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Why I March for Life

  • Barbara Curtis Contributor
  • 2012 17 Jan
Why I March for Life

When it comes to walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, I’m qualified indeed. In fact, I’ve walked thousands of miles in all different kinds – from Birkenstocks to strappy high heels, from lumberjack boots to sequin-covered flats. I’ve done a lot of walking barefoot too!

But over the years, my slogan’s changed from “Life’s too short for ugly shoes” to “Life’s too long for painful shoes.” I’ve grown up. I’ve changed.

Which is why you will find me lacing up my snow boots next Monday – January 23rd – and heading into Washington DC for the March for Life.

Now you need to know that DC and demonstrations are a major part of my history.  As a leftist, my credentials were impeccable – unfolding from antiwar activism to Second Wave feminism. I fought for abortion rights and after I’d moved to San Francisco even had one of my own, and without great pangs of conscience. After all, if you don’t believe in God, you can’t begin to comprehend the sacredness of your own life, let alone a baby you can’t see – which you couldn’t in those pre-sonogram days.

But after 30 years in the Bay Area, I returned home a different woman, a woman walking in shoes I had never been even remotely interested in trying on. Had you told me way back when that those shoes would be pro-life, things might have even gotten physical. My politics then were powerful and proud – based on MY needs, MY logic, MY rights.

But life’s about growth and change. Life’s about making mistakes, admitting them, and moving on. It’s about learning that it’s not about you.

Which is why once a year I now return to my old stomping ground.

The March for Life is probably the most under-reported demonstration in Washington. It’s hard to find out who spoke and about what. It’s hard to find out how big the crowd is (200,000 – 300,000 each of the past two years) and who was there. And so I take my camera – because every picture tells a story and all those stories add up to the truth.

The truth is that there are hundreds of thousands of people there who have come to believe – or who’ve always believed – that an unborn baby is not a piece of property, but a person. What would surprise those who’ve bought the stereotype of pro-lifers as middle-aged, white, and mean is that 75% of the crowd is under 21. It’s a true rainbow coalition. And it’s full of vitality and joy.

In fact, the younger generation is becoming increasingly pro-life. Why? Because they see it differently than the grown-ups do. I’ll never forget the day my son Matt came home from school and said, “Mom, I looked around my class today and realized that a quarter of us were missing.” Or the time Sophia responded to an article about parents “balancing” their families through gender engineering with: “How’s that supposed to make us feel?”

Good question. Kids alive today certainly know they’re here because their parents chose not to abort them. And while some Boomers may think that might give them a warm, cozy feeling, some kids don’t feel that way at all.

Which is why even as the founding fathers and mothers of the pro-life movement continue their legal and activist organizations, much of the real vitality and enthusiasm is coming from kids young enough to be their grandchildren: Students for Life, Rock for Life, and LiveAction, which under the direction of 25-year-old Lila Rose has been responsible for radical exposes of Planned Parenthood caught in aiding and abetting statutory rape and human trafficking.

These young men and women have spent their lives in a culture that places little value on children, hearing remarks like, “Five kids? Just one is driving me crazy” or “Two’s all I can handle.” It’s a world far removed from the biblical perspective of children as blessings, as treasure. There’s a yearning in them for a greater understanding of the sacredness of life – all life, including their own.

Think about it. Take off your own shoes and put yourself in theirs. Or better yet, if you can, come join them at a March for Life near you.

Barbara Curtis is an author and mother of 12 who blogs at Barbara’s photos and commentary on March for Life 2012 will be posted on the evening of January 23rd here.