Wednesday’s Washington Post featured a condescending article by Dana Milbank bemoaning the events surrounding the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. In the eyes of Milbank, abortion opponents are shameless hucksters who opportunistically exploit the anniversary of Roe v. Wade for either financial or political gain — instead of thoughtfully pursuing strategies for lowering the abortion rate. Milbank proceeds to provide a thorough listing of pro-life events surrounding the March for Life including the Students for Life of America (SFLA) conference, the Family Research Council’s ProLifeCon, and the Rose Dinner.
As for me, I want to applaud Beltway pro-lifers for organizing a compelling series of events to inform, inspire, and engage pro-life activists from around the country. For years, veteran pro-lifers have been disappointed that we do not get more leverage out of the annual March for Life. Indeed, several factors have limited the March’s impact. The cold weather keeps some people at home and Congress is frequently out of session in late January. Additionally, the mainstream media usually either ignores or buries the March. Furthermore, the coverage the March does receive tends to be very misleading. Headlines frequently imply that both sides are demonstrating. In reality, the March for Life consists of thousands of pro-lifers and maybe a small handful of counter-protesters.
Milbank also fails to realize that this proliferation of events is evidence of the increasing popularity and sophistication of the pro-life movement. For instance, pro-lifers have not always invested much in youth outreach. However, this weekend’s Students for Life of America conference will probably attract over 1,000 college students. Family Research Council’s ProLifeCon will be broadcast online and will engage scores of pro-life bloggers – many of whom have been successful in their efforts to circumvent the media and disseminate pro-life news and commentary to a wide audience. As pro-lifers gather in Washington this weekend, we should take heart. The scrutiny and criticism we are receiving from the mainstream media is probably the best evidence of recent pro-life progress.
— Michael J. New is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan–Dearborn, a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, and an adjunct scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C. He will be the guy carrying the pro-life sign during Monday’s March for Life.