By John Quinn, DFLA’s Business Operations Assistant
- To be a part of the solution
The most recently available data shows that a little less than one million abortions happen each year in the United States. Our society continues to fail the preborn and their mothers at a staggering rate. To correct the injustices that fuel abortion violence is a monumental task, one that can only be shouldered by a movement. I want to be a part of the solution to these injustices. Standing up publicly alongside my fellow citizens who also acknowledge this problem and conversing about next steps is a good place to begin. Even if I cannot find an inch more common ground with others in the movement, simply advancing both the acknowledgement of injustice and the desire to rectify it are worthy goals.
- To continue expanding the scope of the pro-life movement
For decades, abortion advocates have questioned the name of the pro-life movement by asserting that we are only “pro-birth.” Of course, that is not true. It has never been true. Political circumstances forced the pro-life movement to prioritize overturning Roe. Now with that long standing goal met, we have an excellent opportunity to emphasize the consistency of the pro-life movement, and vocally oppose lethal aggressive violence and all threats to human flourishing, including abortion. The pro-life movement can and must advance justice for the preborn by becoming the Whole Life movement, by advancing justice for all people.
- To stand again with the Whole Life movement
The Whole Life movement has been showing up for years at the March for Life to stand for the preborn and invite our fellow pro-lifers to consistently oppose all violence. This year will be no different! I’m looking forward to marching in solidarity with Rehumanize International, Feminists Choosing Life New York, Feminists for Life, PAAU, and others!
- To send a supportive message to women
Women deserve better than abortion. Preventing abortion violence is an essential aspect of truly addressing the systemic inequalities women face in our society. As long as abortion remains the go-to band aid for unexpected pregnancies, we will not see the transformative change that welcomes women into the workplace as their full selves. I will be marching to advance these ambitious feminist goals and to celebrate the incredible resilience of countless women who have brought new life into the world and shaped society in myriad positive ways. Millions of their fellow citizens stand ready to support mothers in big ways and small.
- To be inspired
Connecticut State Representative Treneé McGee will be speaking from the main stage of the March! She is a fearless Whole Life Leader, and the recipient of Democrats for Life’s Gov. Robert Casey Sr. 2022 Whole Life Leadership Award. I can’t wait to cheer her on and I have no doubt that her speech will inspire me and many others! Louisiana State Senator Katrina Jackson will be in town too… is there any better inspiration?
- To stand up to racism
Last year, white supremacists tried (and failed) to crash the March for Life. White supremacy has no place in the pro-life movement, and no place in the public discourse. This year, I’m coming ready to peacefully communicate that racism and white supremacy are not welcome at the March for Life nor in our society.
- To give thanks for Dobbs
For nearly half a century, Roe v. Wade was the biggest obstacle to protecting women and preborn children in law. This will be the first post-Roe March for Life, a momentous occasion for gratitude! I look forward to celebrating the new opportunities to establish justice that Dobbs provides.
- To promote just policies
Of course, we must take advantage of those opportunities–and there is so much we can do! I will be marching to advocate for wrap around support for women, children preborn and born, and their families. I will march for the renewal of the child tax credit. I will march to oppose the death penalty, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and political violence. I will march for solutions to the epidemic of violence in our world at every level from the familial and civic all the way up to the federal and international.
- To advocate for pregnancy resource centers
One of the ways that American civic life has done so much to love both women and their children is through the extensive network of pregnancy resource centers. Unfortunately, since the Dobbs decision, pregnancy resource centers have been targeted for political restriction and even subjected to violent attacks. FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the US Senate that since the Dobbs decision, 70% of FBI abortion-related cases concern violence against pro-life advocates. I will be marching to stand up for the right of pregnancy resource centers to exist and to encourage their continued support for women.
- To reach out to my fellow citizens
Unfortunately, many corners of the pro-abortion movement are deeply entrenched. But as long as the pro-life movement has existed, we have seen folks who worked in the abortion industry re-evaluate their stance and join our ranks. I remain hopeful that any pro-abortion person can be convinced of the justice of our cause and welcomed into the fold. I march to extend a warm and firm presence to them, inviting them to nonviolence, civility, and dialogue. Furthermore, millions of our fellow citizens are deeply conflicted about abortion; they do not know precisely what they think and they lack the vocabulary to discuss abortion. I march to share with those folks the information and terminology that have convicted me of my Whole Life position and allowed me to better understand my position.
- To work towards a more diverse and inclusive pro-life movement
Speaking of welcoming new folks into the movement, the more success we have at changing hearts and minds, the more the stereotypical image of a pro-lifer will be shattered. This will also mean that people with new perspectives and different experiences will come into the movement. I will be marching to welcome people who differ from me into the movement. I will be marching to build unity around our essential principles and welcome diverse perspectives on all non-essentials. This is often a difficult task, but it is a crucial one for our movement’s success.
- To challenge partisan polarization
As a pro-life Democrat, my partisan affiliation is one of the diverse perspectives that I bring to the March for Life and the pro-life movement. As I march, I am happy to challenge partisan polarization both in the movement and in our nation by contributing to the bipartisan pro-life consensus of the future!
- To remember that I am not alone
In 2022, pro-abortion forces have worked overtime to make pro-life folks feel like they are bigoted, backwards, and bracketed off from the rest of society. Marching through our nation’s capital with tens of thousands of citizens who agree on the necessity of justice for the preborn is a refreshing rebuttal of that narrative. It strengthens me to persist in my advocacy all year round!
- To enjoy community
Of course, community is endlessly more rich than merely not being alone. How nourishing it is to spend time around folks who share a fundamental pro-life understanding, who instinctively get each other’s jokes, and who care for each other as humans. Even with strangers (and even across intra-movement debates and the partisan divide), there is a delightful comradery at the March. After all, our movement seeks to respect and celebrate human life; so what better time to revel in our humanity than a giant March when our zany, imperfect, boisterous humanity is on full display?
- To reconnect with old friends
As this will be my fifth year participating in the National March for Life, I look forward to seeing friends from across many periods of my life: friends from high school and college, family members, mentors, and friends I’ve made through the movement. To witness folks pour in from across the country, to catch up with old acquaintances and renew old friendships is one of the best, very human elements of the March.
- To make new friends
Every March, I get to meet new people! Often, while weaving our way through the nation’s capital, I even get to enjoy conversation with these folks. We talk about what brings us each to the March, where we are coming from, what we hope for. We talk about topics completely unrelated to the March, commiserate about the cold weather, and embark upon a new friendship!
- To learn
Even with all the knowledge that comes from working full time in the Whole Life movement, I always learn something new at the March. I encounter new resources that I can connect with now and share with others in days to come. I get to give a deeper hearing to a perspective represented in our coalition which was previously unknown to me. I learn about allies I did not previously realize we had. The wonderful folks at the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists always teach me something new about translating our convictions into the practical realities of pregnancies–with all their diverse medical circumstances. Perhaps above all, I learn when a fellow pro-lifer makes me uncomfortable in one way or another and makes me grapple anew with one of the complexities that our movement is facing down.
- To prepare for legislative efforts in Maryland, Virginia, Nebraska, and more
In 2023, there are opportunities to advance Whole Life legislation in Virginia, Nebraska, Florida, and beyond. There is also the necessity of fighting off pro-abortion legislation in Maryland, Illinois, Minnesota, and other states. At the March, we get to connect, prepare, and strengthen our resolve for these important efforts.
- To stand up for the Hyde Amendment
Fortunately, President Biden’s promise to repeal the Hyde Amendment is currently stalled. Unfortunately, new pro-abortion electeds are arriving in Washington with the intent to eliminate these important protections against taxpayer funding for abortion. Additionally, various government agencies continue searching for and finding new ways to subsidize abortion. To counter these trends, I will be at the March to say that no one should be forced to pay for someone else’s abortion!
- To encourage fellow pro-lifers
Thus far, I’ve listed many ways in which my fellow Marchers encourage and uplift me. But I also want to give them the same gift! I want to show others who tirelessly work to advance justice that they are not alone, that other people who do not even know them appreciate their labors, that they can continue their efforts knowing they are not in vain. This year, I especially want to thank and encourage those sidewalk counselors who have been arrested by the Department of Justice (which openly admits that after what it calls “the devastating blow” of Dobbs, it is enforcing the FACE Act against pro-lifers with “increasing… urgency”). Following in the tradition of the late Representative John Lewis, I want to show my appreciation for and admiration of all those who stir up “good trouble,” who bravely engage in peaceful, nonviolent resistance to the abortion industry.
- To deepen my commitment to the cause
In my own humanity, and after a tumultuous year, I can often become discouraged, depressed, and doubtful about our movement and work. Marching through the cold is a microcosm of what our movement does every day. We have to be ready to sacrifice and trudge on even when the outlook appears bleak. The March is a great chance to practice that disciplined commitment. Deepening my own devotion to the cause will pay dividends when I am later tempted to become pessimistic.
- To have fun!
The March for Life is always marked by joy. And why shouldn’t it be? Although we have to face down true horrors, it is an honor and privilege to push back the darkness. Although we bear the grief of witnessing so many injustices, we also have the joy of standing up for true justice. Although we would wish away atrocities if we could, we know when we confront them that we are in the right place. So the joy of doing justice always permeates our yearly gathering. I can’t wait to march, chant, sing, and dance with my fellow citizens. It is joyful and just plain fun.
- To usher in a hopeful new era
The Dobbs era will not be the end of our work as Whole Life advocates. In many ways, it is only the beginning. And it is an exciting and hopeful beginning! I will be marching to show my committed hopefulness for the gradual and real transformation of our country into a nation that always respects human life.