By Kurt Jensen | Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — As a weekend of pro-life events highlighted by the Jan. 29 National March for Life wound down, a range of voices indicated that virtually no arguments were silenced by Joe Biden’s election as president.
Aimee Murphy, the founder of Rehumanize International, a nonsectarian humanitarian organization, said the Trump administration narrowed the appeal of the pro-life movement.
She said the movement had been “dragged sycophantically behind the right-wing. It makes sense that people are leaving the active pro-life movement in droves,” blaming the “abuses and violent dehumanizing rhetoric” from the administration. Last year, President Donald Trump became the first president to address the March for Life rally on the National Mall.
This year, on the eve of the Jan. 29 March for Life, which was mostly virtual this year, Biden, a Catholic, rescinded the so-called “Mexico City policy” that had blocked U.S. funding for nongovernmental organizations that perform or actively promote abortion as a form of family planning in other nations. Trump had reinstituted after his predecessor, President Barack Obama, rescinded it.
Murphy was the keynote speaker Jan. 30 at the 22nd annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life at Georgetown University. Organized completely by students, the conference is the largest national student-run pro-life conference.
“Every two to four years, we’re asked to throw some humans under the bus for the sake of expediency and power,” she observed. “In the era of Trump, the culture of cruelty has gone a mile further,” with white nationalism and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, during which, she claimed, “right-wing extremists attempted to kidnap and execute politicians.”
“We must boldly stand against such dehumanization and violence. We should be a movement of every human standing for every human,” Murphy added.
That same day, at the conclusion of the virtual #Stand4Life conference sponsored by Students for Life of America, Tyson Langhofer, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom reminded viewers: “The last four years have been a very pro-life administration and many gains have been made, and the Biden administration wants to roll those back.”
He singled out plans to allow Planned Parenthood programs to be covered by Medicaid to allow the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion on demand, to be codified into federal law, and an end for conscience protections for religious organizations who don’t want to include birth control or abortion access in their health plans.
Charmaine Yoest, a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, praised “the really committed pro-life people who worked across the federal government” in the Trump administration.
She also focused on Vice President Kamala Harris, who will be the tiebreaking vote in the Senate. It “means we can no longer count on the pro-life backstop we used to have in the upper chamber,” she said.
But she found hope in elections to the House of Representatives, since “16 pro-life women flipped a seat held by pro-abortion incumbent.” And 20 state legislatures have now passed 20-week “pain-capable” abortion bans.
In his homily at the Mass he celebrated to close the Georgetown conference, Auxiliary Bishop Roy E. Campbell Jr. of Washington argued that a decision to have an abortion violates the promises found in the Declaration of Independence.
“Anxiety, suffering and temptation can lead to a woman who finds herself pregnant to believe that this is a personal or private matter, or ‘this is not the time that I want to be pregnant.’ Or ‘I have a right to do as I see fit with my body,’ because … (the) Roe v. Wade decision states that women in the United States have a fundamental right to choose whether or not to have abortions without excessive government restriction,” he said.
What is missing in Roe v. Wade and “in many individual rationalizations for abortion” he added, “is the first sentence from the preamble of the Declaration of Independence: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'”
“Creation starts at conception. Those unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness begin at conception. This is what God, our creator, intends for all of us,” Bishop Campbell concluded.
“When the blessed Virgin Mary said yes to life and conceived Jesus, God made man the author of life in her womb,” he said. “Jesus came to bring new life, to bring new hope, to that possessed man. He comes to bring new life and new hope to every human heart today.”