March for Life at 51: Do we truly value people over politics?

March for Life at 51: Do we truly value people over politics? January 19, 2024

Today marks the 51st annual March for Life in Washington D.C.

However, when the event first started on January 22, 1974, it was meant to be a one-time protest against the evils of abortion. Its organizers turned it into an annual event when “it became apparent that congressional protection for the unborn was not on the horizon.” Their assessment is even more correct now than it was back then.

But, honestly, that should not come as a surprise. After all, the government can rarely agree on anything, much less an issue as divisive as abortion.

Perhaps that’s why the president who famously quipped that “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help” turned his attention back to the people in looking for a solution.

When President Ronald Reagan issued an executive order forty years ago to announce the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day in 1984, he concluded the proclamation by stating:

I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.

He understood that the best way to protect life is to value life, but that is fundamentally a moral issue rather than a political one. And, as Drs. Mark Turman and Jim Denison discussed in “Why we must choose life,” a recent episode of The Denison Forum Podcast, that tends not to be the way people view the issue of abortion today.

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So how can we change that?

People over politics

When actress Sarah Snook recently accepted her Emmy for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series, she gave most of the credit to a surprising person: her infant daughter.

Snook was pregnant with her while filming parts of the series’ third and fourth seasons and took the bulk of her acceptance speech to say:

The biggest thank-you, I think, is to someone who won’t understand anything that I’m saying at the moment, but I carried her with me this last season and really it was her who carried me. It’s very easy to act while you’re pregnant because you’ve got hormones raging. It was more that the proximity of her life growing inside me gave me the strength to do this and this performance, and I love you so much. And it’s all for you, from here on out.

I don’t know if Snook is pro-life or what her religious beliefs are, but her speech was an excellent reminder that, ultimately, this issue is about people rather than politics. And if we want to change the trajectory of our nation’s approach to abortion, that’s where it has to start.

Getting that right is often easier said than done, though.

Guarding against diminishment

You see, when we forget that we’re talking about people rather than politics, we set ourselves down the path against which President Reagan warned when he noted that abortion necessarily leads to “the erosion of our sense of the worth and dignity of every individual. To diminish the value of one category of human life is to diminish us all.”

And any of us can make that mistake, regardless of our position on abortion.

The pro-life movement is just as capable of using the unborn as political pawns as those on the pro-choice side. That’s typically not the intention, but when abortion shifts from a moral and personal issue to a political one, it’s often unavoidable.

The best way to guard against that mistake is to view this life as God does: a gift that he has granted us the privilege to steward for as long as we have it.

When we remember that every life—whether it’s the child, its parents, or even the person with whom you may disagree on this subject—is made in God’s image and is of infinite worth to our heavenly Father, then we are better positioned to defend the value of life from conception to natural death in a way that truly honors its author.

How will you honor your author today?

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