March for Life
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Group photo from the pre-March meet-up in Washington, D.C.
Before packing up at the O'Connor Conference: the Rehumanize International/Consistent Life Network teams. Left to right: Christy Yao, Rosemary Geraghty, Kyle Murphy, and Aimee Murphy of Rehumanize International; John Whitehead, Richard Stith, and Tony Masalonis of the Consistent Life Network.
Published Writings from Our Sympathizers
A World Where Abortion Is Unthinkable, Shelley Douglass, Plough Magazine
The Original Feminism is Pro-life, Marilyn Kopp, Washington Examiner
The “Seamless Garment” Makes a Comeback, John Gehring, Commonweal
Writings of Interest from Others
The Roe anniversary sometimes brings good opinion pieces in publications not known for thoughtful pro-life commentary. The on-line newspapers we link to allow a certain number of free articles per month before subscribing.
Abortion Rights go against the Spirit of Civil Rights, by Michael Gerson, Washington Post
“But judicial fiat can’t be a sufficient explanation [for the continuing backlash to Roe v. Wade]. The Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage in every state was also sweeping. It has produced almost no political reaction. The contrast to Roe could hardly be starker. And the explanation is rather simple: All the great civil rights movements have been movements of inclusion. . . . In the most rapidly successful civil rights movement of our time, gays and lesbians came out to show their communities that LGBT people were their friends and family members. . . . It is the antiabortion movement that appeals to inclusion. It argues for a more expansive definition of the human community.”
How the Pro-life Movement has Promoted Liberal Values, by Andrew R. Lewis, New York Times, based on a book that offers detailed scholarship, offers this thesis:
“One of the surprising effects of the pro-life movement over the past half-century has been greater support for civil liberties like free speech. The politics of abortion have helped teach conservative Christians to value these rights.”
Daniel K. Williams offers further commentary on Lewis’s thesis.
In Arkansas, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor announced he wouldn’t participate in Little Rock’s March for Life. He objected to the keynote speaker being Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, because she had pushed for four executions that his diocese had worked hard to prevent. He did participate in other activities mourning Roe.
The sponsors of the March, Arkansas Right to Life, were probably thinking in single-issue terms of political advantage when they invited the attorney general. But this illustrates one of the risks of the single-issue political approach: all politicians are multi-issue. When asking officeholders to speak, avoiding other issues entirely is often unworkable.
Left: Leslie Routlege. Right: Bishop Taylor greeting refugees in Lebanon.
Quotation of the Week
Andrew R. Lewis
How the Pro-life Movement has Promoted Liberal Values
New York Times, January 19, 2018
So while the anti-abortion movement is often considered central to traditionalist culture-war politics, it also has an individual rights approach, owing to its progressive (largely Catholic) roots. Even before Roe, parts of the pro-life movement emphasized the universal rights of the unborn, drawing upon the language of human rights that was prominent in post-New Deal liberalism. These liberal pro-life activists sought to marry their cause to language used to support civil rights for African-Americans and promote human dignity by supporting antiwar efforts. The National Right to Life Committee, for example, was founded in 1968, intentionally emphasizing the rights of the unborn in its name.
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