Last weekend, I attended the first March for Life in a post-Roe v. Wade America.
Though the original goal of the march has now been realized – relegating Roe to the ash heap of history alongside other horrendous court decisions like Plessy and Dred Scott – the event still drew well over 100,000 highly-energized people. More importantly, despite the left’s best wishes, the annual march will not be ending any time soon. I heard from people coming from all walks of life about why they continued to brave the January weather, despite Dobbs now being on the books. The answer, from former workers within the abortion industry who have come to regret their past decisions, to the Canadian citizens coming down to America in the hopes that our pro-life movement would one day seep over the border, to the mothers who came with their children and in memory of the children they lost to the abortion industry, was unified: Dobbs is just the beginning.
Contrary to the media portrayal of the pro-life movement, the vast majority of the attendees at the march were young, and well over half were women. All of these people were treating the march as a celebration of what has passed, and an optimistic look at what is now to come. For years, the movement has been forced to hope and pray that the right justices would get onto the court, and the right case would be brought forward. Dobbs changed that and moved the battlefield from the legal courts to the courts of public opinion. The average person can now do something substantial in the battle to protect life by campaigning and voting for legislatures that will promote the right bills.
It was also clear that the people at the march did not want to simply snap their fingers and make abortion illegal. Even more so than a political fight, this movement is about a cultural one. As Robert Severino, vice president of domestic policy at the Heritage Foundation, said in a speech at the National Pro-Life Summit the day after the march, the goal of the movement is not to simply end abortion; it is to create a “support network of love” in which abortion would be totally unnecessary and unthinkable in the first place.
This is a line of thinking that pro-lifers should and must widely adopt. We must be able to understand the horrible position and mentality many of the women who receive abortions are forced into and have compassion toward them. We can’t simply ignore, for instance, abortions due to rape and incest, simply because they comprise “only 1.5%” of total abortions; instead, we need to acknowledge those pain and hardships, and work to help these women in every way we can. We need to continue to promote and donate to crisis pregnancy centers, to the point where they are more widespread than Planned Parenthood. We need to promote legislation that would offer life-affirming alternatives to the abortion mills. We should work to help more people understand the evil that abortion is, but we should also emphasize with those who have felt like they have no other choice and work within that framework. As Abby Johnson said at the same summit, we cannot “win an argument and lose a soul”.
The end goal of the pro-life movement should not simply be a personhood amendment to the Constitution; it should be to create a culture in which a personhood amendment would be completely unnecessary. It should be to create a culture in which all the abortion mills have already closed their doors as no one would ever want or feel they need to step into one of them in the first place.
The American pro-life movement is massive and only picking up steam. It is not, as some hoped, ending now that it has achieved its long-time goal. On the contrary, it is expanding to new horizons. Now, as the movement realigns, it is incredibly important to realize what exactly we hope to achieve, and properly set our sights on reaching that new finish line.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.