The Choice

Why will half a million people be smiling this Wednesday?

Why, as they walk in protest of one of the greatest tragedies this nation has ever known, will there be laughter? Why will there be singing? Why will there be little ones running about, teens walking arm in arm, and adults hugging, chatting, and catching up with long absent friends?

Because it’s a March for Life, which means it’s an event shot through, from first to last, with hope.

If you want to understand the March for Life, if you want to understand the pro-life movement in general, it starts with hope. That’s the key. That’s the real difference between those who oppose abortion and those who support it. The first is an act of hope. The second is an act of despair.

How so?

motherbabyIt’s simple: When a mother chooses life, she chooses to hope. She hopes for her unborn child. She hopes for his or her future. She hopes for her own future. She hopes in the love of her friends. She hopes in the grace of God. And she hopes in herself. She hopes that no matter how young or ill equipped or scared she might be, she can still bring someone beautiful into the world. Maybe she’ll raise that someone. Maybe she’ll entrust that someone to another. Either way, she hopes.

Not so the mother who chooses abortion.

No woman ends her child’s life in an act of hope. Abortion is almost universally an act of despair. It’s the act of a woman who, in her fear, believes her only choice is the death of her child. Maybe she fears the life her child will lead. Maybe she fears the life she’ll lead. Maybe she fears her parents or the child’s father, the loss of her job or the loss of her health. In the end, it’s all the same. Her fear of the future, not her hope for the future, determines the choice she makes. And that choice is to despair.

That difference—the difference between hope and despair—is why those of us marching on Wednesday will be smiling.

We march, in the cold and the wet and the wind, because we are full of hope. We hope for the child. We hope for the parents. And we hope for this country. We hope that we haven’t walked so far down the path of death and despair, selfishness and fear that we can’t turn back. We hope that we can change. We hope that despite four decades of legalized abortion, all is not lost, that we can still become the kind of country that doesn’t enshrine despair in law.

All that hope produces joy. It spills over in smiles and laughter. It turns what could be a death march into a celebration of life.

If you’re watching from home, you won’t likely know that. If the media covers it at all, they usually show the 12 angry counter-protestors, hurling obscenities at the marchers near the Supreme Court (no hope there!), plus the exceptions that prove the rule—the bull-horn-wielding, bloody-picture-waving souls who may have the best of intentions, but whose spirit and methods usually leave something to be desired.

Again, however, they’re the exception. Hundreds of thousands will walk on Wednesday with a smile on their face. Maybe 100 will frown.

In their limited coverage of the event, the media will also likely give equal time to someone who claims that all those folks marching don’t really care about women and children, that our support for life ends once the baby leaves the womb.

But that’s nonsense. Hope that produces joy isn’t a one day a year thing. It inevitably spills over into action.

Which is why, when the protestors leave Washington, most of us will continue to live in hope. We’ll staff crisis pregnancy centers. We’ll throw baby showers for unwed mothers. We’ll make meals for new moms, buy groceries for families who can’t make ends meet, and pay off their hospital bills when there’s no insurance to do it for them. We’ll adopt orphans of all ages, races, and sexes. We’ll pay the school tuition of children who are not our own. We’ll sit with the sick in the hospitals, and we’ll visit the elderly in the nursing homes.

And again, we’ll do it all because we hope. We hope that the smallest acts, done with great kindness, can change the world. We hope that love, freely given, can counter fear. We hope that joy, freely expressed, can dispel despair. We hope that our hope can give others hope.

So, although I mourn every life lost through abortion, I’ll be smiling at the March. I’ll pray while I walk, but I’ll also laugh. I’ll wink at babies, maybe skip with a godchild or two (depending on who we see), and definitely throw back a pint or two of cider afterwards.

On Wednesday, I will be choosing to celebrate life all. I will be choosing to hope. And while I do, I’ll be praying that someone, somewhere, sees our celebration and decides to do the same.

Please, join me.




  • Joe Smith

    That’s a nice spin.

    But it ignores the fact that your religious side didn’t give us choice, the pro/choice side gave us choice. If it had been up to you, there would be no choice at all. Worse, anyone who didn’t make the choice your religion thinks they should have made, would be in prison for the rest of their lives – along with other ‘murderers.’

    So this Wednesday, I’ll think about some of the young girls I knew who were not forced by their government into conpleting a pregnancy they weren’t ready for, or didn’t want … and I’ll smile that we all live in a free country instead of one run by your religion.

  • Back in the real world

    Hi, new dad here. I agree that to bring a wanted child into this world is a beautiful thing. I love babies, and I love my son more than anything else in this world. I don’t mind changing his diapers, being woken up in the middle of the night, feeding him when he’s throwing food in my face, playing with him even though I’ve brought work home for a rapidly approaching deadline, washing his cloth poopy diapers by hand. I would gladly give up any vital organ if he needed it. I love him through thick and thin. However, I know that in the real world, not all children are wanted. One of my good friends from high school was raped. To force her to carry that child conceived through sexual violence would be yet another act of violence. In her case, aborting that fetus was an act of hope and healing. If my next one is a girl, while I hope she is never put into a situation where she is faced with a situation like that, I sincerely hope she has that option to make her own decision about her own body.

    • Mike

      My daughter was raped, and her rapist kicked her until the child she was carrying died. She would give anything to have that baby back, the one good thing that came out of a terrible situation. So sorry for your friend. So sorry for my daughter. Abortion encourages rape, because it teaches the rapist that he can remove the evidence. I’m glad you love your son, I hope you have many many children, and that you are able to protect them from evil.

      • Back in the real world

        Hi Mike. Sorry to hear about your daughter. I fully respect her wishes, but I do think we are talking about a slightly different situation. First, you say that she was kicked by her rapist until her baby died. I’m going to have to assume that this second episode of violence happened after some time, perhaps a few weeks or months after the rape. This also leads me to assume that since she didn’t report this to the police or go to a rape crisis center, that her rapist was someone she knew, perhaps a partner or an ex-partner? If so, then I can understand how she might have wanted to keep the baby, even though the sex was non-consensual. My friend was however raped by a stranger. Thankfully, she was able to report it immediately to the police, and was given emergency contraception. My friend did not want to carry that baby (had she conceived), and it is important to respect her wishes about what she wanted for her own body. I believe if a woman feels that having been impregnated by her unknown rapist is somehow a “one good thing”, I make no judgements on her choices.

        I also think it is strange that you think that keeping a woman’s right to choose somehow encourages rape because the “rapist can remove evidence”. For one thing, abortion does not “remove evidence”. My friend was able to go to the police, file a report, and have evidence collected. Again, the right to have an abortion did not in any way “remove evidence” of the rape. Also, whether abortions are legal or not, rapes will happen. Rape has been around since forever. I doubt that the availability of abortion crosses the rapist’s mind when he is committing this act. If a woman’s right to choose emergency contraception or abortion is stripped, a woman who DOES NOT WANT to keep a reminder of an act of violence will be forced to live with her scars forever. Some women are not strong enough to do this. Another girl in my college jumped in front of a train rather than be forced to live with the memories.

        Yes, abortion is not pretty, but sometimes it is the best choice in a horrible situation, and a woman’s right to choose should be respected.

        • Back in the real world

          Hi Mike:

          One quick clarification. I assumed the “kicking” after the rape happened some time later because I think we can both agree that had she been assaulted shortly after the actual rape, it is highly unlikely fertilization would have actually taken place. It sometimes can take a few hours after intercourse until an egg actually gets fertizlied, and usually takes more than one. Further, since you said “the baby died”, I’m assuming a pregnancy was actually confirmed by OBGyn.

          • Jack Mason

            I get the impression that Mike’s daughter was already pregnant before she was raped. If so, the rapist was also a murderer.

    • Hopeful

      I’m sorry that happened to your friend, but abortion does leave scars. What about the baby’s choice for life? Even though the rape was a terrible act & it led to conception, that does not make it the baby’s fault! Carrying that child would not be an act of violence. I must say, it would be one of the hardest things to live through, but I think as time went on, having the baby would have been a healing experience also. There is always adoption! So many people cannot have children & they would be blessed by this life. A life begins at conception! She may hurt some day about aborting this child. We as a nation need to stop thinking of ourselves! God did give us free will, but he commanded us not to kill. I pray for all women concerned about an unwanted child, considering abortion and for all those who have experienced rape. Please fill them with love, patience and a forgiving heart! Thank you Jesus.

      • Back in the real world

        Hi Hopeful:

        As I previously said,

        “I believe if a woman feels that having been impregnated by her unknown rapist is somehow a “one good thing”, I make no judgements on her choices.”

        So if you, Hopeful, are a woman, and feel that the rapist has left you a “gift” as a consolation prize for violating and degrading you, please feel free to carry the baby to term. And then either choose to give it up for adoption or raise it with your spouse or partner. BTW, just out of curiosity, if you are a (A) single woman, (B) raped, (C) impregnated by your rapist, and (D) don’t want to give it up for adoption, you would automatically be bringing a child into this world with its rights to a MOTHER and a FATHER compromised from the get go, which apparently is a reason why the Catholic Church is against same-sex marriage. How does church teaching work in this case? Would it recommend you bail the rapist out of jail and marry him in order that the baby begotten from rape has both a mother and father?

        Getting back to the point, so yes, if you, Hopeful, feel that this child is a blessing, please by all means, carry it to term. My friend who was raped, however did not, and still does not consider such a child a blessing, even after all these years. I am not a woman, but if I imagine I was a woman, and I was raped and impregnated by someone I feel is a vile and disgusting human being, say Hitler, Sadaam Hussein or Ossama bin Laden, I am pretty sure that I would definitely NOT be wanting to carry that fetus to term. Would you also think that a woman in conflict zones around the world who are raped and impregnated by enemy soldiers who have also perhaps murdered her entire family, should look forward to the “one good thing” that came out of that act? If you do, I am afraid I will never be able to understand your side. If you somehow make an exception for this example, I would love to know how you would differentiate being raped by a domestic miscreant and one committed by this hypothetical soldier abroad.

        So while you may feel that a rape baby is a blessing, you need to understand that many women do not. Forcing them to carry a reminder of an act of violence is, in fact an act of violence in itself.

  • Jenny Gaff

    Thanks to all the marchers . God bless you.

  • MrSammo

    That was beautiful.

  • http://Comcast Mary Ann Keindl

    Beautiful article! It lifted
    up the hope in me!


    Well said.



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