Why I Still Believe in the March for Life

March for Life--Washington Monument

 

By Jessica Resuta, guest blogger

For years through conversations with friends, social media posts and public statements, I have heard many pro-life people dismiss the importance of the March for Life in Washington D.C. with reasons such as that it’s only one day, or it’s all talk and no action.

As a young college undergraduate who has attended the March annually since 2008, I can state with confidence that an event like the March for Life is actually crucial to creating a culture that values life.

But why march? If one already speaks to peers about the value of life, assists young mothers, the elderly and the sick, why is this event necessary?  

In response, the March goes hand in hand with the day to day actions we perform to protect the sanctity of life in our homes, communities and beyond.  If it was truly what is often portrayed by the media as merely a loud protest or pep rally or a political statement, I would agree that it doesn’t exactly make a difference or serve a purpose.  But the reality is that it is an event unlike any other and for a noble purpose.

The March is a unique cause and experience as hundreds of thousands of people from all ages, races, backgrounds, and religions join as one people united in an acknowledgement of the value and vulnerability of human life in all its stages. Furthermore,  it is not only the opportunity to gather together to make a public witness, but it is a chance to be reassured that we are not alone in this mission and to show the world that they are not alone, that there really are people who care and love and act. In that crowd of hundreds of thousands are people who have lovingly and courageously been dedicated to respecting life. There are parents, teachers, religious and political leaders, children and college students, people who truly work and act to create an impact.  

  No, for me the March has never been just a good hurrah or a mere political statement, not that I don’t have a strong interest in politics, but it is that chance after another year of actively supporting the culture of life daily to unite with others and proclaim to the world that all human life is sacred and precious and that we are not afraid to declare so publicly.  It is a day of life, peace, joy and prayer.

We need to take a public stand because the protection of life is such a fundamental issue, if not the fundamental issue in society.  To put it simply, if there is no life there are no people, and with no people there is no society.

From abortion to euthanasia, these threats to human life in its most crucial stages are so urgent and have been going on for so long that it calls for a public proclamation from those who say they are pro-life; a proclamation that there are indeed hundreds of thousands who will love and protect life at all stages and work to see the end of any injustices.  

The March for Life, this public proclamation, is a sign of hope that we have not given up on defending the innocent and defenseless, but also a sign that we will not weaken our stance. Even while facing opposition or unfavorable laws or leaders, we will not desert those who depend on us whether it be the unborn, the elderly, or even our own children whose future social climate depends partly on us.  This is what the March for Life truly demonstrates: the witness of those who love and I repeat it is necessary for building a culture that respects life.

In the words of the great musical Les Miserables  “The time is now. The day is here!” If we don’t take a stand for life now, who will?

Jessica Resuta is an undergraduate journalism major at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio

What I am Marching for

March for Life bannerBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

If I am fortunate enough to make it to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. this week, here’s what I will be marching for:

**An end to the mauling, mistreatment, and killing of nearly a million unborn children each year;

**The empowerment of women to make life-affirming decisions for themselves and their families;

**The protection of people with disabilities, including those in the womb;

**The care of the frail elderly who are vulnerable to calls for doctor-prescribed (assisted) suicide;

**The re-establishment of a culture of caring in our nation;

**An end to the exploitation of women by the lucrative abortion industry;

**A rediscovery of the humanity of the child in the womb;

**A re-invigoration of the rights of fathers, who currently have no legal say in the abortion of their children;

**The legacy established by my parents and all those who fought for life under trying circumstances;

**The freedom of my daughter to live in a world without abortion.

What will you be marching for?

The March for Life: A Legacy of Love

Mike Pence at MarchBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

The world’s largest pro-life event steps out January 18, when hundreds of thousands of people are expected to converge on Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life.

High school and college students, mothers and fathers, grandparents and children will be showcasing their opposition to Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision which brought us abortion for any reason up to the moment of birth.

Pennsylvania will be well-represented at the March, as numerous chapters of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation will be sponsoring buses to the peaceful, passionate gathering.

In honor of the March, we decided in this issue of LifeLines to feature the words of two veteran marchers who have a lifetime worth of experience championing the rights of pregnant women and their babies.

The Legacy of People for Life

“People for Life began its March for Life tradition by chartering a bus to the very first March for Life in 1974,” said Tim Broderick, President of Erie’s People for Life, a chapter of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. Broderick also serves on the Federation’s Board of Directors.

“Since then, we have not missed a single year. When I began volunteering with our organization on a weekly basis, in January 1995, I was already aware of the bus trip, but only vaguely. I declined to go along on the bus trip that year, thinking the whole thing was just for entertainment and not ‘serious’ pro-life work. I decided to go in 1996, however, mainly out of curiosity. I found the experience moving beyond words, and I rode back to Erie on ‘Cloud Nine’ and stayed there for about a week!

“Having become more involved in leading People for Life over the years, it has been part of my job to supervise the bus trip. Thankfully, I have been able to attend each and every March for Life since my 1996 experience. It never gets old. Some of it is very routine now, but each March for Life is unique and has its own unique flavor, and it grows larger and larger with nearly every passing year.

“Our March for Life bus trip has grown as well, from a single motor coach in 1974 to as many as five of the newer and larger motor coaches in recent years. And there have been spin-offs, with at least five other groups now sending their own buses from the three-county area that we used to serve exclusively.

“As a moving and uplifting experience, perhaps the March for Life is ‘entertainment’ after all. But it has also become, without a doubt, a tremendous symbol of pro-life love–and pro-life resolve–for the entire world. Thanks to generous news coverage by our local TV news departments, our bus trip is doing its little part to bring that message of love and resolve to as many people as possible,” Broderick added.

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The Pro-Life Generation

“I have attended the March many years and I attended the first March for Life as a sophomore in college,” said Dr. Denise Wilcox, southeast regional director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Pennsylvania’s delegate to the National Right to Life Board of Directors.

“We rode in a VW bus from Morgantown West Virginia. We didn’t have any heat in the bus either but we were sure our voices would overturn Roe vs Wade if we just chanted loud enough as we marched down the avenue. Now I ride in a heated coach bus, and I arrive to meet thousands of people who make me feel that this nation has so much hope and promise!

“I realize that the young people in the crowd have outnumbered my generation and I realize too that I have finally passed the torch to them. Each year the 1973 decision to legalize abortion has been weakened by state and federal legislation. I pray that I will one day see this decision overturned. Then, I can ride to DC and celebrate that day with a March to commemorate the lives that will be saved!” 

What’s in Store for 2019 on the Life Front?

Baby ChristmasBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

As 2018 draws to a close, the New Year remains a mystery in many ways. Still, 2019 can be a year of encouraging progress on the pro-life front. Here are some of the events and activities that are in store for the year ahead:

  • The March for Life is of great importance–this year and all years. The March steps out in Washington, D.C. on January 18th. Hundreds of thousands of dedicated individuals–many of them high school and college students–are expected to flood the streets of the nation’s capital in a peaceful, prayerful show of solidarity for pregnant women, babies, and fathers.
  • Judges will still be key. President Donald Trump has promised to nominate judges to the federal bench who will uphold the Constitution and who will not be activists, such as those who claimed a false “right” to abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973. In Pennsylvania, voters will have the opportunity to cast ballots for judges for the Supreme Court, the Superior Court, and Commonwealth Court.
  • Local chapters will bring the pro-life message to their communities. Local chapters of National Right to Life and the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation will be proclaiming the sanctity of innocent human life at fairs, festivals, and other events in their counties.
  • Students will be engaged and energized through pro-life contests. Both National Right to Life and the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation sponsor essay contests for students. You can find details here and here. In addition, high school students can take part in the National Right to Life Oratory Contest if they have won a statewide contest, such as the Pennsylvania Pro-Life oratory competition mentioned here.
  • Social Media will be buzzing with pro-life news and information. You can find both National Right to Life and the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also become part of the regular online discussion by sharing spectacular pro-life videos and articles with your friends and followers.

Working together, we can make 2019 a year of growth and significant accomplishment for the pro-life movement–and save lives and change hearts in the process. Happy 2019!

 

The Pro-Life Movement is a Youth Movement

prolife-998x697

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

I was once again reminded recently that the pro-life movement is indeed a youth movement.

A college student approached me about an internship with the National Right to Life affiliate for which I work, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. She was thrilled at the prospect of learning how to spread the pro-life message both in her local community and across the Commonwealth.

I also heard from a young woman who was eager to accompany me to pro-life events. She said she greatly admired the work we do at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and she wanted to be a part of it.

It should be no surprise why the i-Generation–named for the ubiquitous nature of the iPhone–is so passionate about the pro-life cause. They are the survivor generation, because they have survived the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade. As a result of Roe, nearly a million precious preborn babies lose their lives each year. These young people have lost brothers, sisters, cousins, and potential friends because of legal abortion. Their hearts grieve for the lost members of their generation.

We will see the youth sector of the pro-life movement on full display at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on January 18th. High school and college students from across the country will converge on the nation’s capital to show their solidarity with pregnant women and their babies. It is incredibly inspiring to see so many young people fired up for life.

The i-Generation may have a reputation for being so obsessed with their cell phones they don’t care about the world around them. Don’t believe it. They are not just the future of the pro-life movement–they are its energetic present. May they be the generation that will finally toss Roe to the ash heap of history!

Pennsylvanians Join Vice-President at March for Life

28 Marchers making their way up Constitution Ave

People from across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be joining Vice-President Mike Pence at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. today in a show of solidarity with pregnant women, their children, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable Americans.

“We thank the Vice-President for his steadfast commitment to the most important human rights issue of our time—the right to life,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life. “We also commend President Donald Trump for taking concrete steps to ensure that protecting innocent human life is not merely a campaign slogan, but a matter of public policy.”

President Trump recently reinstated the Mexico City policy, which ensures that our hard-earned tax dollars will not be spent on organizations that perform or promote abortions overseas. He has also nominated Cabinet members who are dedicated to defending the sacredness of life. And he has pledged his support for the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act, recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, which would guarantee that tax dollars are safeguarded.

“The Pennsylvanians who are marching today are thankful to the Trump Administration and to those members of Congress who want to protect our tax dollars from being spent on the abortion industry. Public opinion polls show that 60 percent of Americans agree that their tax money should not be used for abortion.  We thank the Administration and the House for taking to heart the will of the people,” Gallagher added.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans gather in Washington, D.C. each January to commemorate the anniversary of the tragic 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion throughout the country.

“Those who attend the March for Life are marching in memory of the more than 59 million preborn children killed through legal abortion over the past 44 years. They are also showing their solidarity with the countless mothers and fathers who continue to grieve the loss of those children,” Gallagher said.

“They also march with the hope that comes with news that the number of abortions are declining both in the Commonwealth and across the country. No pregnant woman in Pennsylvania should feel as if she is alone—concrete help and support are available by calling the Real Alternatives hotline at 1-888-Life-aid,” Gallagher added.   

 

 

21st Century Progress Could Mean End to Abortion

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
gallagher@paprolife.org

The Millennial Generation has grown up with an explosion of technology — the expansion of the Internet, the invention of the iPhone, the birth of social media, the advent of Skype.

Unborn baby pictureBut the 21st century could also be known as a time of great progress against abortion.

Real limits have been placed on abortion, thanks to the passage of the partial-birth abortion ban at the national level, late-term abortion bans, dismemberment abortion bans, and other legislation at the state level.

The Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, reports that abortion rates are at their lowest level since 1973, the year Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. The most recent recorded rate is 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, well below the record high of 29.3 per 1,000 women in 1981.

It’s been estimated that more than 3,500 pregnancy help centers are now in operation across the U.S. and, as the pro-abortion lobbying group NARAL ruefully notes, these centers vastly outnumber abortion facilities. Pregnancy centers provide comprehensive counseling and assistance to women facing unexpected pregnancies, offering everything from diapers to day care referrals. Women have even been known to request that pregnancy center volunteers serve as their companions during the birthing process.

Students for Life groups have grown exponentially on college campuses, and March for Life attendance has been boosted by the throngs of high school and college students who descend on Washington, D.C. each January 22.

4D ultrasound pictures have become prominent on Facebook and Twitter pages, websites and blogs. The humanity of the unborn child has been well-documented in these social media images.

Certainly, much work remains in making abortion unthinkable. More than 57 million Americans have died from legal abortion since it began nationwide in 1973. Pro-abortion groups continue their national assault on the rights of preborn children, while failing to recognize the devastation abortion has caused for generations of women.

Still, in just the first two decades of the 21st century, much headway has been made in scaling back abortion on demand. This should be the century when the disastrous era of Roe v. Wade finally comes to an end.

Eight Pro-Life Resolutions for 2015, Including Mine

I have a confession. I rarely make New Year’s resolutions. I like to think it’s not because I’m lazy, but because I see New Year’s Day as just some arbitrary spot on the calendar. I tell myself I can make resolutions any time. I don’t need “January 1st” to motivate me.

People for Life of Erie at the March for Life

People for Life of Erie at the March for Life

Well, I have resolved to change that. I am making a resolution, and I encourage you to make one, too – whether you start Jan. 1 or some other time. Here are eight pro-life resolutions for you to consider (including mine for 2015):

1. Dedicate time to pray for an end to abortion. Last year, I began praying every Friday morning during my hour-long commute. Fridays are one of the busiest days for our local abortion center, so I spend my hour praying for the women, their families, the sidewalk counselors, abortionists and staff. If you are a religious person, consider a new prayer resolution.

2. Learn to articulate your position on human life. Put Scott Klusendorf’s “A Case for Life” or Frank Beckwith’s “Defending Life” on your reading list this year. Both offer a very strong, reasoned case for why all human life should be protected. They also help teach you to respond to pro-abortion arguments.

3. Listen. If a friend is facing a crisis, listen. If he/she wants advice, offer it but only after you listen. If your sister-in-law is pro-choice on abortion, listen to her reasons why before you respond. Sometimes the best way to love people is to show them that we care enough to listen.

4. Volunteer. Contact one of our 40+ chapters, a pro-life group at your school or college, or your local pregnancy help center to volunteer.

5. Attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C. This huge pro-life rally inspires hundreds of thousands of people every year. It’s an awe-inspiring event. Contact us for details.

6. Tell your elected officials where you stand on life. If they vote pro-life, thank them. If they don’t, ask them to. And if you don’t know where your elected officials stand, contact us and we’ll let you know.

7. Stay informed. As the 2015 approaches, we already have our eyes on new threats to life here in Pennsylvania, including doctor-prescribed suicide and a new pro-abortion governor who already has appointed abortion advocates to his transition team. Keep yourself informed by signing up for our twice monthly e-newsletter.

8. Donate. Pro-life organizations like us need your support. Whether you can donate time or resources, you can help us in our mission to restore protections for life. Personally, I’m resolving to spend less on things like coffee and junk food in 2015 so I can donate more to those in need. Donate here.

Please consider making a pro-life resolution in 2015. You can be a part of this mission to ensure protections for every human life in Pennsylvania.

Merry Christmas, and happy New Year!

What Millennials Mean for the Pro-Life Movement

Young pro-lifers are changing the face of our movement.

Millennial adults, those ages 18 to 29, are coming to the pro-life movement from all walks of life. A 2013 Public NRLA2013HannahVictorReligion Research Institute study found that young pro-lifers are even more ethnically and religiously diverse than older pro-lifers. About 30 percent of young pro-lifers identify as black or Hispanic, and 15 percent say they are not religiously affiliated.

Evidence indicates that young adults also are enthusiastic and active in the cause. Many Millennials are calling themselves the Pro-Life Generation.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, wrote in the fall 2014 issue of Human Life Review: “(We) currently work with 838 active student pro-life groups across the country. At the time of publication, the nation’s two most notable pro-choice activist groups combined report fewer than half the number of active groups as Students for Life.”

What do these things mean for the pro-life movement?

First, we should find renewed strength in the fact that our cause unites people from all backgrounds. Pro-lifers may disagree on politics and religion and we may come from different cultures, but we are putting aside our differences and working together to end the slaughter of innocent preborn babies. Our unity is further evidence that our cause is true and just.

Second, we need to be welcoming. Sometimes, pro-lifers are guilty of stereotyping ourselves, assuming that other pro-lifers are white, conservative and Christian. We must be careful not to assume. When we gather outside of an abortion center or march in Washington, D.C., we need to be aware that not all pro-lifers pray the way we do – or pray at all. It doesn’t mean that we should water down our message or stop praying, but we should be considering new ways to work together as an increasingly diverse movement.

Third, we need to encourage more young people to get involved. When young adults realize the truth about abortion, they become a powerful force for life. Whether through pro-life clubs in schools, at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., or in the voting booth, Millennials are taking action to end the massive tragedy of abortion.

Yet, many young people are not well-informed about the right to life issues. We can inspire young people by inviting them to join us at a pro-life event, encouraging them to volunteer (Millennials are very service oriented), sharing a pro-life article with them on social media, or visiting our website for more ideas.

And remember, no matter what your age, you can be a voice for life!

March for Life Is Rally of Faith in ‘Plain, Decent, Everyday Common Rightness’

Hundreds of thousands of people braved the bitter cold last week to participate in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. on January 22. Despite the sub-zero wind chill, people from all across the country walked to restore the right to life for the preborn.

After the March, my friends and I walked to the Lincoln Memorial. I stood between those humbling columns and remembered the scenes from one of my favorite movies, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”smith3

The film reaches its turning point as a no longer naive young politician sits in the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial, having just been crushed by a political machine. From D.C. to his hometown, the news media is being maneuvered against him.

He feels so small, so helpless, so foolish to have believed that the truth would prevail. He feels beaten, ready to go back to his small town. What can one man do against such corruption, such injustice?

Then a friend finds him in the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial. She reminds him that he shouldn’t place his faith in people but in “plain, decent, everyday common rightness.” She points to Abraham Lincoln, a man who refused to stop fighting though the odds were stacked against him and the opposition was severe. He had faith that “rightness” would win.

“All the good in this world came from fools with faith like that,” she tells the young Mr. Smith.

As I stood there, I felt like Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Smith. The media ignores pro-lifers or distorts the truth to make us look weak. Our opposers paint us as liars and fools.

Yet, I found hope in the memory of Mr. Lincoln. He had faith against the odds when he fought to require rights and protection for every human life.

I have faith that one day our country will protect every human being’s right to life inside the womb and out. Until then, we will continue to march, fighting for “plain, decent, everyday common rightness.”