Terry McLaughlin: Walking to support life in all stages
On Jan. 21, the same day as the much-publicized Women’s March, whose lengthy list of sponsors includes Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, the 13th annual West Coast Walk for Life will take place in San Francisco.
Marchers will process from Civic Center Plaza along Market Street to Justin Herman Plaza, and among them will be residents from Grass Valley and Nevada City who attend this event every year, because they believe that abortion is not just a “procedure”, but is the ending of an innocent life.
The National March For Life began as a small peaceful demonstration in Washington, DC on Jan. 22, 1974 — the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision to legalize abortion. It has grown rapidly to become the largest pro-life event in the world, and it is witness to the greatest human rights violation of our time — legalized abortion on demand.
Since 1973 approximately 57 million Americans have been lost to abortion — that’s about one-sixth of our nation’s population. China, which has had state-sponsored forced abortion since 1971, has seen a staggering 330 million babies aborted, roughly the equivalent of the entire population of the United States.
The media has been an effective partner with the abortion industry in portraying pro-life supporters as lunatics, misogynists, or backward-thinkers, and marginalizing their efforts. If 12 people gather with signs to protest the Dakota pipeline, or 25 members of a progressive organization stage a demonstration, you will likely see a large photograph in the newspaper.
However, even though the Washington, D.C. pro-life rallies have drawn more than half a million people, and the San Francisco rallies draw tens of thousands, it is likely that you will read or hear very little, if anything, about this event in either our local media, or the wider Sacramento area. In 2016, despite a major blizzard that had shut down much of the D.C. region, thousands of people defied the weather to attend this event in our nation’s capital. Tens of thousands more citizens joined the 2016 Walk For Life in San Francisco, some driving more than 30 hours from the Midwest — while about 100 counter-protesters showed up. You were much more likely to see media coverage of the 100 counter protestors than the tens of thousands of participants peacefully advocating for the life of the unborn.
In September 1970, three years before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States, an article about ethics in “California Medicine,” a publication of the Western Journal of Medicine, stated the following: “In defiance of the long held Western ethic of intrinsic and equal value for every human life regardless of its stage, condition, or status, abortion is becoming accepted by society … It has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra-or extra-uterine until death. The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices.”
The current “semantics gymnastics” being used by the media and those who support abortion on demand are striking — abortion has now become “women’s health” or “women’s justice”, and pro-life advocates are now being referred to as “anti-choice.” Despite this, a number of respected polling organizations have shown that public sentiment is moving toward greater restrictions on abortions, and these are encouraging statistics for those who support life. A Quinnipiac poll from November 2014 showed 60 percent of Americans support outlawing abortions after 20 weeks gestation. A September 2015 CBS/NYT poll indicates that 62 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be more strictly limited or outlawed altogether. Fifty-four percent of those polled in a March 2016 CNN poll believed abortion should be illegal or legal in only a few circumstances. In a Marist poll from July 2016, 56 percent of respondents said medical professionals and organizations should be able to opt out of abortion procedures and coverages. And the same poll showed that among registered voters, 57 percent believe the First Amendment provides that no person or organization should be compelled to help perform or cover abortions against their conscience or religious beliefs.
Hillary Clinton’s public stance on unrestricted abortions, with an enthusiastic endorsement by Planned Parenthood, may have been one of the leading causes of her election loss, along with many other candidates with similar views. Google reported that abortion was the top search topic affiliated with Mrs. Clinton and one of the top issues searched on Election Day. Planned Parenthood spent $30 million to help abortion advocates run for office and they did not emerge victorious.
Although you may not see any media coverage of this event, those walking peacefully down Market Street in San Francisco this weekend will be unapologetically taking a public stand to support life in all its stages — the unborn, the disabled and the elderly, who have become the human sacrifices of a culture which often devalues and marginalizes those who are too little, too sick, too broken, too old — or too inconvenient.
If it is acceptable for you to take the life of an unborn child, there is literally nothing that you can be denied.
Terry McLaughlin, who lives in Nevada City, writes a twice monthly column for The Union. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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