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What Support for or Against Abortion Really Means

Abortion has been one of the most contentious issues in our modern American society and throughout the world. It has divided us on religious, political, and social fronts. Let us revisit abortion as it has been applied to American society over the last fifty years to discover how both sides have reacted to the debate.

With the acceptance of Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion became legal in the United States and the March for Life was soon created. Wade, the district attorney in the case, argued that abortion was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. However, his prosecution was not enough as Jane Roe’s defense stated she was depressed and could not find a job. The March was first organized by Neli Grey on January 23, 1974; she was accompanied by about 20,000 people. They marched on the west side of the Capitol against Roe v. Wade. The March has continued every year since, with the 2021 version taking on a new virtual form over health concerns. Jane Roe, a desperate mother, led the charge of changing abortion laws in the US; this was followed by the March for Life.

Although the March for Life is still regarded as a religious matter, it has become a political recruiting mechanism.

The March for Life Education and Defense Fund, as it is formally known, has been the main movement to overturn Roe v. Wade. It has been supported by political and religious leaders throughout its history. From its beginning, the March for Life has found great support from Catholicism and the Republican party. Minor officials from these groups have attended, but the influence of the March for Life shifted to a political sphere when in 1987 Ronald Regan encouraged the protestors through a loudspeaker. Similarly, George W. Bush spoke virtually in 2003. Since then, many Republican House leaders, senators, and representatives have attended the March in person. In 2017 and 2019, Vice President Mike Pence spoke to the crowd in person in addition to President Trump who spoke virtually in 2018 and 2019. These speakers all have a similar intent: to move voters to the Republican party. They do this by specifically saying they support the March and giving vague descriptions of what they have accomplished/plan to do. Although the March for Life is still regarded as a religious matter, it has become a political recruiting mechanism.

The March for Life’s reach has spread beyond the Capitol, and many protestors have extended their influence in support of the Republican party. Democratic Governor Ralph Northam declared he would support a bill that would allow for the abortion of babies soon after birth. On April 10, 2019, 7,000 Virginians marched on the Richmond capitol to protest his declaration. These marchers supported the agenda of the Republicans through a check of Northam’s power, and the crowd was exhorted by a few Republican officials. The march was a success as the bill did not move forward. The Republican party has assisted March for Life protests across the US, but the relationship is symbiotic as the marchers fulfill the Republican agenda.

Abortion is a long-standing issue in the United States that seems to be an endless game of tug-of-war between parties and cultures. The question for the individual is: What does supporting the March for Life mean? Does it mean that one supports Catholics or Republicans? There is a certain extent of change that can only be made if pro-life supporters hold the Senate and the Supreme Court; this is currently the Republican party. However, smaller changes can still be made by the people independent of political or religious aid. Education, petitions, and protests for this issue are the main ways. As history shows, the majority of a cause’s supporters can change over time, and perhaps someday this will be a non-Catholic or non-political issue. We will just have to let time tell the story.