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Monday, January 27, 2014

Reflections on the Walk for Life

On Saturday I attended the annual West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco, California. I think there's always a danger in occasions like this because a pro-life person can attend the Walk, make their presence known, then go back home and feel like they've done their pro-life duty for the year. But this is only the beginning. It's great that you attended the Walk, but don't let it be the last thing you do this year for the pro-life cause.

Photo: Copyright Secular Pro-Life, 2014
The Walk began with a rally. I generally don't stay to watch the speakers because they don't really appeal to my sensibilities. I think it's wonderful that there are people who are bringing to light how abortion hurts women, so we can see the emotional side of the issue. I think this is important. But they rarely get anyone making the intellectual case for abortion, which is where we really need to be focusing to end the abortion issue. Abortion is not necessarily wrong because it hurts women (all sorts of things can hurt people that we make legal), it's wrong because abortion unjustly kills an innocent human being. I'd be more likely to stick around for the speakers if they had someone like Scott Klusendorf, Frank Beckwith, or Christopher Kaczor giving a presentation.

But this year my friend and colleague in Secular Pro-Life, Monica Snyder, was asked to speak at the event and did a fantastic job. You can see her speech here. I still think there's some work to be done in the movement, because while Monica was speaking about not needing to make this a religious movement, I still heard someone mutter that they want this to be a religious movement. While I can understand the desire not to want to remove God from their personal pro-life convictions, as the Scriptures say we need to be as "wise as serpents but as innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16), and that we should become all things to all men (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Now granted, those verses are speaking of salvation but I don't see any reason not to apply them to our work in convincing others that a human rights violation needs to end. Becoming all things to all people means meeting them where they're at, and if they are hostile to the Gospel, we can use science and philosophy to remove their roadblocks to belief in God or to convince them that abortion is wrong and should be illegal.

Monica's speech was one highlight of the event; the other was getting to see my friends in Secular Pro-Life that I rarely get to see. As usual, there was very little media coverage of the event, and the pro-choice protesters this year seemed to be fewer in number than last year. I actually wanted to take the time to engage some protesters but I didn't even see any at the start of the event like I did last year. The protesters (few in number, and that's not even in relation to the 50,000 or so pro-life people there that were participating) seemed to be centralized in one area.

I like what Secular Pro-Life's sign has to say, pictured above. I usually prefer not to hold signs because you really can't make a decent argument in just a few words (or one sentence). But I think this sign really cuts to the heart of why abortion is wrong. Another pro-life sign that I really liked said, "All people are equal, all choices are not," which was a sign endorsed by Feminists for Life. There was another one there that I liked, as well, but I can't remember what it said (I should have written it down).

There were some pro-choice signs that I recognized from last year, such as a sign claiming that life begins when you stand up to "Christian fascism" (a perfect example of why we need to show that this isn't a religious movement), and that the pro-life position is about patriarchy and wanting women to return to the days of "back alley abortions." As much as I dislike the simple argumentation inherent in the nature of signs, looking at the difference between pro-life signs and pro-choice signs really gives you a good idea of the nature of the argumentation of both sides: pro-choice arguments rely on emotionalism and demonizing the other side, whereas the pro-life arguments rely on science, philosophy, and equality for all human beings.

There was also a conference hosted by Students for Life that my friend Josh Brahm spoke at the next day, but unfortunately I couldn't stay for the conference.

All in all, it was a great event. There was even a Twitter campaign that went along with it to try and drum up media interest. I think that this is an event that is beneficial for pro-life people to attend; it shows the citizens of the United States that the pro-life movement is not just a small movement of upstarts but that it is a formidable force to be reckoned with. The more we can show the wrongness of abortion and do so peacefully, the more people will have to take notice. So let this be the jumping-off point. The Walk for Life is over, but the fight to end abortion is far from it. There are many ways you can get involved: find out if a pro-life speaker will be coming to a location near you and invite some friends, attend a Justice for All seminar, start a small group at your church or school, invite a speaker to give a presentation (from organizations like Life Training Institute or Right to Life of Central California), volunteer your time at a local Pregnancy Care Center, or even donate financially to pro-life organizations. The way that the pro-life cause will succeed is by everyone who is pro-life doing their part in helping to end this, and if we all participate then it's entirely possible to see Roe v. Wade overturned in our lifetimes.


  1. Good observations. Thanks for posting this, Clinton.

  2. Clinton - I just came across your blog. Life is precious. I think young pregnant women don't always understand the amazing being they have the privilege of carrying.

    1. Thanks, Jane. I think you're right.

    2. That is simply not always true, many murders rapists and dictators have been born, which many would wish they had not been born. Life is hard and miserable and sometimes not worth living if you take into account the miserable torturous lives many people on the planet have to endure. We speak as if everyone born is going to have the same kind of middle class life in the united states with the security and comfort that we have, that is not the case for millions

  3. Biology. and life on this planet, clearly teaches us that life is not precious, at least not here. There is life and there is death, and there is a strange in between. Don't romanticize what is simply biology at work. There is no Right to Life. You either exist or you don't. That's it.

    1. Biology teaches us nothing of the sort. Saying that life is precious says nothing about the death that occurs in nature, it speaks to how rational agents -- human beings -- value life, and human beings tend to value life rather than devalue it (which is why people of sound mind prefer to live than to die, why parents bond with their kids, etc.). If there is no right to life, then nothing generates a presumption against killing you, and it would not be seriously wrong to do so. The only thing preventing someone from dong it is a desire not to want to go to jail or be executed, but this is clearly false.