Feb 1, 2016
I was one of the crazy folks at the March for Life this year who stayed. Yep: we knew there was a blizzard coming; we knew we would be trapped for longer than we had planned, and yet we came anyway. We came because we wanted to show that our commitment to life was stronger than a bit of inconvenience. For all of the drastic predictions in Washington, D.C., from meteorologists to organizers to even bishops of the Catholic Church, other than a little inconvenience, it just wasn't that big a deal. I haven't heard of any consequences more than groups spending more on food and lodging than they thought and busses being trapped on the turnpike-an event that has produces some great pictures of what seems to have been an extraordinary mid-blizzard outdoor snow-altar Mass.
I was at the rally before the March. I listened to politicians talk about how they will end funding for Planned Parenthood. I didn't hear anyone mention that they had been voting for it for years. A presidential candidate gave a strong speech. People cheered. A protestant minister thanked the Catholics for leading the charge in the pro-life movement and assured us that they are with us. People cheered. And then we marched as the blizzard began.
And we will be back next year and the year after. We will make headway some years and fall back others. We will try to convert people to the pro-life cause and will find that often our efforts are of questionable value, and I think it is because of a huge, glaring, striking, and ultimately fatal omission in the mainstream pro-life movement: in all of our promotional materials and sloganeering about abortion and euthanasia and death penalty and stem cell research and all the other things we mention, no one wants to touch the most widespread anti-life American practice with a 10-foot (or any length) pole. No one wants to talk about artificial contraception.
Artificial contraception, whether in chemical or physical barrier form, is explicitly and brazenly anti-life. The entire purpose of contraception is to prevent a life from coming into the world. In 2012, Gallup reported that 82% of Catholics think using contraception is "morally acceptable." I suspect that the number of Catholics who actually use or have used artificial birth control in their lives is well north of that number, though it is notoriously difficult to get reliable data.