Pro-life optimism

Given some of the major hits the pro-life movement has taken already in the new year, one might think activists fighting the culture of death have reason to be pessimistic or even defeatist. After all, the Obama administration’s contraception mandate came out one day before the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco and two days before the 39th March for Life in Washington, D.C. Talk about a major blow to the spirit. We were knocked down, but only temporarily. So march we did to the tune of more than 50,000 on the West Coast and 400,000 plus on the East Coast. 

I’ve been covering the March for Life for EWTN radio and television for several years now. Each time I am more impressed by the creative and determined spirit of the people coming up behind us. Lila Rose of Live-Action (www.liveaction.org) tops the list. Rose’s organization takes full advantage of the new media and has probably been the most effective at exposing the many layers of problems at the nation’s number one abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. 

Then there are the young women involved in a new ministry calling itself the Back to Life movement. They are planning a 21-day walk beginning in March that will see 39 of them, representing 39 years of legalized abortion in America, walking 250 miles from the largest Planned Parenthood facility in Houston to Dallas, where the Roe v. Wade case began. As a statement on their website, www.backtolifemovement.com, explains, they hope to depict “America’s tragic path of abortion, taking a radical stand for life as they share personal stories of how abortion has impacted their lives.” 

Probably one of the most unique activists I met this year in Washington was Miss Delaware, Maria Cahill. There she was standing along Constitution Avenue with teens from her high school. The 21-year-old beauty queen was all bundled up in a ski jacket, scarves and mittens. But thanks to the lovely crown on her head and the Miss Delaware sash draped over the winter weather gear, she stood out from the crowd. She told me she received her title last year and has been using her platform to talk about pro-life causes. Despite the push-back from the pageant world, she still manages to keep these issues front and center. 

After I finished our live coverage I went back to the hotel to prepare for some radio interviews. That’s when I came across a talk given by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia. The archbishop was addressing the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life in Washington. His presentation was aptly titled “A Thread for Weaving Joy.” As I read through his text, the young people I met at the March that day came to mind. 

“The great Green Bay Packer theologian, Vince Lombardi liked to say that real glory consists in getting knocked flat on the ground, again and again and again and getting back up — just one more time than the other guy. That’s real glory. And there is no better metaphor for the Christian life. Don’t give up. Your pro-life witness gives glory to God. Be the best Catholics you can be. Pour your love for Jesus Christ into building and struggling for a culture of life. By your words and by your actions be an apostle to your friends and colleagues. Speak up for what you believe. Love the Church. Defend her teaching. Trust in God. Believe in the Gospel. And don’t be afraid. Fear is beneath your dignity as sons and daughters of the God of life.” 

You just can’t keep a good cause or a good pro-lifer down, especially when that cause has so many vibrant young people propelling it into the future. 

Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ave Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Sirius Channel 130.