Yesterday’s March for Life was the sixth that I’ve been present for, though not always on the National Mall. Attending The Catholic University of America, my college campus was overtaken each year around this time by tour buses in the dozens and school groups in the thousands. I’ve wondered down to the Mall a few times to see what happens at the March, to dialogue with participants, and to earnestly find common ground with them — which wouldn’t seem so hard, given we both oppose abortion.
Each year, as the March for Life winds down I am left with a bitter feeling about what has happened and whether this is really something which stands for life. The messages are clear, and there’s always an abundance of signage and literature littered on the Mall in the aftermath if it wasn’t for you. However, the tactics don’t seem consistent with respecting human dignity — and I’m not even talking about those graphic depictions of aborted children.
As I see it, abortion is a wildly complex issue, or rather serious of interconnected issues, and there’s widespread agreement among Americans more than we concede. The movement, both anti-abortion and pro-choice, are led by the radicals on each side — and the rest of us are left somewhere mixed in. Yet, it is those most radical who set the tone and receive media attention and it is those who damage the cause of ending abortion and standing for life.
I highlight one incident from last night, which is more typical than I want to admit, of interactions I’ve had online and in person with those participating in anti-abortion efforts. I readily admit, I began the interaction with one of the participants by tweeting at them; I commented that suggesting pro-choice activists had killed anti-abortion ones was extreme. I stand by that.
In response, I received a barrage of ad hominem tweets, accusations that I was lying, and an unwillingness to engage civilly — and this was with someone with whom they agreed on abortion! The anti-abortion community needs to stop assailing those with whom it does not agree and question whether its tactics are consistent with its message because, in far too many, but not all, instances these two just don’t coincide.