Thursday, 24 January 2019

Marching Amidst a Divided Congress

Written by  Fr. Frank Pavone

Last Friday, hundreds of thousands of Americans came to Washington to march for the rights and lives of children in the first nine months of their lives. This Saturday, I will join tens of thousands who will march in San Francisco for the same purpose.

Those who are still living and growing in their mother’s womb were deprived of the protection of the law by the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision of January 22, 1973. Therefore, on or around that date, and consistently for the last 46 years, those who believe that no human being should be excluded from the protection of the law have rallied, marched, and demonstrated from coast to coast, calling for the reversal of that decision.

As a national leader in the pro-life movement, I help to organize many of these pro-life events, and I see this year the same kind of enthusiasm that has marked this week of events as when I first started attending such marches in 1976.

Many of those who march also communicate with their elected Representatives to let them know that they want them to do everything they can to advance the protection of the children in the womb, and that they are watching the way they vote on the abortion issue. Politically speaking, this year the marchers face a divided Congress. Pro-life strength has increased in the United States Senate. But the House of Representatives is now under the control of the Democrat Party, which supports abortion without restrictions.

Pro-life people are very aware of this. Yet they are not discouraged; indeed, they are energized. This Congress provides the pro-life movement a key opportunity, namely, to show the American people how far the Democrats are from the people they claim to represent on this issue.

Pew Research, for example, found that 28 percent of Democrats say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. How must they feel, then, about the way the Democrat House began the new Congress, immediately introducing efforts to restore funding to the abortion industry that President Trump had diverted from it?

Even worse, all but a handful of the Democrats who were re-elected in November not only voted in the last Congress against a measure to protect children from late-term abortion, but even rejected a measure saying that children who survive an abortion should be given appropriate medical assistance outside the womb.

This is not where the American people are on this issue, as multiple opinion polls show overwhelming support across party lines for measures that protect children in the final months of pregnancy — and certainly when born alive.

The marchers on both coasts this year are aware that the House Democrats can’t get very far with actually enacting legislation that expands abortion, and they are also delighting in the fact that with every Trump judicial nominee that the Senate will confirm, the federal judiciary becomes friendlier to the unborn.

But the opportunity that the Democrat House provides to the pro-life movement is an opportunity to challenge them to honesty, and in so doing, drive a wedge between them and the voter. The movement will insist over and over again this year that Democrat legislators actually describe what they are supporting. Instead of simply hiding behind attractive phrases like “freedom of choice” and “reproductive rights,” how about describing for the American people what an abortion does to the child?

We’re not talking about quoting the Bible or using pro-life talking points. We’re talking about a medically based description of the abortion procedure, utilizing the medical textbooks written by the abortionists (for instance, the well-known text Abortion Practice by Dr. Warren Hern) or the numerous sworn testimonies that abortion doctors have given in courtrooms across the country.

How often in a legislative debate about abortion do you hear a Democrat member of Congress describe an abortion, using the words of the doctors who perform them? It would seem that honest debate on any issue calls for discussing the issue rather than disguising it.

But this is where abortion supporters find their greatest difficulty, and it’s a politically-charged one. The problem is that if and when people hear how the abortionists themselves describe the abortion procedure, using words like “dismember” and “decapitate,” those people will reject it and anyone who supports it.

The abortionists, of course, are not asking for the votes of the public. They lose nothing by describing the procedure honestly.

During this year, and during this Congress, the people marching this week in cities from coast to coast are going to demand no less of the politicians as well.


Fr. Frank Pavone is National Director of Priests for Life, one of the world’s largest organizations focused exclusively on ending abortion. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For the full schedule of Fr. Frank’s activities in San Francisco this weekend, see

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