March for Life 2017
Yesterday I went on the March for Life in Birmingham, England. This was actually my first one.
Since my student days at university I had been definitely pro-life, and caught up in not one or two scuffles between pro-life and pro-abortion groups on campus. The pro-abortion campaigners always seemed to be characterized by enormous anger and much vitriol. But their slogans and their snap responses to questions seemed to never contain a rational argument. I was never convinced by them. Frequently I was revolted and appalled by their tactics. Nothing about them commended their ideas or ideological position.
This student experience of more than 25 years ago seemed to be repeated again in the March for Life yesterday. The pro-life marchers were sane and sensible people wanting to witness peacefully to their considered and rational position. The pro-abortion demonstrators wanted to stop us giving any witness at all. They were prepared to go against principles of our democratic society in order to stop us giving a public witness to what we believe and rationally argue is true: that simply human life begins at the moment of conception and that innocent life should not be terminated for any reason. The pro-abortion demonstrators did not present a counter argument but asserted angrily a number of irrational retorts, e.g. – “pro-life what a lie, you want women to die” and “get your rosaries out of our ovaries.” First if we did manage to outlaw abortion it would not result in women dying, it would result in women giving birth to babies and thus more women being born. The deaths of women in the past due to problems with attempted abortions and indeed other pre-natal problems were due to lack of antibiotics and other modern medicine. The legalisation of abortion has not caused less women to die, it is modern medicine that has done this. And latterly the slogan about rosaries and ovaries is just preposterous! It is not pro-lifers who advocate cutting women up, but pro-abortion activists.
What really did impress me yesterday was first the wide cross-section of people from all walks of life who were prepared to bear witness in public to their pro-life beliefs. There were children with their families, young couples, students from universities, pregnant women, and men and women of all ages. Secondly they did this in a very peaceful and rational civilised manner. And thirdly, they did this in a prayerful way. When the March was stopped by our opponents, and the police had insufficient men to move them on, we waited and we prayed. Pro-life people were praying the rosary together, they were singing Ave Maria, and Salve Regina. They got on their knees to pray when one of our opponents fainted and went off with paramedics. This was the powerful witness we bore. We were not mouthing vitriol at our opponents, we were not venting anger at them, we were peacefully saying we do not agree with terminating unborn children for they are innocent human beings. Yes of course women should have rights over their own bodies, but their unborn children’s bodies are not there’s to destroy.
Indeed the whole day seemed like a day of prayer. We prayed the offices on the bus together (the marvel of the universalis app on phones and tablets!), we prayed the rosary on the bus, and in the march. We visited the relic image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Cathedral, expressing our devotion and leaving our petitions in her maternal care.
The last thing to say was that it was a wonderful day to be together. I met lots of people I knew but masses I didn’t - we were all joyful in one another’s company. Contrary to what our opponents are saying on social media (that they spoiled our day) the day was a very good one.
If you have never been on the March for Life then I highly recommend it to you – an important opportunity to witness to life, to pray and to be with friends.