Cancel And Replace The March For Life

Cancel And Replace The March For Life January 14, 2021

The White House: Trump At the 2020 March for Life /flickr

The March for Life should be cancelled. Yes, COVID19 is one reason why it should be cancelled this year, because if they want to promote life, they need to protect the people who would go to the march and those who would otherwise come in contact with them. But, more importantly, the March for Life serves a political purpose, one which runs contrary to the promotion of life. This can be seen in the way in 2020 Donald Trump used the march as a rally cry for his presidential campaign instead of promoting the dignity of life.

The March for Life did not criticize Trump and all the actions which he took, nor has taken, contrary to the dignity of life. Ever since his administration’s promotion of the death penalty, has the March for Life said anything? Did the March for Life say anything about the children taken away from families, or about the pregnant women who lost their babies because of the way they have been treated by the Trump administration?

The March for Life has used abortion as a cover for anti-Christian policies. The poor and oppressed are ignored, though their plight should be a pro-life concern. To be pro-life is more than to be against abortion. To be pro-life is to promote the dignity of all life, and this is not what we find coming from the March for Life. All we see is an exclusive interest in abortion politics, and promoting only one political way of engaging abortion. The March and its speakers tend to ignore other life concerns, and in doing so, suggesting to others that those concerns are not important.

St. John Paul II indicated that our concern should be for every life, not just some, when he highlighted where we find the dignity of life under attack:

Every individual, precisely by reason of the mystery of the Word of God who was made flesh (cf. Jn 1:14), is entrusted to the maternal care of the Church. Therefore every threat to human dignity and life must necessarily be felt in the Church’s very heart; it cannot but affect her at the core of her faith in the Redemptive Incarnation of the Son of God, and engage her in her mission of proclaiming the Gospel of life in all the world and to every creature (cf. Mk 16:15).

Today this proclamation is especially pressing because of the extraordinary increase and gravity of threats to the life of individuals and peoples, especially where life is weak and defenceless. In addition to the ancient scourges of poverty, hunger, endemic diseases, violence and war, new threats are emerging on an alarmingly vast scale.[1]

Pope Benedict XVI, likewise, said that the right to life is for all:

As far as the right to life is concerned, we must denounce its widespread violation in our society: alongside the victims of armed conflicts, terrorism and the different forms of violence, there are the silent deaths caused by hunger, abortion, experimentation on human embryos and euthanasia.[2]

Does the March for Life ever talk about those concerns? Does it ever discuss poverty, hunger, indeed, endemic diseases? This year, it should certainly be discuss COVID19, and the way we should act to deal with the pandemic. Indeed, it should be the central thrust of the discussion this year, helping to support those initiatives (masking, social distancing, vaccinations) which will save lives. If it did that, if it took an interest in all ways life was under threat, addressing a new threat every year, people would look at the March in a different light. Likewise, if the March allowed for and promoted a discussion as to a variety of prudential ways to deal with these matters, instead of only promoting one questionable ideological vision, then more people would get involved, and the March actually do some good. But it does not, because it is not interested in every threat, nor in discussing the variety of ways we can deal with those threats. How much has the March addressed the role of poverty, for example, in abortion and suggested actions to deal with that poverty?

It seems to me that the March is not interested in the promotion of life, because it ignores most if the challenges before us today. Where have they discussed racism and its impact on society and the way it continues to destroy lives? Where does it discuss the police, and those who have died as a result of police abuse? Where does it discuss poverty and the lives which poverty destroys? Where does it discuss solutions to these problems so that life can truly be treated with dignity?

The March for Life has not done much for the protection of human life. The March for Life should be canceled. It should be canceled this year because of COVID19, but it should be permanently canceled due to its allegiance to a political ideology which runs antithetical to the dignity of life. It should be canceled, and then replaced by people who truly promote the dignity of life, by people who are willing to look at and offer a variety of prudential decisions to deal with the problems which lie before us. Whatever replaces it should be led by those willing to engage the dignity of all life, and not those who find a way to ignore some life as unimportant. Each year a new concern should be brought up; if I were to make suggestions as to what kinds of topics should be brought up in the next few years, it would be:

2021: COVID19 and Pandemics
2022: Climate Change and Its Threat To All Life
2023: Racism
2024: Poverty
2025: Medical Care
2026: Capital Punishment and Prison Reform

If these concerns were introduced and dealt with properly and effectively, then we would begin to see a change, as the dignity of life would truly be promoted. Understanding the variables necessary to deal with these problems will help people understand why we must act with prudence, and not just offer over-simplified solutions which would never work. There really is the need to engage the dignity of life, to promote it, every year; but alas, the March for Life has never shown an interest in dealing with these concerns. So long as the March for Life is given prominent focus by Christians, the ideology behind it will prevent real action for life. This is why it must be canceled, so that the real work can begin.

[1] St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae. Vatican translation. ¶3,

[2] Pope Benedict XVI, “Message For the 40th World Day of Peace” (1-1-2007). Vatican translation. ¶5.

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