I’m Sick of the March for Life

m4l march banner

Written by Rebecca Richmond

As long as you remember to wear sunscreen, the March for Life can be a lot of fun. At the National March we had gorgeous weather, great speakers, and a large turnout, and it all produced a contagious energy that gives you hope for the movement. Take a look at the smiling faces of the attendees and you can immediately tell that we are a people who love life, and we’re not afraid to share that with the nation and, in particular on that particular day, with our elected representatives.

But I’m sick of marching. I want to go to Ottawa every year to enjoy the tulips and have a reunion with my friends and colleagues. I enjoy the day, but the reality of why we march is sickening. The March is a protest, a public witness to politicians and to the country that there is a (taxpayer funded) human rights violation killing 100,000 Canadians every year.

I’m sick of the March because I’m sick of the injustice.

The March for Life and the dinners, EWTN TV specials and youth conferences that accompany it are only truly good in so far as they propel us back into our communities, our networks, our campuses. These one-day annual events are only truly impactful in so far as they serve as a springboard for local pro-life action that is regular, visible and engaging.

The point of a springboard is to help us reach new heights, but it only works if we choose to jump.

Tens of thousands marched at events across Canada last week, and that is good. And every year, people are impacted and inspired by the March to continue making a difference. That inspiration is a natural effect of the March. But we need to resolve to turn that inspiration into effective and regular action.

Because it’s not enough for tens of thousands to march. It’s not enough to have the largest gathering on Parliament Hill. It’s not enough until each one of the marchers become actively involved AND actively involve others.

What do I mean by actively involved? I don’t mean merely attending events. Attending pro-life events as a passive participant is insufficient; we need to be involved in the active mission of the movement.

1094735_10204669195348244_9006174920356542384_oAre we doing something – whether it’s from an educational, pastoral, cultural or political angle – that is changing hearts and minds and shifting the public consensus?

This action could be through organizations, through campaigns, through meetings and letters to your MP, through how you’re raising your family, through how you’re speaking up in conversations with coworkers and friends – the list goes on.

This is what is going to make our movement start to move. This is what builds a cultural juggernaut that obliterates the political talking points that (repeatedly) proclaim that the abortion debate is closed and/or that this is a woman’s right.

Our social movement is addressing an injustice that does more than discriminate or oppress Canadians – abortion kills.

angelaSo do our own lives and actions reinforce or undermine the pro-life message?

Do our commitments of time, energy and resources communicate to our communities that we are serious about the pro-life cause, that this is an injustice that needs to be addressed with urgency? Do we speak and act as though this issue – that of 300 pre-born children killed daily – is like any other charity…or do we treat it like the emergency it is?

If we aren’t living this way, if our pro-life commitment is largely based on one event a year, then no wonder our politicians don’t take us seriously. If we aren’t living this way, then our fellow Canadians won’t take us seriously either.

Social transformation requires us to have more than pro-life convictions, but also a pro-life lifestyle. And when tens of thousands of Canadians take up that lifestyle of active commitment, then we will hold captive the attention of politicians and, shortly thereafter, the March can become the celebration of a victory rather than the protest of an ongoing injustice.

For the sake of the lives we march for, we should all be sick of marching – but that shouldn’t discourage us. Instead, it should serve as a springboard into a lifestyle of committed action. Then, soon enough, we’ll be in Ottawa to admire the tulips rather than to protest an injustice.
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