Why we march for life

An unborn baby’s heart begins beating 18 days after conception – a tiny heartbeat, a human heartbeat, and a vulnerable … Continued

An unborn baby’s heart begins beating 18 days after conception – a tiny heartbeat, a human heartbeat, and a vulnerable one. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade made it legal to kill unborn human beings at any stage of development, at any time before birth, in all 50 states.

Though abortion might be legal, not every American supports this travesty of justice. In January of every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans gather in our nation’s capital to protest the Supreme Court’s decision, denounce legalized abortion, and stand in defense of defenseless unborn human life.

View Photo Gallery: The Catholic Church in particular is credited with organizing and driving the anti-abortion movement for decades., but religious arguments shape the pro-choice side, too.

The crowds at the annual March for Life are largely made up of young people who are positively exploding with optimism, energy, and enthusiasm. These kids inspire me. They carry signs: “It’s a child, not a choice.” They wear t-shirts: “Social justice begins in the womb.” They challenge us all: “Mother and child. Love them both.”

Some say we should allow for abortion, especially in the hard cases, when a pregnancy is unplanned and unwanted. At the March for Life, however, young Americans boldly reject the idea that the value of any human life is diminished because it is unplanned or unwanted.

Some say we should allow for abortion, even if we would not choose it ourselves, because not everyone shares our religious beliefs and we “can’t legislate morality.” Young pro-lifers are quick to point out, however, that we do just that all the time. We outlaw murder, rape, slavery, and theft because all of us, in our humanity, recognize that they are wrong. Abortion is a moral issue, not a religious one. Our faith might affirm our belief in the dignity and value of all human life, but it is not the source of it. Our humanity is.

Katherine Frey


Thousands gathered on the mall to listen to speeches before heading to the Supreme Court in the annual March for Life. This contingent came from Long Island, New York.

Some say we should allow for abortion because feminism demands that women have access to reproductive “choices.” But the young voices at the March for Life reject abortion precisely because they embrace a new kind of feminism. One that recognizes the inherent dignity and value of every woman and rejects the “right” to sex without consequences and easy access to abortion which leave women in a strikingly vulnerable position, to be used by men as sexual objects.

The young people at the annual March for Life assert the unpopular truth that women deserve better than abortion, and instead offer women real choices: genuine alternatives to the harm that abortions cause.

When a woman decides that her best “choice” is the destruction of innocent human life growing within her, we have failed her. The government, the community, the church, and we – her friends, neighbors, co-workers, brothers, and sisters – have failed her.

Young pro-lifers are determined not to fail women.

They know that abortion is a “choice” that ends a human life, stops a heartbeat, and denies a defenseless human being the right to live. They know that the “pro-choice” idea that abortion has no moral, emotional, or psychological consequences is a lie – a lie that women pay for, and a lie that denies every one of us the right to make informed decisions about our own bodies.

Everywhere I look at this year’s March for Life, I see young people who reject the lies of previous generations, seek the truth, and stand up as a voice for women and the unborn. I am encouraged as I march alongside these young prolifers and proud that some of my own children are among them.

Legalized abortion is a tragic part of our nation’s history, but I see the future here in Washington, D.C. today. And you know what? The kids are all right.

Danielle Bean is an On Faith panelist and editor-in-chief of Catholic Digest and Faith & Family.

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  • kshahn1

    First of all, I would like to thank the Washington Post for allowing a fair article on the March to be printed. Typically it is hard to find in the media any coverage on the March let alone positive. God bless all those selfless and strong true American warriors who marched today in Washington for the protection of life. They were the voice for the voiceless 4,400 babies who are murdered everyday by abortion. If those babies could speak they would naturally tell their mothers that they want to live and that they deserve to live by their constitutional right. Those babies did not ask to be conceived and then be murdered! Also, to be considered is the damaging effect abortion has on the health and psyche of the mother. Fortunately, Americans are waking up to these facts. One example of this is the increasing numbers of people coming out to participate in the Pro-Life March in Washington and in San Francisco. President Obama and Kathleen Sebelious, secretary of Health and Human Services, are openly attacking pro-life Christians and Catholics through Obama Care and mandates. This can NOT stand! America must be the example and beacon of hope for the protection of ALL life, for all of humanity, all around the globe!

  • prof4life

    How often will history repeat itself? The holocuast, slavery, countless genocides, and of course abortion. Human beings, who the government declares are not people. Personhood, the dignity of every human being, is given by God, and no one has the right to take it away. No one has the right to say you are not a person. We look back at history and ask why didn’t more people help? When future generations look back will you be counted among those who helped your tiniest brothers and sisters in the womb, or will you be among those who did nothing?

  • Biologybrain

    Great article. Women, including myself, do deserve better than abortion as a choice. In my experience, doctors suggest abortion when they just aren’t sure how to treat a pregnant woman. They are also over concerned with their own convenience and/or covering their rumps to provide adequate care for pregnant women. Having abortion as an option keeps them from finding alternative ways to care for pregnant women.

    I was 20 weeks pregnant when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Abortion was one of the ‘treatment’ options given to me. However, it was NOT necessary or even in my best interest according to lesser know research by MDAnderson Cancer Center. They’ve found that women who are diagnosed while pregnant and seek treatment while maintaining their pregnancy do BETTER than their abortive counterparts. How many other situations are like this? How many women have been given the ‘choice’ of abortion without a reasonable alternative? How many women have been misinformed about their ‘choices’ and gone on to end an innocent life only to find out later the abortion was not necessary? So how is abortion really a choice that helps women?

    Since Roe v. Wade, doctors have had abortion and birth control as their first-line treatment for women’s conditions. Proponents of women’s right to “choose” have fought tooth and nail against any regulations or legislation that seeks to provide women with resources and information about their true options. Abortion providers claim to have women’s health as their priority, but often the ‘clinics’ where abortions are performed are staffed by nonmedical personnel and lacking in proper surgical atmosphere. Any effort to ensure that clinics follow standards of care that are in place in any other medical facility meets with strong resistance from pro-aborts. How can women’s education, sanitary conditions, and medical personnel be thought of as infringing on women’s rights?

    When pro-aborts actually promote ALL women’s rights, then the debate over abor

  • therese3

    This is, to me, one of the key points in the issue of legalized abortion:
    “Some say we should allow for abortion, even if we would not choose it ourselves, because not everyone shares our religious beliefs and we “can’t legislate morality.” Young pro-lifers are quick to point out, however, that we do just that all the time. We outlaw murder, rape, slavery, and theft because all of us, in our humanity, recognize that they are wrong. Abortion is a moral issue, not a religious one. Our faith might affirm our belief in the dignity and value of all human life, but it is not the source of it. Our humanity is.”

  • mesforlife

    The definition of CHOICE is: the right or opportunity of choosing, having an alternative. So I have to ask those who call themselves pro-CHOICE, what are you choosing, what are the alternatives given to women in a crisis pregnancy? The stats of our nation’s number one abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, shows that 96.3% of their services to pregnant women in 2008 were abortions and the other 3.7% were adoptions and prenatal care. * So with that, we can come to the conclusion, that to them CHOICE means ABORTION, with obviously little focus on any alternatives.

    Now what is interesting, on NARAL’s website, it writes about Crisis Pregnancy Centers and has this to say “While CPCs may falsely suggest that they provide a full range of reproductive health services, they clearly do not.” Well that’s a very disingenuous statement coming from a movement, that cant own up to what their CHOICE is and how little CHOICE women are given at abortion “clinics”. They also, don’t ever call themselves, by what they really are, abortion “clinics”, but disguise their name as “women “health” centers.

    If we look at women who have had abortions, 64% of American women felt pressured by others, more than half felt rushed or uncertain, yet 67% received no counseling, 79% were not told about available alternatives, 84% said they were not fully informed.** Does this sound like CHOICE to you? Is CHOICE coerced, rushed and uninformed ?

    It certainly is no secret that Crisis Pregnancy Centers do not provide abortion services nor do they refer women to the NO-CHOICE abortion mills, because some choices are ugly and wrong. CPC’s provide women and their unborn child, with the help they need , to get through the pregnancy, support their child, or put that child up for adoption. They are given alternatives that they won’t regret, they are given information to make the CHOICE best for both them and their child, and they are not forced or coerced to make the decision that is best for the both of them. Now,

  • lwestin

    “Our faith might affirm our belief in the dignity and value of all human life, but it is not the source of it. Our humanity is.” ? Not sure I understand what you mean here

  • ChicagoGirl-FrontPorchChats

    Thank you Washington Post for featuring this story by Danielle Bean. What she says is true. This march is filled with young people, as well as people of all ages, nationalities, and religions. It is filled with hope. It is filled with people who have come at great sacrifice, to show their love for someone beyond themselves. You have just proven that, while it is hard to ‘swim against the tide’ (if we don;t cover the story, we can pretend it hasn’t occurred – perhaps the thoughts of the absent media?) there is room for healthy and honest debate. We thank you for your courage.
    My personal experience of watching this year’s March for Life, was the non-judgemental nature of the speeches, posters, and signs. These are no longer activists who are pushing a cause; the way so many early participants were characterized.They are genuine, common foks; young people and more, who care about the pain that so many women, and men, and babies, have suffered. They want the truth. They live for the truth. Thank you for your courage in allowing that truth to be printed in your paper.
    Last reflection was the best poster I saw today. It had the words: “Save the Baby Wails”, a phrase we hear so much about, “Save the Baby Whales”, all the time. In this context though, it had a picture of a baby in the womb, wailing as it was being murdered. Yes, I agree. “Please save the Baby Wails.”
    Thank you once again; and you too, Ms. Bean!
    (This is what we talk about on the front porch steps in our neighborhoods in Chicago.)

  • rlm2

    I don’t think what she said here was quite accurate, but I understand what she was trying to get across. There are certain things which are of such grave moral concern and effect others so deeply, that is is the job and duty of the government to legislate and enforce protections against offenses of these concerns. She gave examples, such as murder and rape, that directly concern one person invading the rights of another. Abortion is murder of an unborn child, and as such it falls under the same umbrella.

  • ScholarusPrecepitus

    Abortion is also a medical issue. Instead of using your opinion and religious position to support your reasons for marching, why not dig up the cases and use scientific evidence and case law to support your argument?

    It is inaccurate to assert that the “pro-choice” argument rejects the moral, emotional and psychological consequences of abortion. “Pro-choice” asserts that individuals agree that the state should not refuse women a medical procedure because it violates the 8th and 14th amendments. “State criminal abortion laws (like those involved in Roe v. Wade), violated the Due Process clause of the 14th amendment, which protects against state action the right to privacy, including a woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy. Though the state cannot override that right, it has legitimate interests in protecting both the pregnant woman’s health and potentiality of human life…For the state subsequent to viability the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life, may if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

    Hippocrates wrote “never after the third month,” and although abortion was a contentious issue in his time, as a medical professional, he viewed the issue in a medical sense. His writings and the medical scripts from the Hellenistic era attest to the practice of abortion–2,000 years ago when Asclepius was regarded as the legendary healer of the day (and Jesus had not yet replaced him).

    Now, I respect the fact that you have a religious belief. But I cannot respect the fact that you would profess to take away my rights and freedoms based on your religious convictions. No one is forcing YOU to have an abortion. You argue that the state should violate the 8th and 14th amendments solely because of YOUR religious beliefs. Please, tell me how that applies to Jews, agnostics, Muslims, atheists, the non-relig

  • islander99

    Killing a person is against the law…the law of the land. A child is not a part of your body. It is not your body. The child has its own heart and DNA.

  • SirTificate

    how about the law of the land my friend?

    if one kills a pregnant woman, intentionally or unintentionally, they will be charged with two murders. why? because the state realizes that there are two lives at stake.

    calling murder a “medical procedure” doesn’t change it. Hitler conducted a “final solution” but we all know what that really was.

    a father in our country has a legal right to his child unless declared otherwise by a lengthy court proceeding which would still almost always guarantee him at least some basic rights.

    how does it NOT violate a fathers basic right by completely stripping him of ANY say in an abortion. I am a happily married man but if my wife wished to go have a “medical procedure” there would not be anything I could do about it. I realize I might have a skewed view as a father but i tend to feel this deprives me and any other man of our “due process”

    it takes two people to make a baby yet only one person has the absolute power of life and death over the baby with no recourse to the other party. this does not fit the spirit or the letter of any law or custom I am aware of in this country

    I would love to discuss religion with you but I agree that you have the right NOT to have any religion at all if you so desire. please keep in mind that I am not “forcing YOU” to have unprotected sex and get pregnant. the fact that I do not want you to murder your child, born or unborn, has nothing to do with me trying to stuff religion down anyone’s throat. rather it is simply the same desire I would have to stop a rape or any other violent crime.

  • gonnagle

    And yet you also oppose contraception and comprehensive sex education: To things that are proven to to reduce unwanted pregnancy and thus abortion. You are, quite simply a hypocrite.

  • ChrisE3

    It’s always amazing to me how uneducated and sadly misinformed most abortion supporters are: “wherever abortion is illegal, more occur”? “abortion is a medical issue”? “contraception and comprehensive sex education… are proven to reduce… abortion”? Apparently, many of you aren’t keeping up-to-speed with science or statistics; rather you are intent on believing the same regurgitated misinformation that has been floating around for decades. Check your facts (and not just the ones the agenda-ridden media chooses to feed you). Contraception was the very gateway that opened the doors to abortion; sex education in schools only serves to promote the idea of multiple parters, and so-called “safe sex,” and results in widespread promiscuity in those as young as the pre-teen years. Have the numbers of abortions decreased or risen since its legalization? Again, check your stats. Do the research and really study all sides of the issue before you decide to weigh in on a public post. Sorry to be harsh, but you’re not doing women any favors by being uneducated on this topic!

  • worldcit

    “Quite simply a hypocrite” is a person whose own actions differ from what he advocates–and is NOT quite simply someone who disagrees with you about the most effective and ethical methods for reaching desired ends.

  • JustAthoughtt

    Who opposes contraception and sex education?

    And are people who are having unprotected sex oblivious to the fact that sex = babies?

    If someone had only told them…

  • JustAthoughtt

    The problem with that argument is that it is the same as:

    In states where Rape is illegal more rapes happen. Instead we should tell people about the greatness of mutual sex…

    Wrong is wrong, and we shouldn’t be afraid to label something as wrong.

  • cricket44

    But, Islander, it is IN another person’s body and THEY have the right of refusal.

  • cricket44

    “Young people” who have never had to live when abortion wasn’t safe and legal. But, hey, speaking of “lying,” let’s start with the author’s:

    “hey know that the “pro-choice” idea that abortion has no moral, emotional, or psychological consequences”

    Hmm, been pro=choice all my life and have never heard that. What I *do* know is that women are individual’s perfectly capable of knowing whether or not their personal situation is conducive to continuing a pregnancy…in fact they are the ONLY ones who know.

    Let’s not blather on about “informed decisions” when anti-choice sites still insist abortion causes breast cancer (it doesn’t), women *always* regret having abortions (they don’t), women *always* are happy if forced to continue a pregnancy against their will (for real? Please) and that pregnancy and delivery don’t *also* have physical, emotional. and psychological consequences. Talk about lying, anti-choicers make a career out of it.

  • xexon

    You think you know what life “is”, Christian? You do not.

    You have no concept other than what you’ve been taught, as you have no ability to see the truth for yourself just yet.

    You cannot take life, as the life force is ever existing. Eternal. What you are concerned with are the containers of the life force. Which are designed to be temporary things anyway.

    Because your perception is tuned to this world only, you are blind as to the spiritual mechanics that makes this world “go”. Death, means removal of a container. It does not mean the end of life itself. You cannot stop life from manifesting here.

    The only “sin” is in causing pain to another. Only late term abortions are capable of that. And even then, the mind of the fetus is in a dull state.

    Whatever pain is induced in an abortion doesn’t take place in the fetus, it takes place in your own mind. Because of what you believe and disagree with based on those beliefs.


  • rjramirez

    The question I ask is why if there are 400,000 people gathered in Washington DC not worthy of any recognition?
    Less than 100 ‘occupy wall street’ yet 400,000 (Washington DC official numbers) not pro life numbers, and no television or newspaper coverage?

    What else are you not telling us?

  • cricket44

    Funny you would bring up rape when forcing childbirth on an unwilling woman is also a horrific violation. And very, very WRONG.

  • JustAthoughtt

    First you missed the point of what I was saying in response to the post.

    Second the primary purpose for sex is reproduction, reproduction is not a RISK associated with sex as you have stated in other comments, and is nothing like driving a car and having the risk of crashing…

    And since when is it ok to murderer another person, and not just anybody, but someone who has come into this world by your own actions…

    Abortion is not the answer, people need to be held accountable for their CHOICES!

  • cricket44

    Scott, stay abstinent. It’s the only way to not be a hypocritical thug.

    “You made you choice when you failed to keep you skirt on, and subjected an innocent life to an untimely end for your convenience. ”

    Hee! Thank you! I love it when the anti-choice cultists show just how much they rely on assumption, projection, lies, and that old stand-by , glaring ignorance.

    I’ll pray for you