Opinion: Individuals fighting abortion are a diverse bunch
We’re told that opposition to abortion is the byproduct of an older, less progressive era and that abortion actually frees women. It’s easy to think the crusades against abortion are only for old white Republicans. But you can only hold that opinion if you refuse to take a real look at the movement.
During my time with Hillsdale College for Life, our school’s pro-life club, I have seen that those who fight abortion come from many religious, political and cultural backgrounds.
And at the March for Life, now in its 47th year, I was struck in particular by the broad range of people surrounding me as we walked from the National Mall to the Supreme Court. Among the many faces were Latinos, Mexicans and African-Americans.
A trio of women, one of whom was sporting the Brazilian flag, hurried by me as we approached the Capitol building. Shortly after, several Spanish-speaking priests edged through the crowd on Constitution Avenue. Meanwhile, within our own group of Hillsdale College students, the Roman Catholics prayed the Rosary, while the Protestants sang through hymns such as “Amazing Grace” and “Be Thou My Vision.”
Even more surprising is that not all attendees are religious. A group called “Secular Pro-Life” was at the March as well. They waved a tall banner with a clever play on a popular Sunday school song: “for the embryology textbook tells me so.” The pro-life movement, it seems, is not limited to the praying sort.
Nor, indeed, is it limited to one particular political party. Democrats are not homogenous on this issue. Democratic Louisiana state Sen. Katrina Jackson — whose recent bill regulating abortion doctors is set to be reviewed at the U.S. Supreme Court this spring — addressed a crowd of thousands at the pre-March rally.
“It’s so important to let people know everywhere that the fight for life doesn’t have a partisan stance to it, but that we love babies,” she said at the rally.
At a Fox News town hall only two days after the March, presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg encountered opposition to his abortion rights stance from Kristen Day, the executive director of Democrats for Life of America. Day pressed Buttigieg about changing the party platform to include more diversity of viewpoints on abortion.
“In 1996 and several years after that,” Day said, “there was language in the Democratic platform that said, ‘We understand that people have very differing views on this issue, but we are a big tent party that includes everybody, and therefore we welcome you — people like me — into the party so we can work on issues that we agree on.”
The former South Bend mayor responded by supporting the party’s current position and the Roe v. Wade decision. His take might be the norm in his party for now — but it may not be the norm forever.
The pro-life movement is about all different people — Catholics and Protestants, Republicans and Democrats, Latinos and African Americans, whites and Asians, secular humanists and devout believers — speaking out against the culture of death that accepts abortion.
It is a fight that has joined the most unlikely allies, especially at the March for Life. If we truly believe, as the Declaration of Independence says, that every person has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then this has to start at the very beginning, with the lives of unborn children.
If you sympathize with the movement, but hesitate to join because you fear there might not be a place for you, I’d encourage you to take a closer look. My experience at the March for Life taught me that there’s room for everyone in the pro-life movement. I’m not so sure the pro-choice movement can say the same.
Nolan Ryan is a student in his senior year at Hillsdale College.