By Jonathon Van Maren
There is something about a pro-life march that lifts my spirits. Seeing thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children taking to the streets to give voice and bear witness to the value of every human life is heartwarming. These people, after all, are not marching for themselves. They are lifting their voices for the children who cannot speak. They are making themselves visible for the children who cannot be seen. They are marching for pre-born children who are in imminent danger of having limbs severed and skulls crushed by abortionists who deny their humanity and cruelly evict them from the only place they can survive.
Many you will have seen the video of hundreds of thousands of people braving the cold in Washington, D.C. last week to bring the pro-life message to America’s capital. A few days later, thousands of people also marched in Paris to protest abortion, support conscientious objection for physicians, condemn the commodification of children through medically assisted reproduction, and demand that euthanasia remains banned in France. As I’ve noted before, no matter where the Culture of Death takes root, there are always those who fight back, and there are always those who are willing to sacrifice to remain faithful.
At this year’s U.S. March for Life, popular Jewish conservative commentator Ben Shapiro took the stage first time. Shapiro has become wildly popular among pro-lifers for his willingness to engage abortion supporters consistently and intelligently, and has declared that the best way to expose the lies of “pro-choice” rhetoric is simply to “show them a picture of a dead baby.” I’ve heard more pro-life speeches than I can count over the past decade, and many beautiful and moving ones, too. But Shapiro’s speech (like the magnificent battle cry of Life Institute’s Niamh Uí Bhriain at the All Ireland Rally for Life last year) transcended the talking points and achieved true eloquence:
We built a country for our children. We built our lives for our children. And then something happened. We as a country decided to erase them. We decided that the present was more important than the future. We decided that convenience was more important than basic decency. We decided that we can safely blot out millions of souls who could not protect themselves, still forever voices that could not speak. We dehumanized the most human, the most innocent among us…
What we were really engaging in was the mass killing of the unborn, of course. Millions of children, who would never be held, who would never open their eyes, who would never see the sun rise, who would never become parents and then grandparents, the dismemberment of babies in the womb, the torture of tiny bodies…
Righteousness doesn’t have to be popular, it just has to be righteous. And so, we march. We march for those who can’t…We will not be forgotten. Our children slaughtered over the decades remember. They look at us from above. And they know that they meant something, that they do mean something, so long as we keep them in our minds and in our hearts. Our children, standing here with us, the ones who are here today, they will remember too. They will remember and they will march until they no longer have to march. Our children yet unborn will remember, and they will thank us in their prayers. And most of all G-d, the God who builds and preserves nations, who brings life and maintains it, who stands with those who suffer most at the hands of evil, He will remember us too. He will remember America and He will bless her. God will bless us because we are the guardians of His most precious creations. We stand between America and the darkness. And we will march until that darkness is banished forever and all of our children can stand together in the sunlight.
As my friend Dr. Michael New pointed out this week in the National Review, the pro-life movement has achieved real progress over these awful decades of loss and heartache. But each and every life that has been saved has been infinitely worth it. Because of them, we will not simply march once a year. We will work every day, for years and decades more if necessary, to ensure that the life of every child is respected. And to those who tell us to “get on with our lives”: We will happily do that when everyone has the right to theirs.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.