Topping the news on 22 January 1973 was the sudden death of former President Lyndon B. Johnson. The week before found the Miami Dolphins completing their undefeated season with a victory in Super Bowl VII over the Washington Redskins. We were driving our new Chevy Caprice Classic while listening to Carly Simon singing “You’re So Vain” and Elton John jammin’ “Crocodile Rock.” O, yes, another piece of historic data, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a case entitled Roe v. Wade, that some abortions performed during the first two trimesters of pregnancy could be legalized as a part of women’s constitutional right to privacy.
That final stunning bit of history continues to be marked 42 years later as one of the most significant events ever etched into our corporate conscience as human beings.
After 42 years Americans are still struggling with the idea of killing children in their mother’s wombs as a “right” protected by the United States Constitution! No matter how many times we read and re-read the Supreme Court decision for Roe v. Wade, it is simply not a Constitutional license for murder of the unborn.
On January 22, 1974 thousands of pro-lifers participated in the first March for Life to stand up for the unborn. An inspiring rally was held as Members of Congress announced pro-life legislation and expressed their support for the pro-life cause. The program concluded with a “Circle of Life” march around the Capitol, followed by participants lobbying their Members of Congress.
Soon after that first March in 1974, it became apparent that congressional protection for the unborn was not high on the list of legislative priorities. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, the indefatigable Nellie Gray decided that the March for Life, rather than the originally anticipated one-time event, would instead be held every year until Roe v. Wade was overturned. That year, the March for Life became incorporated as an action-oriented non-profit organization, and the “Life Principles” were developed as the underlying guideline of the organization.
With Nellie’s leadership and until her death in 2013, the March continues to grow and develop each year. Nellie was an ever-faithful voice for the most vulnerable in society, working to protect the preborn until her last hours of life. While each March for Life has faced a unique challenge or obstacle, the numbers of participants have continued to grow.
Regrettably, the March for Life is still a necessary part of raising human consciousness and calling attention to the matter of the sin and social evil of abortion. Regrettably, too few, if any, of the major media outlets across our country will take note of the million plus—mostly millennial—people who will participate in the March next Tuesday.
Over two hundred people will represent the Diocese of La Crosse in Washington, D.C.; locally, hundreds more will participate in Prayer Vigils conducted by our Deacons in parishes across the Diocese. Whether you will be on the bus or at your parish, your prayers are needed to stop the murder of children and the misguided and erroneous thinking in the secular society that continues to condone it.
LIFE will prevail. Respect for human life becomes more and more imperative every day, not only in our vigilance for children in the womb, but for the elderly and those who require specialized medical care. Our prayers are necessary for those who are mistakenly being led to consider assisted suicide as a plan for their healthcare advanced directives. There are so many complications in these areas when technology was supposed to help and simplify our lives.
Our prayers and support are with those traveling to Washington and with all people of good will who pray for and support human life.
See you at Sunday Mass!