The pro-life movement is definitely moving. So far, the most notable part of the movement in 2020 is President Trump’s presence and speech at the 2020 National March for Life in Washington D.C. This was a significant moment because of the past 46 marches, no other president has made an appearance.
Considering all the laws that were established in years past, this seemed to be the perfect way to ring in a new decade. In the past decade, let alone 2019, the idea and opportunity to get an abortion grew to glamorization rather than mere acceptance. I immediately recall Teen Vogue releasing an article titled, “How to Get an Abortion If You're a Teen.” The article consisted of an author’s lengthy, thorough reply to a 16-year-old who asked how to get an abortion despite her parents’ disapproval. The author wrote about her own pregnancy-scare story, why not to fear her parents’ perspectives on abortion, and explained why the girl should not be ashamed of getting an abortion since “nearly one in four women will have an abortion by the age of 45.” This article was a featured Snapchat story in the news section, for anyone to read.
Because of incidences like these and more, it is powerful to hear about and see thousands upon thousands of high school and college students at life rallies not only one day of the year in D.C., but consistently across the nation.
Texas and Southern Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America, Sarah Zarr, noted unity as another key aspect of the current pro-life movement. For the first time, Students for Life of America transformed their annual SFLA National Student Conference into the National Pro-Life Summit 2020, inviting all pro-lifers into the mix. SFLA joined forces with Live Action, Heritage Foundation, and Alliance Defending Freedom.
“It was really historic this year because it was the first time for different national pro-life organizations to come together.”
3,500 people attended the summit and it was a variety of age groups wanting to get involved, which is definitely a unity not seen in the past according to Zarr. This year, she has seen people leave their jobs to do full-time, pro-life work.
The different characteristics of those who make up the pro-life movement really make the whole group unique. Regardless of age, race or religion, everyone is united on the truth that all have a right to life. Those who were passively pro-life began to be active, and those who were previously active intensified their passion because of extreme pro-abortion laws that were passed in the previous decade. This large summit occurred the day after the March for Life in D.C. and will continue that pattern next year.
Yet, another significant point of this year with the pro-life movement is the correlation with the 19th amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” Come August, we will celebrate the 100th year of women casting their votes in America. However, since that law was passed, roughly 30 million abortions have taken place in the country. It’s unfortunately ironic that women (and men for that matter) would use their voting privilege to deny future citizens the right to voice their opinion.
Coincidingly, this year’s March for Life theme was “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.” This truth is hidden across the board, but pro-life advocates are set (and have already begun) uncovering it. According to Live Action, one of the leading pro-life organizations in America, well known for going undercover to expose abortionists, Planned Parenthood wants to know as little information about their clients as possible, including if the woman was trafficked (https://www.liveaction.org/what-we-do/investigations/child-sex-trafficking-cover-up/). So truly, pro-life is pro-woman and pro-choice has never been pro-woman. In fact, the pro-life movement cares for the mother and the child.
Millennials prove to be big on caring for women and their children, even those to come. Although millennials are activist-spirited in many things, pro-life millennials are passionate because they are the first generation to survive Roe v. Wade, according to Zarr. It’s personal, and they want to defend the generations to come that don’t necessarily have to fight for survival. Although a positive and a negative, a new decade brings new, rapid technology. Generation Z has grown up with everything at their fingertips. Therefore, the youngest of children with technology in their reach is capable of knowing what abortion is and begin to form their own opinions on it (an easy example being Snapchat stories as mentioned above).
But the media has offered nothing but double standards in regards to sharing information about the pro-life movement, even in a basic journalistic sense. Zarr said,
“There’s been a lack of coverage despite us inviting the media. They cover marches that have 10% of the people, but the largest human rights march in the world with nearly 300,000 people they don’t cover.”
In fact, there was no increase in coverage even with President Trump at the march.
We’re barely two months into the new decade and so much has occurred. What else can we look forward to? For one, it is election year. Zarr explained that it is time to ask voters to vote their values, first and foremost, being their pro-life values. Additionally, she said, “We could see another judge appointment on the Supreme Court, which is huge, and that would give us everything we need to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
The political party in office determines a ton of what happens for the pro-life movement. Within four years, Trump passed laws to limit abortions across the nation. One of the most memorable laws was when he put restrictions on Title X taxpayer funding. Any facility that performs on-site abortions could not receive those taxpayer funds, putting a halt on Planned Parenthood’s government-based income. Another memorable time was in May 2019, when Trump called on Congress to restrict late-term abortions and later brought in 187 pro-life federal judges and two pro-life Supreme Court Justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
But outside of all the laws and voices, what is our role as Catholics? A Christian herself, Zarr explained the beautiful intricacy of living as a Christ-follower and as a pro-lifer. She said that as Christians, we recognize the scientific and philosophical reasons to being pro-life, but it does not stop there. “We hold an extra level of conviction because we hold human life to such a high standard because we know human life was created in the image of God,” she said. “We’re fighting for their souls and recognizing that extreme intrinsic value that humans have.” Likewise, at the March for Life, Trump said, “Every child is a sacred and precious gift from God” in which “we glimpse into the majesty of God’s creation.”
Trump’s credibility in pointing to these things comes from the fact not of him being Republican, but because of the actual work he has done to advocate for the unborn throughout his presidency. Similarly, the work that pro-life advocates will do this year will prove righteous not because of their characteristics, but because of their passion to fight for everyone’s right to live.