In the afternoon of Friday, January 24th, you can find me on the corner of New Jersey and Constitution avenues in Washington D.C. I will be there to greet the faithful from our diocese who are participating in the Annual March for Life in the nation’s capital. This is the 47th March for Life. Valiant women, men, young adults and teenagers from our parishes and schools who are able to withstand the winter rigors of a parade up the avenue join with thousands of others in this annual pro-life demonstration in our nation’s capital. The March is a much needed public witness to the sanctity of Life. The lie that abortion is a woman’s right to choose needs to be challenged and exposed as false. The child in the womb has no choice as his or her life is destroyed with government approval. The Catholic bishops of the United States recently reminded us that “the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed” (FORMING CONSCIENCES FOR FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP).
Since Roe v. Wade (1973) it is estimated that more than 60 million innocent human lives have been ripped from their mother’s wombs. The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision claims that the right to destroy human life in the mother’s womb is guaranteed by our Constitution. Do you think that abortion was on the mind of the writers and framers of the Constitution?
This year the theme of the March is “Life Empowers: Pro- Life is Pro-Woman.” The theme is borrowed from the centennial celebration of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. This year is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. Susan B. Anthony, a famous suffragist, was staunchly against abortion which she called “the ultimate exploitation of women.” Abortion is the deliberate killing of human life. This truth is based on science. What is aborted from the womb of the mother? An Apple? No. It is very clear that it is a human person; a living human being. When does human life begin? That is a valid question and the answer is easy. At conception. Human life is a gift from God which begins when parents participate in God’s creative activity through intimate love between a man and a woman. They create a human being who requires nine months of life in the womb before entering life outside the womb.
There is a slippery slope in society; one which is alarmingly evident here in New Jersey, which permits medically assisted suicide, allowing doctors to prescribe lethal medication to patients with less than six months to live. The permission for assisted suicide has been followed by the recent denial of an exemption to people of faith in health insurance benefits plans which pay for anti-life procedures which violate the fundamental religious beliefs of different faiths.
There is a battle going on. The culture of death which denies the sacredness of human life in all its forms seems to be growing more and more powerful. The media gives it a lot of attention. Politicians continue to advance the culture of death when they vote in favor of bills, such as the two mentioned above. Even politicians who identify as Roman Catholic.
A pro-life culture does not ignore the many other urgent and serious conditions that threaten human life such as housing, healthcare, poverty and a myriad of others which must be on the pro-life agenda. The aggressive cultivation of a culture of life is needed in our country more than ever before. Each of us is called to this work. Some can do it by participating in public activities; others can do it by prayer and sacrifice. We cannot remain indifferent to the spreading darkness that abortion represents.
Every human person is valued, not for what he or she can do but because they are created by God, made in God’s image. “Even the weakest, the most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in His own image, destined to live forever and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect” (Pope Francis).