This kind of an event is a good place to quickly learn things. Here are some thoughts I took away from the march:
- Thirty-seven years after Roe v. Wade, opposition to abortion is still strong and is growing. Although many have tried to justify abortion with the "safe and legal" mantra (one might ask, "Safe for whom?") and others have tried to sweep the issue under the rug, public identification with pro-life principles is growing to the point where more than half of Americans consider themselves pro-life. This is up from 33 percent in 1995, causing me to cautiously wonder if the "abortion rights" movement is sunsetting.
- The Catholic church is a major force holding up the pro-life movement. Most of today's crowd seemed to consist of Catholic parishioners bused in from all over western Washington. Catholic schools and organizations such as Knights of Columbus also showed strong representation. Other evangelical and orthodox groups were represented, but it was no question who comprised the majority. I do not suggest that the Mormon church formally organize groups to attend these rallies, but I do hope that more Mormons take motivation in themselves to get involved with the pro-life movement and consider it as high of a priority as Catholics do.
- Some pro-abortion lawmakers cannot stop trying to hinder those who offer alternatives. Unsatisfied that abortion is already legal and readily-available in the United States, some activists and lawmakers cannot stop trying to suppress or throw roadblocks in the paths of those who would try to reduce the number of abortions through alternatives such as adoption or abstinence education.
One such effort in the Washington state legislature this session is Senate Bill 6452, which would require any crisis pregnancy center not offering abortion services to state that no medical care is available at the facility in "thirty-point font size or larger on the main entry door of the organization", on the home page of the organization's Web site, and in all its advertising materials. I have read the full text of this bill, and it seems to be motivated only by persons upset that more young women were not being steered to abortion clinics. Perhaps the clinics are feeling the competition?
- Abortion is not a partisan issue, a "wedge" issue, or even a political issue. It is a tragedy. On the Capitol steps we were addressed by various Democrats and Republicans who understand that abortion is wrong and are not ashamed to call themselves pro-life. They took time from their session to come out and stand with us in opposition to abortion. We need to pay attention to how legislators vote and support Democrats who have done a difficult thing and broken from their traditional party line that favors abortion. We need to sternly question Republicans who have broken from their party's platform of supporting pro-life principles. We are still a nation ruled by the people, and if the people vote for candidates who support pro-life principles, Roe v. Wade will be overturned. Today gave me hope that this day can come.