Every year in attending and covering the March for Life for EWTN TV, I come away with a great stockpile of special memories and experiences. Whether it’s the memory of talking with so many young and articulate high school and college students or the experience of taking part in what the March for Life refers to as the largest civil-rights prayer rally in the world, I always come away energized and renewed and ready to get back on the front lines.
This year was exceptionally poignant as we were marking the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that gave us legalized abortion throughout the country.
But what I keep going back to is a statement made by a top pro-life leader during one of my television interviews.
I was speaking on-camera with Carol Tobias of National Right to Life. When I asked her thoughts on how the pro-life movement was doing and what she sees in the near future, she referred to the pro-life movement as a movement that will never go away because it is a “movement of love.”
Her statement stuck with me for a number of reasons. First of all, how else can you explain why so many people come out year after year in the bitter cold? And I mean bitter cold.
It’s certainly not for the media attention. Beyond the live coverage on EWTN, and coverage of the event by Catholic and many Protestant media outlets, there is practically a news blackout on the part of the secular press.
This year granted, due in part to the Roe v. Wade anniversary, there were a few more talk show interviews and print stories, but no one in the pro-life movement is going to make headlines or become the latest craze on Twitter or Facebook. Our topic is not a comfortable one or convenient one for the media, as well as a culture that has embraced and promoted a Planned Parenthood type abortion ideology.
It’s not for any personal gain. Doing pro-life work is often all- consuming, and most of it is done on a volunteer basis. If folks are getting paid, it’s at a sacrificial level and every time they turn around, they are having to host another auction, book sale or fish fry in order just to get enough cash to keep the local pregnancy resource center or post abortion counseling hot-line running. And for many who attend the March for Life, months before the event there was even more fundraising to cover the cost of the plane, train or long bus ride to Washington, D.C., through bake sales.
That’s why Tobias’ statement makes so much sense. How else can you explain why pro-lifers do what they do, not only each year when the anniversary of that dreadful decision comes around but every day in their selfless pro-life work?
As she explained, it is love for the baby in the womb and for the parents of that unborn child. It is love for the elderly and disabled and, most of all, it is a deep love for God since we see every person as made in his image and likeness.
Speaking of love, despite the long list of struggles and hardships that often come with the pro-life territory, I have never met a group of more loving or more joyful people than pro-lifers. They have learned that it is, indeed, in the giving that we receive. It is a real life example of what St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13; “love never fails.” Or as Tobias explained in her closing comments during our interview, since we are a people who respect life in all stages, love also never ends.
The movement of love is a lot like the March for Life in Washington, D.C., this year, with the throngs of people walking up Constitution Avenue. It just keeps going.
Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ave Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Sirius Channel 160.