is anti-women. For instance, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) claimed in May 2019 that approving abortion bans is a “brutal form of oppression,” an attack on “women’s rights,” and really aimed at “controlling women’s sexuality” and “owning women.” Many of her Democratic colleagues such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley have openly agreed. 

But this could not be further from the truth. Abortion, as the March for Life suggests, does not help women, it hurts them. Early feminist leader Alice Paul called abortion “the ultimate exploitation of women.” According to data provided by the March for Life, “the number of killed females unborn has reached 30 million,” some of which were due to abortions related to sex-selection. Because of this, modern-day feminists are waking up and joining the pro-life movement. According to Gallup News, as of 2018, 57% of the pro-life movement was female, up from 53% a year prior. 

Many of the people that the movement has attracted over the past several years are young, female, educated, middle class, politically moderate, ethnically and racially diverse, and do not attend a religious service regularly. 

According to Gallup News, 45% of people below the age of 50, 51% of women, 41% of people with at least some college, 52% of those making less than $100,000 per year, 46% of those who self-identify as politically moderate, 48% of people considered to be “Hispanic or nonwhite,” and 42% of people who claim to not regularly attend religious services consider themselves to be pro-life. 

These statistics are important to understanding the pro-life movement because it has notoriously been characterized as being run by old, religious, white, conservative, uneducated men. As the statistics show, this is obviously not the case. Pro-lifers are mostly women fighting for other women’s rights to life.  

Likewise, pro-lifers are also not all religious. This is important to understand because pro-choice people have pushed the lie that the pro-life movement is full of religious people who are trying to trample the separation of church and state. But again, as the statistics show, almost half of all non-religious people are pro-life, which is growing every day.

Most pro-life arguments actually tend to not even mention religion. Of course, there is a strong religious argument that suggests abortion is immoral, but religious doctrine need not be a part of the debate. It turns out that most of the people that are won over to the pro-life side are convinced by scientific arguments such as facts about when life begins and the stages of development. In fact, simply showing someone a 4-D ultrasound or explaining what an abortion actually entails is often enough to convince someone that abortion is wrong. 

In my opinion, even the left understands that abortion is immoral, which is why it has created euphemisms for it. For instance, I believe that the left has come up with “women’s right to choose” and “reproductive health” as alternatives to saying abortion. In fact, “abortion” itself is a euphemism; it is a softer term to describe the termination of a life before he or she leaves the womb.

Regardless of the statistics, characteristics of the people involved, and what pro-abortion groups believe, pro-lifers continue to gather each year for the march. They are united by the belief that every life is valuable regardless of the stage of development and physical location, and the movement continues to grow every day.

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