By Jacob Comello, Civitas Intern
Last week I was fortunate enough to participate in one of the nation’s largest annual demonstrations: the 44th Annual March for Life (MFL) in Washington, DC. While the intro sentence alone probably gave away my stance on the issue of abortion, it never ceases to amaze me that in this country of warring media outlets, stark political divides, and clashes of culture, abortion protestors peacefully and respectfully stream in and out of our nation’s capital every year by the busloads to march regardless of ideology. I believe MFL to be exceptional because of its longevity and the consistency of its message. I want to share with you three of my takeaways from the March regarding its impact and prospects for the future.
Takeaway One: The pro-life movement has an extremely diverse following.
The Left obsesses over diversity – they hold it paramount to almost every other social good. If that is the case, Leftists should love the MFL (at least from a demographic standpoint). Many believe MFL to be solely a phenomenon of the so-called “religious right”: Trump-loving Catholics, Protestants, and Evangelicals angry at the fact that religion is losing its once esteemed place in public dialogue. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many who marched with their church groups carried signs fiercely criticizing President Trump for not being vocal enough on the issue. I realized that while we attendees were speaking with one voice against abortion, we certainly weren’t a monolith. I saw religious banners. I also saw those that read “Secular Pro-Life” and “LGBT Pro-Life”. The best thing about this distinctive brand of diversity is that dissent – and by that I mean real, ideological dissent – was tolerated. The Left claims to welcome all races, genders, and religions into their fold. The truth is, once one starts questioning a few of the secular motives and beliefs on the Left’s agenda, that person is ridiculed and labeled a “traitor” to his or her race, gender, or religion. Consider, for instance, the ostracizing of pro-life women who wanted to participate in the Women’s March on Washington in 2017. MFL was a perfect example of a demonstration where dissent – not just diversity – is prized.
Takeaway Two: Scientific discoveries increasingly defend the unborn.
The Atlantic recently published an article about how modern-day scientific innovations have redefined people’s commitments to the pro-life cause. For example, ultrasounds were not available to women during the generation when Roe v. Wade was passed down, but since their introduction they have brought before the eyes of countless women the startling humanity of a fetus in the womb. Studies showing that fetuses can feel pain and data that confirm earlier viability bolster pro-life arguments on an empirical level. All these contributions assemble a powerful wall of facts that pro-choice advocates must confront in the ongoing debate. It should be noted, however, that the pro-life movement’s strongest recourse lies in moral arguments. Think about it: If tomorrow a study was released that revealed 99% of human fetuses actually couldn’t feel pain, how should pro-lifers respond? Their retort should ring the same as always: human life begins at conception and a human who can’t feel pain is still human.
Takeaway Three: If you need proof of media bias, look no further than the March for Life.
According to the Media Research Center, 2014 saw the three major TV networks – ABC, CBS, and NBC spend five times longer raving over the birth of panda cub “Bao Bao” in DC’s National Zoo than covering the tens of thousands marching for life in the same city. If that seems like a comparison of apples to oranges, let’s compare protestors to counterprotestors: the 2015 march drew an estimated 200,000 to the streets of Washington and was spared 15 seconds of combined coverage by CBS alone. However, USA Today happily gave a spotlight to some 50-100 pro-choicers who, loudly and clad in graphic clothing, forbade the march from proceeding to the Supreme Court.
Since Trump’s White House tenure began, MFL’s ideological counterpart – the Women’s March on Washington – has become a media darling. ABC, CBS, and NBC lavished air time on the 2017 demonstration, their anchors rife with hope that the marchers could turn their passion into policy. Expecting any media outlet to cleanse itself of political bias may be a fantasy. Still, the major media networks have an obligation to the citizens of this country to cover events fairly.