This article originally appeared online at Human Events on January 24, 2011.
The Invisible Lion: The March for Life walks before shuttered cameras.
by John Hayward
Today marks the annual March for Life in Washington, DC. It’s bitter cold in the nation’s capital today, but the marchers are undeterred. They’re accustomed to being frozen out.
They don’t get much media coverage, no matter how impressive their numbers. Their speakers don’t wind up on many evening news broadcasts, no matter how powerful their words. To the mainstream media, pro-lifers are pointlessly fighting a battle that ended in 1973. They might as well be re-enacting the Battle of Gettysburg in period costume. Their story is not newsworthy because it cannot end with a grand political climax that settles things in their favor, forever.
None of this weakens the morale of those who walk in the March for Life. They don’t need their hands raised by media referees to know they are winning.
“It’s not just a movement anymore,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser, in her annual “State of the Unborn” address. “All the polls show this is a pro-life America now.” Her organization did phenomenally well in the midterm elections, backing 90 candidates and winning 62 races. She strongly supports the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act, saying “we have all the ability to save children’s lives by stopping the funding of their deaths.”
The Act would end a billion-dollar subsidy to the abortion industry. What society invests such resources in subsidizing an activity it wants to see less of? We are often told our immense government is noble because it enacts the will of the people. If this were true, the people would be clamoring to see an army of poor women marching into abortion clinics. No one should want that.
The March for Life comes in the wake of the horrifying Kermit Gosnell revelations from Philadelphia, in which a deranged serial killer was paid to ply his trade as an abortionist. Civil authorities did nothing to inspect his clinic or put a stop to his activities. It is clear that abortion is not an antiseptic procedure the government applies with great care and discipline. We should have known that from the start. Ideology mixes with vast sums of money to produce an impenetrable blindness.
The common response to the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act is that it will “force” poor women to bear children, flooding society with unwanted kids who drain our welfare resources. What society could long survive treating its citizens as a luxury it cannot afford? The living are gatekeepers of the world their children inherit. The responsibility for creating an America we are proud to show off to newborns – every inch of every city from sea to shining sea – is ours. If the current squalor of our cities is unacceptable, the answer is to clean them up, not erase the witnesses to our shame.
We can begin with the clear declaration that everyone – man and woman, rich and poor – is responsible for the choices they make in life. We can renounce the ideology that tells us families are not important, while handing us the bill for disposing of the proof they were wrong. We can do what the hardy souls in that March for Life are doing, and declare our unwavering love and devotion for life itself, choosing possibility over entropy. Life, hope, opportunity, growth… these are all different words for the same bright faith. No particular religious beliefs are necessary to embrace it, only the understanding that human life is not a commodity to be rationed, or a menace to be feared.
The butcher of Philadelphia was not only guilty of abusing women, although he was certainly guilty of that. Say the true name of his crime, count the number of his nameless victims, and you will know the name of the virtue that burns in opposition to his evil. You will see the shape of the invisible lion that walks before shuttered cameras today, unseen by a media that doesn’t want to focus its eyes. Closer to the point where an unborn child’s life is joined to the life of the mother, we will find truly difficult questions about freedom and abortion. The questions before us today, which we can begin to answer with the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act, are not difficult. We only pretend they are because we were persuaded to forget about the people Kermit Gosnell kept in jars.