Sunday, January 24, 2010

Observations on March for Life 2010

  • I think my favorite person there was the guy on a box outside the Sculpture Garden singing "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pro-choice woman your wife. From my personal point of view, get a pro-life girl to marry you!" It's been stuck in my head for days.

  • I was a little uncomfortable with the strong religious overtones. I agree completely that all the religious assertions were true, but I have 2 concerns. First, as much as I may agree that, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you" is true, it's not the base of good policy in this country. What we need to be able to create pro-life laws in America are good, secular arguments against abortion. Second, I know there are pro-life people out there who are not religious. I doubt they'd feel welcome at the March, or be able to participate without feeling like they were endorsing something they disagreed with.

  • It seemed much more crowded this year than last year, but I'm not sure whether that's because the March route was shorter; people were congregating to march at the same place as the rally, rather than several blocks away, so everyone was all crammed together.

  • I wasn't sure whether to find the huge number of high school aged marchers heartening or not. Teenagers have a pretty strong tendency to a) do what their friends are doing, and b) want to go on field trips. I wouldn't be surprised if a large number of them hadn't really given too much thought to the issue of abortion at all. However, even if that's the case, I doubt that March for Life would turn them off of the pro-life cause; it's more likely to make them default to pro-life views, which is a good thing.

  • I wish people - and this applies to everyone, not just March for Lifers - would throw their trash in the garbage! There was way too much litter on the ground when I walked down the Mall at 5pm. I wasn't sure, though, whether the "Choose Life" and "Stop Abortion" signs on the ground would turn people off of the movement ("Look at these disrespectful pro-lifers!") or serve as a continued expression of our message even once we'd left.

  • Having teenagers carry signs that say "Women do regret abortion" and "Men regret lost fatherhood" struck me as a little . . . disingenuous. I doubt that many of those girls and boys were actually regretting abortions. While I know it's true that women do regret abortion, I don't think that presuming to speak for others is an effective way to get your message apart. At the very least, I think that you end up lacking authority in the eyes of others and losing your audience.

  • What sort of signs should young people be holding? Ones that testify to our missing peers and to having survived legalized abortion. The one sign I saw that brought me closer to tears than any other was the one held by a teenager that said, "17 years ago, January X 1993, my mom chose adoption instead of abortion."

  • With all of the tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people there, I had the good fortune to run into the group from my home parish. I was shocked to find that my 8th grade CCD teacher still recognized me!

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