Some things are so wrong, so horrible even to look at, that you will quickly look away for your own emotional protection. Or, you will draw nearer, despite the discomfort, take a good hard look, and consider what you might do to stop it.
Welcome to the pro-life movement.
We believe abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being and, as such, is the preeminent injustice of our times. We want to peacefully, winsomely, persuasively and courageously speak up for the unborn until their full humanity is acknowledged and respected.
Along the way, we are committed to helping actual mothers, who are at risk to abortion due to their difficult circumstances, find the practical, life-affirming help they need to parent successfully or place their child for adoption. Our passion is to make abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations.
It's not that we only care about unborn babies. We care about all human suffering. Utilitarian ethics, the notion that some lives can be destroyed to improve the lives of others, inevitably leads to a general diminution of all human life. Justifications for abortion chip away the bedrock of our national ideal, expressed in the Declaration of Independence, that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The right to life is unalienable precisely because it is out of reach of government. It can be unjustly usurped and trampled upon, as in the case of Roe v. Wade. But not rightly so.
This is why we march. It's our annual petition that we rightly secure equal rights for all people, born and unborn.
Do not think we always saw things so clearly. We were told that abortion means choice. Choice is another word for freedom. Hey, who can be against freedom? For those of us who came of age in the late 1960s, we put on our Beatles records, got into our yellow submarines and came out pretty much convinced that we invented sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. We were certain we could construct a new morality just as easily as we could invent new words. The key to our lifestyle, the essential freedom that made it all workable, was legalized abortion in 1973.
Every lure, however, has a hook. Soon we found ourselves dragged off and devoured by our choices. Then ultrasounds came along. It only made the science of human development more visible and accessible.
Now we've had time to think. By painful experience, when not by clear moral reasoning, we came to understand what abortion truly is and felt its destructive power rippling through our manhood, womanhood, marriage and the culture at large.
If you have your own regrets concerning abortion, you are not alone. Nor are you a hypocrite for re-examining your values and considering the case for life. You are a convert, learning from your mistakes like the rest of us.
The struggle over abortion is now in its second generation. Forty-five years ago, the pro-life movement consisted of a few Catholic voices crying out in the wilderness. Today, tens of thousands will march, young and old, men and women (the case for life is not gender-based). For the most part, they are Catholics and Evangelicals. But it will include a growing number who do not share our Christian faith.
We welcome this. Victory, after all, means that people of every faith or no faith, come to understand the injustice of abortion in the same way we have come to see the injustice of slavery.
Until then, we say with William Wilberforce, who worked for more than 40 years to end the slave trade, "Never, never will we desist till we ... extinguish every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times, will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonor to this country."
John Ensor is president of PassionLife, a non-profit organization. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.