Marching for life, on 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

It takes time to tabulate exact figures, but there are early signs that this year’s March for Life could see the biggest turnout ever.  Last year drew 400,000 attendees; this year’s event appeared considerably larger.  A rather large portion of the crowd was comprised of young people, although popular media mythology has it that young people are supposed to be almost universally pro-abortion.  The pro-life gay community put in an appearance, too.  The Pope offered a salute from his official Twitter account: “I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life.”

Despite this impressive demonstration of enthusiasm, the March for Life doesn’t get much coverage from the media.  Some of them ignore it completely; others acknowledge its existence, in the same way that they report the local weather.  Actually, that’s not even true, because thanks to the “climate change” movement, the local weather does occasionally get put into political “context.”  That’s the one thing you never see in the slight media coverage afforded to the pro-life movement.  It doesn’t get analyzed, or portrayed as part of any broader social trend.  The press doesn’t ask what causes it to remain so strong, even after forty years of being sternly lectured that it’s fighting for a lost cause.  Pro-lifers give cheerful interviews to news anchors who would feel more comfortable sitting down with the dictators of North Korea or Iran; they wave happily into cameras held by quivering hands.  Media organizations that swoon when leftist organizations quote dubious statistics in some “noble” cause – climate change, gun control – scowl at the simple observation by pro-lifers that America is missing 55 million people due to the post-Roe abortion regime.

Part of the problem is that many reporters wouldn’t consider an extra 55 million Americans a good thing.  The world is overpopulated, don’t you know!  The last thing we need is more kids gobbling up fossil fuels!  If you ask a pro-abortion liberal to take a guess at what color all those missing children might be, you can get them to spit nails.

Every year brings a fresh round of polls assuring us that Roe vs. Wade is here to stay.  It’s tough to find more than 40 or 45 percent popular support for its repeal, at best.  Other polls put the number at more like 25 or 30 percent.  And yet, everyone who seriously reads Roe agrees it’s one of the most deeply flawed decisions ever to emanate from the Supreme Court, an exercise of raw judicial power that makes even some ardent supporters of abortion rights uncomfortable.

Why should we be comfortable with a law that everyone knows is broken?  Why should we shrug and accept it as a permanent fixture of the American landscape, just because it’s a few decades old?  We’re routinely told we must part with far older traditions.  In fact, defending a tradition based largely on its age and durability is supposed to be intellectually vacant.  No one on the Left thinks the Constitution deserves special reverence because it’s well into its third century; quite the opposite.  But a 40-year old Supreme Court decision that serves as a textbook example of shoddy judicial reasoning, widely mocked for its fanciful talk of “penumbras” and “emanations,” is beyond question?

It would take great public support to challenge Roe vs. Wade, to be sure.  But when pro-lifers try to muster that support, they’re told not to bother, because of Roe vs. Wade.  It’s hard to imagine the activist Left accepting such a circular argument in defense of anything it really wanted to change.

Even with Roe gone, a state-by-state battle over abortion laws and funding would be long, grueling work… rather like the state-by-state battle over gay marriage, come to think of it.  One reason that such battles are useful to society is that they allow each new generation a chance to have its say, and prove the strength of its beliefs.  There really shouldn’t be that many social questions that get settled forever.  The young have a right to re-ignite each debate.  Clearly, a lot of young people are ready to have such a debate about abortion, but they speak into the hurricane of a media culture that is barely willing to acknowledge their existence.

But isn’t abortion a “women’s issue,” upon which men of any age have no right to venture their opinion?  That can only be true if fatherhood is completely without value.  Plenty of men prefer it that way, because they would rather not carry the responsibility of being a father.  Single motherhood, meanwhile, is a formidable burden for any young woman.  A bad ending is therefore predicted for many life stories… and the unwritten pages are torn apart.  The poverty of the future is ensured.

We know a better way.  It is built into our very nature, echoing through our history and art.  Even our pop music includes quite a bit of wistful talk about “forever.”  Love that lasts forever should have plenty of room for children, shouldn’t it?  And yet, a certain cynicism about such romantic notions is hard-coded into our society.  Officially, pregnancy is often regarded as “punishment” for a “mistake.”  You might just have a shot at making something eternal and beautiful out of your romantic relationships… but probably not.  The State and its well-funded partners stand ready to tidy up any complications that might arise.  And you know, if you wanted a boy, you really shouldn’t be forced to give birth to a girl…

Embracing responsibility is very difficult, particularly in the face of a legal and cultural regime that considers it foolish.  It’s quite something to see so many people nevertheless willing to make the effort, isn’t it?