Friday, March 2, 2018

A Perpetual March for Life?

The March for Life recently announced that the 2019 event will be held on Friday, January 18. At the end of the announcement email, March for Life president Jeanne Mancini wrote: "And please save the date to join us in 2019, so that one day soon, we no longer have to march."

It's a common sentiment. Every January, I hear people say that they hope to never march again. The implied hope is that this will be the year Roe v. Wade will be overturned.

I too fervently hope that Roe v. Wade will soon be overturned... and I also very much hope to participate in the March for Life every January between now and my death. 

I mean no disrespect to Jeanne, of course, and I admire her commitment to putting herself out of a job. Perhaps I'm just being my unnecessarily contrarian self, but hear me out. The reversal of Roe v. Wade should not cause the March for Life to end. There are at least three excellent reasons to keep the March going in perpetuity:

1. To restore the right to life everywhere. The reversal of Roe v. Wade could result in immediate restoration of the right to life, if the Court holds that unborn children are Constitutional persons entitled to equal protection of the law. But the more likely path for reversal is that the Court will simply allow each state to enact its own laws on abortion. This would be a huge victory and save many lives in pro-life states—but woe to the child with the bad luck to be conceived in New York or California. Nationwide, you can be sure that the abortion industry will push to remake the Court and reverse the reversal. The pro-life movement's work must continue. The March for Life is, and will remain, a critical networking tool for a nationwide cause. 

Moreover, why should we limit our concern to the United States? Sure, it makes strategic sense to start close to home, but our success here should not be the end of the story. It should be a springboard to protect preborn children throughout the world. The March for Life could refocus in that direction.

2. To support mothers in need. After Roe v. Wade is reversed, women will need the pro-life network of pregnancy support more than ever before. Continued pro-life enthusiasm after Roe's reversal will be necessary to bolster that network. Pregnancy resource centers, adoption programs, and the like all benefit from an annual gathering. And I haven't even mentioned the March for Life's role in post-abortion healing.

3. To memorialize the victims. Suppose abortion ended tonight, completely, totally, everywhere in the world. The death toll is already in the hundreds of millions—over 60 million in the United States alone. We must never forget those children. The political environment may one day allow for a permanent physical memorial in Washington, D.C., but I think a living memorial of pro-life marchers is more fitting.

I'll see you on January 18.

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