This week we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Watching Dr. King’s most iconic “I have a Dream” speech on the mall, framed by the Lincoln Memorial, his words have lost none of their poetry, none of their force, none of their great meaning. Watching the clips of people marching, demanding the nation live up to its promise of equality under the eyes of the law, of no separate but equal, but simply, equal, the courage of everyone who walked is still tangible. They did not know the outcome. They did know the law and prior court rulings were against them. They did know there were many who disagreed with them and many who argued that the law of the land should not be overturned. They also knew the laws were unjust and that they must be opposed tirelessly if hearts and minds and eventually laws were to be changed.
The March for Life is Friday, January 22, 2010. Rereading of his speeches and a remembering of what all he did to change the landscape of society that had so long languished in segregation, whites and blacks trapped by racism in seemingly intractable roles; it inspires for the march that will take place at the end of this week.
Living just outside of DC, we usually get better coverage than most of the country about protests and marches in the Capital, though the March for Life has as of late, received short shrift from the news outlets. Every year we are reminded that the fight is over, that it’s very cold outside, that it’s the law of the land, that absent Roe vs. Wade, women would be slaughtered with coat hangers by their own desperation to end pregnancies. Every year we are scolded for the graphic pictures of slaughtered unborn, declared backwards, preachy, ignorant, cruel, heartless to the frightened and young, merciless to the poor and indifferent to the suffering of the abused. Every year people who oppose abortion are labeled extremist and wrongheaded all because we think that the innocent ought to be afforded the same protections of the law as everyone else; all because we think human life ought to be safeguarded by more than an individual woman’s benevolence towards her child. Every year, we are encouraged to stop speaking out, to stop imposing our morality, to stop thinking about abortion, to just get over it and let everyone decide for themselves.
Despite the push by NARAL and Planned Parenthood, despite the promises of politicians who control the House, Senate and Executive branch; there have been minor victories for those in the pro-life camp. Just this past year, Dr. Louise Britton, former National Cancer Institute’s chief of the Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, reexamined her own data after years of pretending there was no link between abortion, birth control and a specific type of aggressive breast cancer and recanted; revealing a 40% increased risk to women under 40. Abby Johnson’s resignation as a director of Planned Parenthood in light of the unavoidable truth of an abortion done while viewed through an ultrasound was another blow to those who pretend abortion does nothing of significance. The Stupak amendment was passed preventing abortion from being federally funded in the house version of the yet to be signed into law healthcare bill. Public attitudes have begun to alter. Recent surveys indicate the nation is more pro-life than ever before; that the expediency of abortion is no longer as compelling an argument as people come forward to discuss how they’ve suffered since.
We know it is the law of the land. We know that many disagree with us for all sorts of reasons. We also know the laws are unjust to the innocent, to everyone involved in the process of procuring an abortion. We know the laws can only be changed if we tirelessly march and seek to change hearts and minds by example. We do not know the outcome. We only know we must keep trying. We must keep speaking. Looking back at the Dr. King video, I’m sure there were many unable to attend that historic speech, who felt kinship upon hearing his words, who were present in spirit with those able to attend.
Friday, January 22, 2010, there will be many of us scanning the internet or listening to the news to hear about the speeches and March for Life. Everyone who has ever spoken out against the evil of abortion is a part of that march. Everyone who has ever prayed and petitioned Mary for the end of this international scourge is a part of the march. Everyone who has ever made room in the inn by offering shelter or aid to a pregnant mother, or who has witnessed quietly by their own lives, by their own parenting, is part of the march. Everyone who has ever said “No.” to the offering of such services for any reason is part of the march. So Friday, if you’re home feeding the toddlers or at work filling out reports, pray with those able to walk the streets to the Supreme Court and hope that ever more hearts are changed. See you at the march.
Copyright 2010 Sherry Antonetti