Why We March for Life

(I wrote this column for the Washington Post a couple of years ago. I thought I would re-run it here, in honor of the 42nd Annual March for Life taking place in Washington, D.C. today.)

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 vs. 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.

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.”

My newest nephew at 20 weeks
My newest nephew at 20 weeks

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.

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, and real 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 alright.

About Danielle Bean

Danielle Bean

Danielle Bean, mother of eight, is editor-in-chief of Catholic Digest and Faith & Family. She is also author of My Cup of Tea: Musings of a Catholic Mom, Mom to Mom, Day to Day: Advice and Support for Catholic Living and (with Elizabeth Foss) Small Steps for Catholic Moms: Think. Pray. Act. Every Day

  • Claire

    Beautifully written. Thank you for speaking the truth.