March for Life a reminder to value all human life

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COURTESY PHOTO // WM.EDU

I believe that humans have an incredible dignity that is theirs from the first moment they come into existence, and it should be protected every day of their lives. That dignity, shared by all of humanity, is the reason why I, along with my fellow members of Tribe for Life, attended the 46th annual March for Life Jan. 18. In gathering in mid-January, pro-life activists recalled the decision of Roe v. Wade made Jan. 22, 1973. Therefore, it was no surprise that abortion was the most prominent issue addressed by demonstrators.

The pro-life movement certainly recognizes abortion as the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time, but in reflecting on this year’s march, it is important to take a step back to consider the fact that abortion is only one of many pro-life issues. To be consistently pro-life, we need to be more than just pro-birth. We need to protect the dignity of all human life through its full course.

Many politicians are simply pro-birth. That is to say, they oppose abortion because it is an attack on life in the womb, but they do not take measures to protect life outside of the womb. The pro-life cause should seek to combat all affronts to the dignity of the human person, whether that person be one moment old, newly born at nine months old, 20 years old or 99 years old.

The death penalty, euthanasia, ineffectual relief for the poor and disabled, class-restrictive access to education and healthcare, unjust treatment of refugees and indigenous peoples — if we are truly pro-life, we need to address these threats to human dignity as well.

All people need to be reminded that life is good, and it is always worth living. When children in America and elsewhere are being born and raised in inhumane conditions, suffering from neglect in their families and prejudice in their society, it is no wonder that so many people feel it might just be better if those children were never born. If we want to see the end of abortion, we need to have systems in place to assist the vulnerable starting after they have been born and until they die.

Before any change in legislation could be effective, a change in public perspective must take place. The overturning of federal policies which destroy life could begin on a very personal level. No one will believe that a politician or demonstrator who claims to be pro-life cares for the dignity of all human lives if that care is not shown in an active effort to protect the dignity of their neighbors by giving them the respect they deserve.

The March for Life was a vibrant celebration of human personhood, and in the crowd of marchers, there was a great sense of joy and a real love for life. It is a shame that political differences which reduce the protection of life to partisan debates about control and choice taint this issue with a spirit of animosity. To all who recognize the dignity of human life from its first beginnings in the womb to its natural end in the tomb, please take some time to consider how we as individuals and citizens can respect each other’s dignity and the dignity of all persons on a daily basis. Help us build a culture which loves life!

Email Colleen Wilson at cmwilson01@email.wm.edu