Why I Didn’t Attend the March For Life

I am a Catholic living in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and I chose not to attend the March for Life. That will probably seem odd to many fellow Catholics who share my staunch pro-life views.

It shouldn’t. The fact is, the pro-life movement has overlooked a crucial point in the effort to end abortion: If Roe v. Wade is going to be overturned, it must be carried out with the respect for law that was neglected in its initial creation. Due process must be followed, or the laws we would enact to protect life will be easily overturned once again.

True and lasting reform of abortion law in this country can come about in one of three ways:
  1. Through legislation that challenges the constitutional interpretation made by the Supreme Court in 1973, leading to a new Supreme Court decision that effectively overrules Roe.
  2. Through a constitutional amendment.
  3. Through a law like HR 1094 — “The Sanctity of Life Act” — which would define life as beginning at conception and would remove Supreme Court and district court jurisdiction to review cases regarding the unborn or abortion. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul last year (he sponsored a similar bill in 2005), would circumvent the process of a constitutional amendment and require only a majority vote in Congress. The issue would then pass to the states.
And that brings us back to the March.

Operating within its Constitutional limitations, the Supreme Court should never be swayed by the protests and opinions of the public. It is not an elected body. If it oversteps its bounds by creating new laws or rights out of whole cloth, wouldn’t we be better off urging it to return to its Constitutional role than trying to exploit its improper activism for our own ends? Shouldn’t we want a court that does what it’s supposed to do as defined by the Constitution, rather than follow the whim of popular opinion, even if that opinion happens to be your own?

The unquestionably pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia addressed a similar concern in his opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey

In truth, I am as distressed as the Court is . . . about the “political pressure” directed to the Court: the marches, the mail, the protests aimed at inducing us to change our opinions. How upsetting it is, that so many of our citizens (good people, not lawless ones, on both sides of this abortion issue, and on various sides of other issues as well) think that we Justices should properly take into account their views, as though we were engaged not in ascertaining an objective law, but in determining some kind of social consensus. The Court would profit, I think, from giving less attention to the fact of this distressing phenomenon, and more attention to the cause of it. That cause permeates today’s opinion: a new mode of constitutional adjudication that relies not upon text and traditional practice to determine the law, but upon what the Court calls “reasoned judgment,” ante, at 849, which turns out to be nothing but philosophical predilection and moral intuition.

Pro-lifers in this country are rightfully desperate to end abortion, but in the process some have lost sight of the proper relationship between ends and means. The sense of urgency is natural, but we must proceed with caution if we do not wish to undermine the very work we are trying to accomplish.

One can’t help but recall the memorable exchange between St. Thomas More and the young William Roper in A Man for All Seasons:

William Roper:
So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More:
Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper:
Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More:
Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

This is why the March for Life should end at the steps of the Capitol, not the Supreme Court: Abortion on demand is a law in this country — a bad law, to be sure, but one that must be addressed first through the legislative branch, not the judicial. And that will require a massive change in the hearts and minds of the American people.

Barring some great shift, this simply will not happen at the national level; our country is still too divided on abortion to make any progress on that front. A constitutional amendment outlawing abortion would not currently pass the ratification process, which requires a simple majority vote in both houses of Congress and a two-thirds majority passage by the 50 states.

Sensible pro-lifers should therefore adopt a healthy federalism as part of their political philosophy, recognizing that in order for the holocaust of the unborn in this country to end, the issue must be decided by the American people at the state level. Common sense recommends it; the Constitution demands it.

By

Steve Skojec serves as the Director of Community Relations for a professional association. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he earned a BA in Communications and Theology. His passions include writing, photography, social media, and an avid appreciation of science fiction. Steve lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Jamie and their five children.

  • David L Alexander

    This is why the March for Life should end at the steps of the Capitol, not the Supreme Court

    I agree. Next year, I plan to stop at the Capitol, then march right over to The Dubliner. I’m told all the really cool people go there after the March.

    Just don’t all be there at once, okay?

  • Jeannine

    Am I missing something? The members of my group at the March for Life were given petitions to sign and deliver to the legislators from our area. I went to visit my congressman. There were long lines at the Senate and House office buildings. None of us went to try to lobby the Supreme Court.

    I attended the March to be a witness for the truth–to show that we will never give up this issue. The media may continue to ignore us, but we won’t just go away.

  • Zoe Romanowsky

    Steve, I never considered this point – that the march should end at the Capitol rather than the Supreme Court. It’s probably not something most have given much thought to. But I think you’re absolutely right.

    As for the Dubliner, Mr. Alexander, if you can find breathing room in there after the march you must have cool written all over you.

  • Grace Burns

    This is definitely an interesting spin on the Pro- Life March. I don’t know what the goals for the organizers of the march have but the majority of the people I know who attend are not so foolish to think that we can change the minds of the members of the court.

    In recent times the majority of the Supreme Court have treated the Consitution as the Almighty Document. Of course, they being gods, they can control how the “Document” can be used. We march in protest of their arrogance.

    The marchers know that those on Capitol Hill are very much aware of our presence and what we want them to do.

    And so we march and we pray because athough America may not be ready to support legislation to save the unborn, the babies themselves are certainly ready for it.

  • loretta@catholic.org

    So for you the March is about symbolism? Because I doubt that anyone was seriously thinking they were affecting the Supreme Court in any real way. You oppose the symbolism of them marching to the Court.
    So What.
    I’m sure that the majority of marchers were more interested in showing symbolic SUPPORT for LIFE.

    Can we really afford to be distracted by quibbling? (Sure, its important to know the process, blah,blah,blah, but was the March itself about the process?)People who put their life blood into standing for a cause need to be affirmed every now and then. They need to encourage each other by showing up.
    Is this really the best you could do?

  • Elise

    I don’t think marchers are naive enough to think they can change the minds of the SCOTUS justices. When I first attended the march as a teenager, it was just so important to know there were others out there who believed as I did. I think that’s why there were so many young people there this year. And even though marches cannot and should not influence the justices, they can influence elected officials who appoint and confirm justices.

  • David L Alexander

    Mr. Alexander, if you can find breathing room in there after the march you must have cool written all over you.

    That’s right, Miss Zoe, and let me tell ya, it sure beats the days when guys used to put “Kick Me” signs on my back in high school.

  • Steve skojec

    For what it’s worth, my thoughts are not a condemnation or even a criticism of those attending the March, but rather a perspective on why I find it to be a superfluous (and therefore not extremely important) gesture.

    Space constraints here make nuance a bit difficult, but suffice it to say that my essential position is this: if you want to go to the March, great! Just don’t mistake it for an act that is moving us closer to our pro-life goals. If it’s more of a pep-rally or an opportunity to hang out with (and preach a bit to) the choir, and you enjoy that kind of thing, by all means go. It fails, however, as an effective political statement.

    It is vitally important that the thousands of people who attend the March don’t stop there. Those who take the time to visit their Senators and Representatives are on the right track, even if it hasn’t been a particularly effective one. Many don’t do this, however, or are even aware how to go about it appropriately.

    The pro-life vote is pandered to by Presidential (and Congressional) candidates who rarely deliver, and yet we continue voting for “pro-life conservatives” who literally phone it in to the Marchers in January. And nothing changes.

    I’d personally rather focus my efforts on the potential solutions available to us, rather than the March.

    Maybe as an idealistic youth I was simply foolish in thinking that it was an outward-focused event rather than an inward-focused one, but I think a lot of the young people who show up each year by the busload are probably thinking the same thing.

    I encourage disagreement on this issue. I think “quibbling” (if by “quibbling” we mean debating the finer points of a big issue) is healthy if its constructive and moves us toward more tenable positions and actions.

  • Jackson, NJ

    Were the civil rights marches also, well, unimportant?

  • Chuck Weber

    Mr. Skojec is probably not aware–or may not care–that The March this year served as a crucial focal point for a myriad of new, highly innovative and truly culture-changing projects and initiatives that will carry on far beyond the streets of D.C. and steps of the SCOTUS or Capital–initiatives to completely and drastically change the way women and couples view birth control/family planning, marriage,women’s health, ongoing care for women and children in need, attitudes about human sexuality, prayer, spirituality and much more. Yes, the March may indeed serve on one level as a “pep rally” of sorts for some–even most. Pinch us–we’re human–working in the trenches is hard stuff that sometimes requires a morale boost. But to snort at and dismiss the Marchers and simply assume we think it is an end-all answer to the destruction of human life is absurd and smacks of condescending elitism. Now, if THAT advances the pro-Life agenda…keep it up and thank you!

  • David L Alexander

    Chuck Weber wrote: But to snort at and dismiss the Marchers and simply assume we think it is an end-all answer to the destruction of human life is absurd and smacks of condescending elitism.

    No, just an assessment which underestimates the relationship between an overwhelming act of witness, and “working in the trenches.”

  • Joe Healy

    Very interesting perspective. I agree that it shouldn’t be about the Supreme Court, so much as the legislators. As others have pointed out, many thousands of people stop at the Congressional offices and pay a visit to their US representatives.

    I’m all for stopping at the Capitol then heading off to the Dubliner next year!

    P.S. – Another fine reason why the US needs Ron Paul.

  • Peter

    I agree completely with you. There is a bill in right now H.R. 300 which would negate Roe v. Wade. Going to DC is now an annual tradition that has lost 90% of it’s meaning. The courts caused the problem, and while we lose 3,000 days HOPING for a pro-life judiciary to first get those justices elected, THEN to get them to hear the case, THEN to rule in favor of the pro-life cause.

    We can overturn Roe v. Wade tomorrow through congress, and no one even realizes it. I asked a couple people if they knew of ANY other way to negate Roe v. Wade and immiedately start saving thousands of lives each and every day, they could not come up with a single way. Think about that: Thousands of lives saved, and we still march and convince ourselves we’re making a difference by shooting ourselves in the foot. We need to focus on Pro-Life legislators, not justices.

  • Steve Skojec

    I find it interesting (though not surprising) that the reaction to my comments is so strong. One of the reasons I wrote this is because I’ve begun to suspect I’m viewed by some as a pro-life apostate simply because I’m not interested in participating in the March, as if I’m a scabber defying the pro-life union and breaking the picket line.

    The March this year served as a crucial focal point for a myriad of new, highly innovative and truly culture-changing projects and initiatives that will carry on far beyond the streets of D.C. and steps of the SCOTUS or Capital…

    Crucial? How? I’d love to see the results of these projects and how much they tie their eventual success or failure to their relationship to this event. Is this claim based on the March being used as a venue to increase their visibility?

    …to snort at and dismiss the Marchers and simply assume we think it is an end-all answer to the destruction of human life is absurd and smacks of condescending elitism.

    Hmm. To “snort at and dismiss”? “Condescending elitism?” I realize in looking back at my piece, which had to be trimmed in the interest of space, that something I had put in as a consideration in the original draft had been left out in the final:

    I have attended the March for Life for years. I’m not above it. I’ve walked that cold road, praying my rosary, numerous times. I’ve gone with family, with friends, with classmates and with my parish. I’ve even braved the Dubliner afterward for the requisite pints of celebratory Guinness.

    It is precisely my experience with the March, however, that was the initial inspiration for my deviation from the accepted wisdom. There came a point where I realized that it was a bit too much preaching to the choir, a show without an audience, and that made it seem a lot less appealing to me.

    I still get it. I understand the desire to go. Many of my friends and family still attend, and fortunately we can discuss this without my being labeled an “elitist”. Fortunately, I’m not alone amongst former attendees in coming to this same conclusion.

    With respect to Mr. Alexander’s comments (hello, David, by the way)…I disagree with him – I don’t think it actually is a particularly overwhelming witness. It can’t be overwhelming when very few people who aren’t involved pay it any attention. I was speaking today to another Catholic friend who works in the DC area, and he mentioned that despite the fact that he had the news on all day at work on Tuesday, he hadn’t even realized that the March had taken place until after the fact.

    All of this is to say – again – that my piece was never intended as a condemnation or even a criticism of the Marchers (see my earlier comment in this thread) but as a discussion point on the focus of our efforts and a bit of cold water on the reality of the effectiveness of the event itself as a political statement.

    People spend a lot of time and money and effort to go to Washington for one day to show up for the cause, and it’s admirable of them to do so. Still, I can’t help but wonder if all those resources were diverted to say, one of the myriad innovative new programs, how much more effective that might be.

  • Jody

    Why must it be one or the other? A large march encourages other pro-life citizens and raises our visibility even if the main stream media ignores it. It serves a useful purpose for encouragement and recruitment of like minded individuals, and perhaps changes a few minds.

    Marches cannot stand alone. We need legislation to change the law and it will likely need to start at the state level. We also need to elect a President who will appoint constitutional judges and not judges who legislate from the bench. We must also petition our elected senators to quickly approve these qualified jurists.

    It does not have to be one or the other. It will take legislative action as well as petitioning our elected officials, visible marches, and public awareness as a part of a sychronized information operations campaign.

    Ubi concordia, ibi Victoria (Where is the unity, there is the victory.) – Roman proverb

  • Hilary White

    Errr…

    so Steve, see if I’ve got this right.

    You didn’t go to the March because it ends in the wrong place?

  • Samuel J. Howard

    Change can also happen by the court ruling that the previous cases were decided wrongly on the law and remedying that mistake. Unless you think the law is whatever the justices say it is, they are fallible and can make mistakes in interpretation.

    It’s not lobbying the court to change the law. It’s lobbying the court to do its duty and rule in accordance with the way the law is.

  • Brian Saint-Paul

    Samuel J. Howard wrote: It’s not lobbying the court to change the law. It’s lobbying the court to do its duty and rule in accordance with the way the law is.

    Hi Samuel,

    I think that might be a distinction without a difference. While you’re certainly correct about the law, the lobbying you encourage is still lobbying — even if it’s aimed in the right direction. And that seems to be precisely the kind of “political pressure” that Justice Scalia decries in Steve’s piece.

  • Amberly Boerschinger

    What an interesting viewpoint and addition to the pro-life dialogue. I too have often felt an outsider because I don’t march or pray outside the clinics. It isn’t because I don’t think there is a place for it, but because I find that God is calling me with my gifts and talents to serve in other capacities.

    I come from a family that cares for foster children. I come from a family that when the youngest biological child was 17, my parents adopted a 2-year-old boy who was in their care. I come from a family that regularly witnesses to this ministry to faithful and unchurched alike. It is that kind of pro-life witness that changes hearts. I’ve seen it.

    There is a much bigger illness in the world that can’t simply be changed through legislation. All the laws and enforcement in the world will not change the mind of a desperate, jobless, mother of five when she discovers she is pregnant with number 6. Laws won’t soothe the heart, mind, and soul a women faced with an unexpected life in her womb when she must make the choice to carry her baby 10 months to term and then be tragically seperated from it in its better interest or to end its life before she thinks she will bond with it, forever scarring herself and her relationship with the world.

    I suppose, at least in my mind, it comes down to one thing. We are Catholic. We are all parts of one body and the hand does not serve the same purpose as the foot. However, we should be aware, grateful, and respectful of the abilities and efforts of each part of the body, knowing that we all come from God with a unique purpose. It is out of our gratitude for God’s greatest gift, life, that we must pray and serve on its behalf.

  • A K

    I thoroughly appreciate your point of view. As a homemaker & homeschooler, I’m far too busy with my vocation (and energy level ;)to do the actual work of changing the law. I leave that to those much more qualified. I don’t apologize for that, rather I do what I can. I took my kids because I thought it was a beautiful witness to them & a boost to me. We are not alone in caring for the unborn. It was wonderful and amazing to see so many people who care about this issue and to feel a real sense of Christian community all fighting for one important cause together. It was for us that I went. My husband also came (probably out of curiosity) and he is not a Christian and not necessarily even pro-life. I was thrilled for the witness it gave to him. There is strength in numbers and visibly encountering those numbers is empowering and uplifting. Thank you for your thoughts on this issue. You are right, I believe, that we are called to fight in different ways and that we need to do more than just attend this march if we want the change. But if our goal for the march is not to change the law, but rather to rally the troops, than I think it achieves it’s goal beautifully. To stand on the mall listening to the talks with the capital building in the background surrounded by thousands in agreement was a powerful experience for me. Hopefully, as you suggest, we all leave there feeling empowered and go about the business of real change. I would also add that it is not an easy day to get through what with the freezing cold, huge crowds, and waiting, waiting, waiting. But, the grace we can all receive by offering that up for the issue surely makes it worthwhile.

  • Steve Skojec

    I’ve had some interest on my blog in this discussion and have decided to share additional thoughts there.

    You can find my latest post on the topic here:

    http://tinyurl.com/2ongzx

  • David Ross

    Steve:

    This is the first time I have ever read anything into your opinion as to the proper strategy for pro-lifers, but I am trying to figure out how your article and your related post on your blog is anything but a call to give up.

    Until Roe v. Wade is overturned, nothing of substance can be “decided by the American people at the state level.

  • John

    Crises, is that you?

  • Steve Skojec

    David,

    I assure you that it’s not a defeatist attitude, but a realist one.

    When I first started to think that maybe the March for Life wasn’t the best use of my time, I mentioned the feeling to a group of Catholic friends I corresponded with online. One responded with something that I think bears serious consideration:

    In the time I have spent in the pro-life movement, I have had one thing nagging at me. What did Mary ask us to do to save the world
    from these horrible and escalating sins?

    Fast. Pray the Rosary. Make reparation to the Sacred Heart.

    But whenever we stop to think about those things, we do the same thing. Everyone in the pro-life movement does it. We all figure, naw…that stuff’s for the little old ladies.

    I’ve got big important grown-up things to do.

    I’ve got to organize a march, make some picket signs, do a little federal lobbying. I’ll pray the Rosary when I’m retired from all this stuff.

    And what we get is everyone doing their own thing and nothing changing. I remember the realization I had that changing the laws, even if we were able to do so, was not going to solve the problem. The problem is the loss of the Faith…and it has poisoned the minds and souls of everyone. The character of our laws and nations simply justly reflect what we want. We want to kill babies. We want to sexually abuse minors. We want to kill our old people. The reason we want these things is because we have abandoned Christ and his Church. Well, what’s the solution to that, realistically?

    Prayer. Fasting. Reparation. The spiritual arsenal. Our war is against powers and dominions. The trouble is, the weapons look like
    toys for children, so we go off doing our rallies, our lobbying, our writing and whatnot all the time thinking we are doing the sensible
    grown-up thing.

    I’m not interested, David, in abandoning this war. I want to find ways to fight it effectively.

  • John

    Sorry I could not read all the comments, but thank you to Steve and to all of you for all of this discussion–NOW we’re getting somewhere!!!

  • Steven Brust

    There is a very good argument to be made that the Constitution under the 5th , and 14th amendments due process clauses and the 14th amendments equal protection clause do include the right of the unborn not to be deprived of life without due process of law (and although I don’t have time to explain it, this means life can only deprived of life if it deserves to be — i.e., the life is not innocent and has committed crimes punishable by death), and to have the unborn’s life protected just as equally by the law as every other human who is within the geographical areas where the U.S. Constitution applies.

    Other Catholic legal scholars have made this point. Thus, Mr. Howard’s comment about it is “lobbying” the Court to rule in accordance with what the law is — could be correct if the way the law is meant is: “the way the Constitution is.” Thus, Mr. Saint-Paul’s comment about the “political pressure” that Scalia is worried about isn’t a bad thing — because it is pressure to get the Supreme Court justices to do their job.

    Yes, I do think Scalia is wrong in not including the unborn as persons under the Constitution. This relates to the Thomas More quote from Bolt’s play. I am not exactly sure about the relation of the quote to Mr. Skojec’s following remarks regarding legislative v. judiciary branches, but nevertheless, in this case of the Court and abortion, we are not cutting down laws, but trying to get the court to change its “bad” one. We must remember that man’s laws must always be in conformity with God’s law — eternal law, which for man is the natural moral law. Thus, the Roe v. Wade and other pro-abortion decisions are not laws at all. Remember that an unjust law is no law at all — which JPII reminds us in EV #72.

    (Although some like to argue the distinction between a law can be legally valid but is morally evil or unjust , I don’t think this is what Thomas and JPII says.)

    Thus, as a SC Justice, you must not recognize these precedents as laws and allow restrictions on state level and also have the unborn covered under the constitution. In other words they are not “settled law.” Thus, Scalia wouldn’t have a problem of listening to political pressure on this issue. He should do what a Justice could and should do.

    (On a side note, I have always wondered about whether More actually said those words that Bolt has him speak and that quote has concerned me, along with the ambiguity in the treatment of conscience in that movie. We shouldn’t appeal to a saying from the Patron Saint of lawyers and politicians unless we are sure of him being the source.)

    I do agree that hearts and minds do need to be changed to help change the law at state and federal legislative and constitutional amendment level — but I think that could be bypassed with good Justices who interpret the Constitution as including unborn children. Thus, I am pretty much disagree with your last statement that the “Constitution demands it [your way of proceeding].” I think there is another view to this as I tried to explain above.

    Lastly, even if it is decided at the state level — what happens if one state says yes and another no? Eventually it will be decided at the federal level — Either it is wrong for all of us or right for all of us. This, last point, of course, pertains to the fundamental question of what unites us.

  • John

    “NOW we’re getting somewhere!!!”

    You’re just joshing us, Steve and Brian, ain’tja?

    Maybe it’s sweeps week.

    If not, where were we, then, that was so bad? 35 years of prayer, fasting, reparation (not by just “little old ladies”)that informs the laity’s obligation to reform the material order in justice (see Rerum Novarum et al) by all just means including marching, rallying, picketing, lobbying, aka witnessing to Truth, to electorate, legislators, and judiciary (Scalia notwithstanding) and funding and staffing crisis pregnancy centers and myriad other social service ministries. The March for Life is not the problem.

  • Francis Wippel

    This has been an interesting discussion to follow. While I see the author’s point of view, I still believe Roe v. Wade needs to be overturned before any legislation, Federal or State, can truly be effective. Right now, any piece of legislation which offers the slightest hint of restricting abortion “rights” gets cast as violating Roe v. Wade. Anyone who watched the battle to outlaw partial-birth abortion will remember this. And unless pro-lifers in the Senate manage to obtain at least 60 seats anytime in the near future, any piece of Federal legislation which attempts to undercut Roe v. Wade will never receive a cloture vote.

    Justice Scalia is correct when he says that the court should not be swayed by public opinion. He has also stated that abortion is not a subject specifically addressed in the constitution. Until the constitution is amended to address abortion, this issue should be dealt with at the state level. So I believe the March ending at the Supreme Court is appropriate until the court overturns a bad ruling it made 35 years ago, and allows this issue to be dealt with via legislation.

  • JP2Feminist

    The March for Life isn’t about where we march or why we march, it is about each individual who marches. It is about those people (young people!) who take the time to travel great distances to unite in prayer (Vigil Mass at the Basilica) and rally for the cause (Convention Center)– many for the first time! It is about changing hearts one at a time, each person experiencing the power of speaking in one voice, encouraging our religious and political leaders to come forward, committing oneself to going back home to convince others that human life is sacred, and most of all, making the conscious decision to live a chaste life because abortion is a by-product of our sexually permissive society. Save all this hyper-analysis, please! See the power of the March for Life in each person who cares enough to be there in freezing temperatures, no less!

  • Mary

    I have never been to a March for Life or stood outside of an abortion clinic without praying the Rosary. All the pro-lifers I know (and I know many) pray the Rosary, fast and make reparation to the Sacred Heart. They do these spiritual works by and through their attendance at the March for Life and through their witness in front of abortion mills. Getting up at six in the morning to stand in the cold in front of an abortion mill while praying the rosary or trudging through the streets of DC in the rain while praying the Rosary are two of the acts which will end abortion. All the 1,000s of voices raised in prayer, song and witness do more good than you seem willing to admit. The great and large hardships attendees endure offer up are the acts which will finally tip the scales of justice. For you to suggest otherwise makes me wonder what you did when you were at the March. The young and old pro-lifers I know pray and fast constantly. We do these things in front of abortion mills and on the streets of DC and other cities in order to, as God has commanded, to give witness and to join our prayers and works together, not alone as you suggest.

  • Mister Beee

    Steve, you bring up an interesting observation. Certainly noteworthy of discussion. But I would have to agree with Loretta and others that we cannot quibble about this to the point that we become divisive. Regardless of where we think the march should begin or end, we need to remain united in our cause. The devil would like nothing more than to divide this house called the pro-life movement.

  • Richard

    I have to disagree with Mr. Skojec on where the march should end because it was not the Congress that condemned the unborn, but arrogant justices who will probably learn a lot about justice after they die. Once, when the USA was a nation of laws, it would have made sense to march onto the capital building, but since we are now a nation of personalities, of judges who can twist the constitution to mean anythong they want, marching on the capital building is wrongheaded. Of course marching will do little to change the arrogance of our tyranncal judges, but at least it is a witness that some of us still oppose the slaughter of innocents.

  • Fr. B

    Within our culture here in the USA if there is an important issue to be declared as a public or a wrong to be righted, the way to do that is by having a march in Washington. Yes, there are many other things to do, and no, not everyone can make the march … but to look down on it saying you’ve found a superior way … pathetic.

  • peter wilson

    The road to hell is paved with bad laws. In the pre-Holocaust days of early Nazi Germany and in the Dredd Scott decision of 1857–legal justifications led to sure and certain catastrophes in the ensuing years.

  • Aaron Traas

    Steve,

    I agree with you in terms of jurisprudence, and that the primary means by which many pro-lifers wish to seek this change probably foolish.

    I do, however, think the March for Life has value. If hundreds of thousands of men of good will take off from work and travel across the country to attend the march, it adds to the visibility of the the pro-life movement in general. The media, the education system, etc. wishes to promote a view that all but a handful of extreme, insane nutjobs are against abortion on demand. I like to, personally, add to that number.

    You know me — I’m not at all a fan of democracy. In fact, I think it’s one of the worst forms of government that we humans have come up with. I also think that if someone is strongly pro-life, and Catholic, his first priorities should be prayer, fasting, and evangelization to the ends of the conversion of souls. However, staying relevant in the public mind is important.

  • Scotty

    Great provacative piece and a great discussion!

    I have attend the March for Life twice (’07, ‘0smilies/cool.gif, and this year I will be a chaperone to a high school group. For most of them, it’s their first time attending the March.

    I’m convinced that the March for Life isn’t the most effective political action, yet there is something that goes beyond “political” every January 22.

    I agree with JP2Feminist that we’re missing the point. I’ve seen the lives of young people change at the March as they behold a “cloud of witnesses” marching, praying, singing, witnessing for life. Of course, it takes much more courage to be among five or six people praying, singing and witnessing for life at the local Planned Parenthood on a Saturday morning. But if young and old depart Washington D.C. committed to witnessing to life in their homes, at work, and among their circle of friends and co-workers, then something significant has been achieved.

  • Melissa

    Steve,
    I relate completely to you on the March, and appreciate your willingness to take a “beating” for your honesty! As a former resident of DC, I would like to make an additional point: that the March doesn’t open the hearts and minds of those who make a daily living there. Instead of seeing another way of looking at the issue of abortion, most people see a bunch of people clogging traffic, hoisting signs, and harping about an issue. It’s seen as preaching to the choir, not engaging in meaningful dialogue. And that is where I see the March falling short. It talks AT people, not TO people.

  • Chris

    Steve,
    I applaud your willingness to weigh in on the subject of the Pro-life March, on what you knew would be an unpopular view, but it is unpopular because you are wrong. The anniversary of this great injustice demands that people stand up as witnesses! Of course you are right in many ways about what would have to happen politically, but you do not understand the March.
    The March is a witness. It is a pilgrimage. It is an annoyance. It is St. John the Baptist shouting at the top of his lungs. It is the woman washing Jesus’ feet with precious oil.
    The March is annoying, embarrassing, frustrating, and impractical; these are the exact reasons I go!
    I need to be inconvenienced. I need to make the trek down to D.C. Perhaps it was different for you because you lived there, but that might be one of the reasons that you cannot “see it”.
    The March is a great public witness to the evil of abortion. No parade is ever practical.
    Yet people need a parade-either to celebrate or to mourn. Of course in this one we mourn. All of the other avenues named by you should be pursued, but this is not either/or.
    I do need to be there out of solidarity. I will also be bold enough to say that all who can be there (this excepts many mothers and fathers of course) need to be there.
    We must stand at the foot of the Cross.

  • Mark

    I truly understand what the author is saying. As an attorney myself, I truly do.

    But the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement must not merely be to change the law in the best way possible, such that it cannot be easily changed back, or such that it preserves our present form of government. Our present form of government was not divinely revealed and must not be held in esteem above natural law principles.

    By way of contrast, it is divinely revealed that God knows us before we born and that we are not to murder innocents. The goal of the pro-life movement is–and must be–to save lives. Should we attempt to change the law smartly and effectively? Sure. But in the meantime we must also stand as a witness for the truth and in defense of the defenseless. The latter is, and must be our first priority.

    Hearts are changing every day (I know mine was changed), and we cannot give up now, abandoning the truth to political process. We must continue to show outrage, concern and genuine dismay at the loss of human life. People need to be exposed to the truth and shocking horror of the text that is Roe v. Wade. To read it and not be taken aback, is in my opinion, impossible for any moderately-formed conscience.

    So we must tell people what abortion is, show them what it does. We must pray, we must fast, we must offer masses in reparation. We must go to the Lord. We must seek the help of Our Lady. We must stand up for life always and everywhere. Not just in the long term political process, but in our every day lives–including in the streets of Washington.

  • Brian English

    I always viewed the March for Life as ending at the Supreme Court because that is where Roe was issued, but the March itself was intended to show Congress and the White House the political strength of the Pro-Life movement.

    I have never perceived it as an attempt to intimidate the Supreme Court, nor do I believe the Supreme Court could be intimidated.

    We need five justices who acknowledge Roe was wrongly decided based on Constitutional grounds, and the only way we will get those five justices is if the President and the Senate put them there.

    Ron Paul’s Sanctity of Life Act will not work. Even if it survived the challenge to its constitutionality (the language in Article III of the Constitution cited by Paul’s supporters has never been used to strip the federal courts of the jurisdiction to review cases involving an established constitutional right), it overlooks the fact that state supreme courts are required to enforce the federal Constitution. Consequently, state supreme courts would still overturn laws that conflicted with Roe.

    Roe is the problem. Until it is overturned, abortion can only be minimally restricted.

  • Mrs. O

    Unless I missed something, you can pass legislation all day long and the Supreme Court will over turn it.
    The Supreme Court should not have that right, but the way it is now, they can. We can pass legislation in our States, then again, it will be overturned.
    Not till some power is limited in what the Supreme Court has. I spoke with Fr. Pavone about this because our State was close to passing legislation but a series of things must occur first and it is going to start in the Supreme Court and end in the Congress.

  • Young Adult Catholic

    This article is LAME!!!

  • georgie-ann

    the greatest thing to fear (imho) in this issue/debate (Pro-Life), is even beyond any of the consequences to humans–whether inflicted on another (the innocent), or self-inflicted by the consequences of “the choice” made,…the greatest horror is: “what are you saying to God when you choose/permit/allow this procedure?”

    the absolute callous disregard for God’s sovereign, majestic, miraculous handi-Work called the Creation of Individual “Life,” is the level of human blindness & dumbness that we have sunk to,…caused by (1) “my” personal suffering & inconveniences being “too much to bear,” (2) the “intelligence” of the medical/scientific world reducing everything to the level of de-personalized & de-spiritualized bio-molecular interactions, (3) pragmatic social-engineering needs of law-makers & courts,…

    God IS the Life-Giver!,…”professing themselves wise, they became fools,”…when we sell-out the life of another, we sell-out our own lives along with it,…only if we value life across the board, will our own lives be dignified and valued,…strange how those in darkness believe they are seeing light,…

    the March on Washington is a wonderful testimony by people who see & walk by the true Light,…more power to you!,…God Bless You!

  • Joe H

    While I have certain issues with the March myself, this is not one of them.

    Steve is not the first Catholic I’ve met that has quoted “A Man for All Seasons” – regular commenter R.C., whom I respect a great deal for his knowledge and logic, uses this alot as well. Here’s why I think it is misused.

    In the first place, no one is talking about chopping down the laws to get at the devil – the argument is that it is already chopped down, and the devil did it.

    In the second place, deference to the law, while good in most cases, must absolutely be rejected in others. MLK’s letter out of the Birmingham Jail, with its scathing reproach of the “white moderates” is a good counter-argument; so, for that matter, is the behavior of Christ himself, who incurred the wrath of the Pharisees by apparently breaking their laws, with no greater a defense than the charge of hypocrisy (since the Pharisees were doing it too).

    That doesn’t mean that I necessarily believe that the goal of trying to influence the Supreme Court with a march is a viable one – if that is indeed the goal of the movement, and I’m not sure that it is. But if it were possible to do so, I see no reason why it ought not to be done.

    One can hardly argue that the end result of it would be anarchy, since at the core the right-to-life movement is simply about restoring a natural right, one of the core rights whose protection gives government legitimacy in the first place, at least according to our Anglo-American Enlightenment heritage.

  • Mark

    A Gallup Poll, conducted May 7, 2009, found 51% of Americans calling themselves “pro-life” on the issue of abortion and 42% “pro-choice.” This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life.

    This is why I believe that the March has been effective. While the MSM have been obnoxiously pro-abortion, the March has communicated the truth to the youth of America via families, schools and communities slowly and steadily. As this momentum continues, it will not be long before being a “pro-choice” politician will be as detrimental to getting re-elected as it was a short while back for a “pro-lifer”

    God bless the Marchers!

    Note to Joe H… apparently Massachusetts didn’t get your memo regarding the death of the Republican Party smilies/smiley.gif

  • Silent No more

    I appreciate this author’s viewpoint & the respondents; plus add to them some of my own:

    God calls us to be faithful to Truth and that is what makes us successful; in God’s eyes. Blessed Mother Teresa knew this.

    It is important to do the right thing even and especially if no one is even aware of our actions. It makes a cosmic difference; it atones for sins committed.

    This March is a witness (a white martyrdom) to the Truth of the Sanctity of Life.

    This March is a ministry of the possibility of healing to the living victims of abortion (the family); a voice for chastity to the youth of this Nation and to the world.. broadcasted through EWTN. (Secular news is proving itself to be dead and ultimately ineffectivce as it compromises its once held principles.)

    This March is an educational tool for all humanity; all religions; not merely a fruitless preaching to “the choir.”
    All aborted children delight in its message before their Creator.

    This March is the fruit of our spiritual & devotional prayers; most especially the Rosary. It is not our March, but to those with eyes of faith; it is born of Divine Mercy Himself though the intercession of His Blessed Mother.

    Go to http://www.virtualmarchforlife.com and be part of the March while simultaneouslly effecting a political solution, if that is your particular calling. All facets of the Light are vitally needed.

    Let us become a “both/and” people; not simply an “either/or” people. Let’s not be concerned about making D.C. or any other peoples uncomfortable or inconvenienced at our presence in the Name of Christ.

    God is working in this…His timing is perfect; He will open political doors in His Wisdom; as we remain faithful to this March; this particular Witness for Christ…in His timing and not in ours. It is our reasonable service to God.

    (In memory of baby Rose; 1981–Hope Clinic–IL.)

    Praise God–the MA. “Kennedy Seat” is truly the peoples’ seat after all!!!

  • John Jakubczyk

    No movement ever succeeded without taking to the streets.

    If we are not there, the enemy claims we have left the field.

    If we all use this as a means of reminding each other why we sacrifice as we do, then it provides us all with a source for renewed vigilance.

    Finally when the U.S. Supreme Court screws up as terrible as it did, not only should the people have marched in 1974 but the Congress should have impeached the seven who voted that it was legal to kill people. It remains a crime against humanity and just because the court did not do the actual killing, it gave the scalpel to the abortionists who have butchered over 50,000,000 children. So for Scalia to be concerned about the roar of the people is to forget that this government was formed by the people, for the people, to protect the people. If the law will not protect our children, then we have to change the law and those who enforce it.

  • Jeff

    I think that when hoi polloi has the right instincts they are often much better than those of keen analysts.

    I can’t fault your analysis…it’s careful and sensible. And as far as I can see completely wrong.

    The point about protesting in front of the Supreme Court is not to “pressure the court” into coming to a different legal conclusion.

    It is to assert as citizens that the Supreme Court has left behind the role of the judge and taken up the role of the advocate. To assert that it is the COURT which has become political by adopting a method of judging laws which is not really judging at all.

    This is something which the citizenry ought to protest and to express its outrage about.

    All the more so when it has resulted in a decision to declare a basic evil to be a basic right.

    To protest Roe v. Wade in front of the Court is to say that the decision is a travesty. A travesty which makes a mockery of the Court. And which inevitably destroys respect for the Court since people will naturally–and understandably–see many of its decisions as dishonest.

    All of this is to be applauded not drawn back from as if to keep our fingers from getting soiled.

    But in any case, the March for Life is at least as much directed toward Congressmen and President, calling on them to vote in every way possible to restrict abortion…through legislation, through Amendment, through appointment of honest Supreme Court justices.

    A very poor reason for keeping away from the March, I’m afraid.

  • John Hellmann

    I agree that the hearts of many will have to be changed before the Supreme Court reverses itself, but this is precisely why we need to support the March for Life. In order to achieve our goal we must be clear as to what it means to be against abortion.

    Clinton, Obama, etc claim to be against abortion. That is, they want to reduce the

  • John Hellmann
  • John Hellmann
  • Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick

    Steve:

    Haven’t you ever read anything about the March? Or talked to Nellie Gray?

    The purpose of the March is to lobby Congress for the “Paramount Human Life Amendment.” The March has nothing to do with the Supreme Court–lobbying the Court, that is.

    A thirty-second conversation with Nellie Gray could have cleared that up for you.

    Personally, since the Court is apparently still hopeless, and since the election of pro-life Presidents hasn’t helped, and lobbying Congress for legislation and Constitutional amendments has been useless, I am in favor of state nullification.

    NOT for the purpose of creating a case to take to the Supreme Court, but for the purpose of saving babies’ lives and fulfilling the duty of state officials, which duty to afford the protection of the law to the unborn never was abrogated and can never be abrogated.

  • Joe H

    Note to Joe H… apparently Massachusetts didn’t get your memo regarding the death of the Republican Party smilies/smiley.gif

    Well, I can’t deny that things certainly look better for them now.

    But if they can’t improve as a national party, I don’t think local victories are going to move it out of permanent minority status.

    If they get their act together and nominate a candidate that can reach out to a broader political constituency, then they may yet survive. If they nominate Sarah Palin in a few years, my guess is that my prediction will bear itself out.

    Both parties have the same problem in recent history – the fuel of their victories is simply the electorate’s hatred for the incumbent. In the long run this means that some other factor has to tip the balance. I believe the demographic factors that work against the GOP are that factor.

  • Grace

    I think that it isn’t a case of either/or, but both/and.
    The article makes a good point, but I still think the March is a worthwhile and effective part of the fight. Why? Because it helped me become aware of the issue and of the truth of Catholicism. I somehow got onto Lifesitenews as a Protestant and I read it daily, “even though” it was Catholic.[smiley=shock]I remember being impressed by their coverage of the March, by the fact that people were willing to get out there, sacrificing their time and energy, to march. I am sure I am not the only one. [smiley=happy]

  • Ann

    In reference to Melissa’s post about clogging the roads of DC and tarring the life message through annoying the residents- I lived in DC many years and was always interested in those groups who took the time to make their beliefs public. That is one of the privileges of living in our nation’s capital.
    With regards to many of these posts- it appears like a lot of poor me attitude- I have never felt as if anyone involved in the pro life community was judging anyone for how they exhibit their commitment to life. Perhaps these are personal issues people are dealing with in their lives that need to be addressed.
    Finally, the original post was off in its analysis in my opinion.The clear purpose of the march is not to lobby the justices which is such an odd take that I too wonder if it was an attempt to generate comments- which I have found uninspiring and unhelpful to the pro life community. Certainly many speak of overturning Roe v. Wade but I do not know of anyone who thinks that lobbying the court is how that is done.

  • Elisa

    Marches, protests, walks for something or another, demonstrations, etc–that’s part of working and living in the metro DC area. You just get used to it.

    Unfortunately this one doesn’t get the publicity it deserves. It gets local mention for road closures and maybe a photo or two in the “Washington Post” later that week. It looks great that international pro-lifers are joining this march. Hey, the more, the merrier!
    Obama can blow this off like he did with his attitude last year but he’ll be in for a rude awakening 3 years down the road…

  • Marcylee

    To John Hellman,

    Thank you for posting the website

    DefendingTheBride.com…

    As a new Catholic, I love it!!

    God bless.

  • JAH

    Steve:

    Newsflash – it was the Supreme Court that made abortion legal, not the congress. The March protests the Court making law.

    And yes, by all means stay at home, do nothing and be content that your “tricky little point” that stupid prolifers don’t understand calms your conscience.

    Very good decision indeed.

  • Brian English

    “Personally, since the Court is apparently still hopeless, and since the election of pro-life Presidents hasn’t helped, and lobbying Congress for legislation and Constitutional amendments has been useless, I am in favor of state nullification.”

    Father, it is not enough to have a pro-life President. We need a pro-life President AND a solid-enough majority in the Senate that justices who recognize what Roe really is can be confirmed.

    The most critical moment for the pro-life movement in the last 25 years was in 1987, when Robert Bork’s nomination was defeated and Anthony Kennedy joined the Supreme Court instead. If Bork had been on the Court, Roe would have been reversed in the 1992 Casey decision. The consequences of not having enough pro-life votes in the Senate in 1987 are still with us.

  • Scotty

    Steve is not the first Catholic I’ve met that has quoted “A Man for All Seasons”

    A Man for All Seasons is a great play, with an even better movie adaptation. But the problem is that people take Robert Bolt’s fictional dialogue and then put the exact words in More’s mouth. I have not read More extensively, and I would be interested to know if Bolt took the premises of the More/Roper exchange from any of More’s writings, then weaved them into the dialoge of that scene.

    Until then, those are Bolt’s words speaking through More, not More’s through Bolt.

  • Martin

    The March for Life is a public witness for the sanctity of life. It’s not about lobbying the Supreme Court; it’s about changing minds and hearts

  • Rev. Peter M. Calabrese

    I would like to respectfully disagree.

    1) The Court did not decide Roe V Wade on the basis of law but on ideology. Every Court that fails to acknowledge and correct this is guilty of continuing it. The Court is an institution and protesting there tells the court it must revisit that case. IT receives many opportunities to do so but always limits its decisions.

    2) We are there to mourn. Those dark robed executioners did there dirty deed there. You don’t prevent anti-Semitism by going to Auschwitz but you go there to mourn and keep the memory alive. You fight the battel everywhere eles the rest of the time, but you keep Auschwitz for a reason.

    3) Many use the trip to Washington to lobby their Congressional reps.

    4) Actually a law won;t do it since SCOTUS has declared abortion to be covered under a Constitutional right. Only an amendment or a changed court case could do it. A law passed by both houses and signed by the President would still have to be brought before the Court so it could reverse its decision. The law would be immediately challenged and the Courts would use precedent to block enforcement until SCOTUS did its thing. SCOTUS created the monster – SCOTUS is where it must end – to return to each State.

    5) Using your logic you wold have to go to the White House since any bill passed at the Capitol would have to be signed by POTUS.

    In short, sir, stand ad be counted go to the march – join us. We will fight all the other ways the other 364 days. For one day the murderers need to hear themselves called what they are.

  • job

    Steve,

    My initial reaction to your essay was, “Just so!” It so exuded common sense and such a refreshing understanding of the misguided if not useless grand-scaled gesture – which, as the comments that ensued show, is not always the most pleasant thing to hear – that I couldn’t help but agree with your main points.

    But (you heard that coming, didn’t you?) the more I thought about it, the more something wasn’t adding up. I speak of those from my diocese although I know other dioceses also sponsor official trips to DC to participate – but I wonder: do all these Catholics go just because they want to, a la 1960s peaceniks, etc. “demonstrate” for life? Does the march simply indicate a linear march through the avenues of Powertown, hitting all the crucial beacons and belwethers along the way? Or is there something more going on?

    What doesn’t add up is this: the march, for many Catholics, is no march at all, but an opportunity for grace through pilgrimage.

    Given the largely Catholic make-up of the prolife movement in the first place, the march itself, I daresay, is as much by-the-way as the cherished pint of black gold awaiting the marcher at rainbow’s end in The Dulbiners.

    For many Catholics who participate (at least from our diocese) the real purpose of the march is to offer up what suffering – albeit minor compared to pilgrimages of old (cf. Chaucer, Geoffrey, “Canterbury Tales, The”) – is invovled, to turn the time into something more than quotidian political activism by petitioning not the Supreme Court but Heaven Itself with a continual battery of prayer and fasting or some other discipline. From bus to hotel to march to visit to the National Basilica back to bus and back home, the marchers are not so much clamoring outside the hallowed halls of American jurisprudence as they are storming heaven itself.

    According to the March’s organizers, interest in the march itself is greater than ever. Is this because of the T.V. cameras that never appear? The justices who (as you rightly say they ought to) remain impervious to political pressure? The president who, if a Democrat, dare not acknowledge the march at all, if a Republican, only barely, and by long-distance? The congress which has not the courage to fight to re-establish their perogatives as the SOLE federal legislative body?

    For Catholics, I think the march is more than a political act – it becomes an offering to God through prayer and sacrifice and a witness to the faith. (The Knights of Columbus are prevalent, for instance, as are various religious orders, in the march.)

    I would think to that extent, too, it would be worth participating in and worth extolling as something with uniquely Catholic opportunities.

    It is as useless as the Mass or Rosary to the secular (political) world.

    On the other hand, I would think it means the world to God to see His children imploring as pilgrims of old to have Mercy on us poor sinners…

    JOB

  • Maria Key

    The March has always had, as its intended ending, your Congressmen

  • JP

    A few choice paragraphs from Evangelium Vitae:

    17. Threats against life are taking on vast proportions. We now confront an objective conspiracy against life, involving international institutions that promote contraception, sterilization, and abortion, and the mass media that treat these practices and euthanasia as progress.

    18. It is particularly disturbing that crimes like these should be regarded as expressions of individual freedom and rights. Concern for real human rights reflects moral sensitivity, but offenses against the lives of the weak and vulnerable threaten human rights, and the selfishness of wealthy countries in their dealings with poor ones violates the life of whole.

    19. The problem is rooted in the view that rights inhere only in those who are competent and autonomous; the weak and dependent, e.g., the unborn and the dying, are vulnerable. Another fundamental cause is an individualistic concept of freedom-the freedom of the strong against the weak.

    20. This view of freedom seriously distorts social life, making society a mass of individuals without common bonds. Moral relativism moves democracy in the direction of totalitarianism, with the tyrant state claiming power to dispose of the lives of the weak. A majority vote for such a procedure caricatures legality and betrays the democratic ideal.

    If directly procured abortion is to be considered as an abominable crime, the murder of the innocent, then one, especially as a Catholic, is obligated to protest prayerfully against such injustices. I direct your attention to Evangelium 71-73, which makes quite cleat that civil law must be in direct conformity with the moral law especially when we are dealing with the fundamental right upon which society is based, the right to life. Abortion is a grave crime which no human law can claim to legitimize. Such “laws” must be opposed. indeed, the civil rights movements both in America and in Ireland are concrete examples of the power of public protest and prayerful demonstration. It is the alignment of a pernicious moral relativism along with a misguided understanding of democracy and freedom that gave birth to this abominable legislation in your and other countries. As such, it must be countered not merely by a raise of hands as is the case when the democratic principle is extrapolated to the field of morality. It must be countered with a visible witness to the truth, even at the cost of being labelled an “un-sensible” pro-lifer. Incidentally, the abortion law is not a “bad law,” it is not to be recognized as a law at all; its very existence erodes and undermines the very foundations of any state based on law.

  • Kimberly Quest

    Steve,

    The March for Life IS an act of Penance as well as a way to give witness to the truth. Let me guess, you probably don’t picket at planned parenthood clinics either. It, too, has most likely been deemed ineffective and a perhaps a little uncomfortable for you, right? The time it took you to pen this “enlightening” piece could have been time spent at the march for life, enduring the frigid temps AND saying a Rosary or two. Something tells me Our Lady would have preferrred it and I’m fairly certain She cares little whether you walk as far as the Capitol or to the Supreme Court.

  • Brian Butler

    I think it is important to note how, for thousands of young Catholics, the March for Life is an opportunity to see the national Catholic church united in a powerful way for good. During that trip from points across the nation, they are challenged to move outward and to make a gift of themselves in defense of the weak and defenseless. They are challenged to live lives of chastity. They pray rosaries and reflect on scripture and attend Mass throughout their trek there and back. All the while, they build community and with one giant voice of physical presence, “speak” to whoever will listen, beneath the shadow of our nation’s capitol, that the truth is not subjective and all life is sacred.

    This momentum has been building since I was in high school when I attended the march on crutches with a broken foot. Did I offer it up as penance and gain grace for the mothers and doctors needing it as they decide the fate of the unborn? I cannot say, because I am not the dispenser of grace. But I can say that the trip empowered me to gain a stronger, more convincing voice of my own, imbued with the truth of Christ and His Church. It also inspired me to offer my own life to do great things for God, and to allow Him to do great things in me.

    In the end, good points can be made about where the march should most powerfully conclude to deliver its symbolic message. But anything that would even suggest that prayerfully marching in DC should be abandoned in favor of praying and fasting at home…well…I’m guessing that St. Paul (Conversion of St. Paul feast today) would agree with that.

    For the march to continue with clear outward (moral protest/social challenge) and inward (personal conviction/purity of heart/reparative prayer/gaining of moral courage) aims is something we can surely agree upon.

  • Brian Butler

    I meant that St. Paul would “disagree” with the idea of staying home to praying, rather than going on a mission to pray. I do think that fasting at some point during the week of the march would be a great thing to do.

  • gb

    they’d have called this argument a ‘cop out’.

  • anon

    The March for Life ends near the Supreme Court so that the Marchers can then disperse to their congressmen’s offices (Senate office buildings are to one side of the Supreme Court, House office buildings are on the other side).

    The pro-aborts would undoubtedly be pleased by your decision and hope ALL pro-lifers adopt your absolutism in the future.

    By all means, refrain from marching if you disagree with the smallest item of the March. Overlook the fact that the speakers called for legislation, and focus on where some of the Marchers choose to end (we didn’t get as far as the Court, but continued to our Senators’ offices in the Hart Building).

  • James Vayne

    This is news to me.

    I haven’t been to the March since 2002, but we always marched to the Capitol. I suppose a lot of marchers skeedadle after the court, but I specifically recall being instructed that the Capitol was the destination and being encouraged to petition my legislators.

  • Tim

    What a lame article. The Court has in past times reversed itself. It could do so again. Protesting its decisions in perfectly appropriate. If Scalia doesn’t like it, who cares?

  • Mrs. McG

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I sure do see a whole lot of Rosary praying going on at the March. And, if riding long distances on a bus to and from the March isn’t a worthy sacrifice to “offer up” – I don’t know what is. And, perhaps, the expense in getting there is also a “sacrifice” in reparation for the dollars spent on abortion. For us, as Catholics, the March can very easily take on the spirit of pilgrimage.

  • Dean Clancy

    The author lists a constitutional Amendment as one of 3 ways to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    But this is only true in civics class. In reality, the Court can willfully misinterpret a constitutional Amendment, just as it misinterprets statutes.

    Since it is much easier to pass a statute than a constitutional Amendment, the statutory route is by far the more practical approach.

    That said, there is one constitutional Amendment that the Court would find difficult to overturn — and which would, in my opinion, do more than any other to make it possible to overturn Roe — and that is an Amendment to change the way Senators are elected, by going back to having them chosen by state legislatures, as was done before 1913. Repealing the 17th Amendment is the only way I can think of to actually restore federalism and local self-government, which in turn is THE essential precondition for ending Roe.

    If you want to overturn Roe, pass a law that the Supreme Court decides not to overrule. If you want Congress to pass such a law, change the way Senators are chosen, so that they have an incentive to pass that kind of law. (And of course, keep appointing Justices who oppose Roe in principle. Litmus test required!)

  • JMSmith

    Steve,

    You might do well to stick to Community Relations. Use your talents there. The folks who have dedicated their lives to the pro-life movement and changing the laws in this country are well aware of how the system works. Overall, they are quite well educated and have been working actively with the legislature for the likes of 40 years. The wonderful folks who sacrifice, travel, and pray during the March for Life are most likely doing far more to change the atmosphere in this country than you are doing by writing a negative article on their efforts. Surrender your pride and join the March sometime and you will see what I mean.

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