A Further Perspective

We Shall Overcome

A few last words from the March for Life.

By 1.24.14

Patrick O’Hannigan
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The golden thread running through Spectator articles about this year’s March for Life deserves a mention of its own, if only so that an ever-widening circle of people can be heartened by the optimism so evident at the event itself.

Benjamin Brophy wrote about the ecumenical power and youthful vibe of the march, knowing that photos featured here and elsewhere support those assertions. Matt Purple highlighted polling data to explain why “abortion rights” will eventually be remembered as one of the political left’s “many humiliating cul-de-sacs, like eugenics and Prohibition.” Neither Brophy nor Purple can be accused of naiveté, yet each of their essays stands as a bracing alternative to the willful misreading of history with which the White House marked the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, by equating abortion with dream fulfillment. Even by the low standards of contemporary political discourse, that was a howler: When you wish upon a scar, your dreams come true.

The wonderful thing is that far fewer people now accept pabulum from Planned Parenthood and its allies. As Brit Hume pointed out in take-no-prisoners commentary for Fox News, “In 2012, this organization [Planned Parenthood] says it carried out ‘abortion procedures’ 329,445 times. Whatever that number represents, it’s not parenthood.”

Young adults have never had much patience for euphemisms not of their own making, and they understand the weasel wording of phrases like “pro-choice” and “abortion procedure.”

This year, almost half of the 46 people on the bus to the March from my North Carolina parish were teenagers. Both prayers on our way to the District of Columbia and affecting testimonies volunteered on the ride home were offered in a mixture of English and Spanish. Young and old alike joined our bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Burbidge (above), in singing the old Bill Withers anthem “Lean on Me” at the Navy Memorial before joining pilgrims from other states. Along the March route, people chanted things like “Hey, Obama! Your mama chose life!” In print, that chant might look confrontational, but in person it was boisterously friendly rather than threatening. It could hardly have been otherwise, as even the carefully stoic police officers around the Supreme Court seemed to understand, because the throngs were well-behaved. Many of the same people had reverently intoned “Kyrie Eleison” together not long before.  

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About the Author

Patrick O'Hannigan is a writer in North Carolina.