CONCORD, N.H. — About 500 people took part in the March for Life in the capital city of Concord, New Hampshire, Saturday under a sunny sky and temperatures slightly below freezing, but moderate for a January afternoon in northern New England. The pro-life march is one of many held annually throughout the United States around the January 22 date of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton establishing abortion "rights" for women and forbidding the banning or significant limitations on the freshly minted abortion "rights" in any of the states or jurisdictions of the United States.
Following the march, which started at the State House, the demonstrators gathered at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church, a few blocks south of the Feminist Health Care Center, an abortuary located a short walk from the State House. The pro-lifers enjoyed fellowship and refreshments and heard pro-life speakers, including state Rep. Kathy Souza (R-Manchester), who gave an update on right-to-life legislation at the State House, including a ban on partial-birth abortion that passed last year over the veto of Governor John Lynch (D-Hopkinton), a Catholic who in 2009 signed into law the revision of marriage laws that make marriage officially a union of any two persons, thereby codifying same-sex marriage. Rep. Souza also remarked on a resolution, sponsored by state Rep. Candace Bouchard (D-Concord), to "celebrate" the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Bouchard made a point of saying she is a Catholic when she introduced the resolution at the State House.
Despite Bouchard's apostasy, the pro-life crowd appeared to be largely Catholic, with a few priests and other members of religious orders marching along with the laity, and with many participants praying the rosary aloud as they marched. Women appeared to outnumber men among the pro-lifers, many of them with small children marching alongside or being carried in their parents' arms or pushed in strollers.
New Hampshire Right to Life President Kurt Wuelper noted some statistical evidence showing that the pro-abortion movement has peaked and is ebbing. The numbers indicate fewer physicians doing abortions and fewer facilities offering abortion among their "reproductive health" services.
Darlene Pawlik, a former New Hampshire Right to Life president, was the keynote speaker, and the youthful mother of five and grandmother of (so far) two traced the history of abortion, once considered a "reproductive health service" fit only for prostitutes. Pawlik also noted that she had been conceived by rape and was glad her mother chose to give her life. Both she and Wuelper chided those "pro-life" politicians who say they favor banning abortions except in cases of "rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother." An effort to save a mother's life that is not a direct attack on the fetus is a different moral issue from abortion, but it often gets thrown in with the "rape and incest" exceptions. Even with those exceptions, Wuelper said, a ban on all other abortions would save 99.5 percent of those being aborted.
Though it was not mentioned, the Time magazine cover story in the January 14 issue might have buoyed the hopes of the pro-life marchers. "40 YEARS AGO, ABORTION RIGHTS ACTIVISTS WON AN EPIC VICTORY WITH ROE V. WADE," the cover proclaimed. "THEY'VE BEEN LOSING EVER SINCE."
In front of the Feminist Health Center on Main Street were a dozen or so abortion "rights" demonstrators, some holding signs supporting abortion "rights" and opposing the so-called "War on Women." Other signs had a explicitly anti-Catholic messages. "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries," read one. Another declared, "If Men could get Pregnant, Abortion Would Be A Sacrament." If the woman holding it realized she was committing a blasphemy, she appeared not to care.
But she and the others had to notice that on that Saturday afternoon, nearing the 40th anniversary of Roe. V. Wade, the numbers were decidedly on the other side. If, as a cynic once said, "God is on the side of the big battalions," the battalions of the pro-lifers are growing. Those defending the "culture of death" are not.
Photo: New Hampshire State House