Speeches

This coming Friday, tens of thousands of Americans will take to the snowy streets of Washington, D.C. to exercise their fundamental rights… on behalf of millions more who cannot.

They will come from every state in the union to march to the United States Supreme Court – fittingly, down Constitution Avenue – in the name of justice and in defense of the innocent.

The March for Life is a peculiar tradition in American politics – a mass demonstration… of joy.

Despite its size and diversity – sometimes north of a hundred thousand souls, born and unborn – the March is typically ignored by the mainstream media.

The Marchers also know that the Supreme Court, rightly, is not supposed to be swayed by public opinion one way or another.

And yet they march, January after January – cheerfully, prayerfully, bundled up against the cold, with babies in their strollers and smiles on their faces.

I have been, and can confirm: the March for Life is the happiest protest you’ll ever see. For they march not principally in outrage over the lives lost to the scourge of abortion, but in abiding hope for the lives yet to be saved.

The March for Life is often seen as the pro-life movement’s response to the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.

In truth, it is a continuation of the march of human dignity and equality that has defined American history since we first declared:

“that all men are Created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life” – Life – “Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Raised from the crib on the Declaration of Independence, Americans can sometimes take its words for granted. But these truths, however self-evident, remain as revolutionary today as they were in 1776.

From the dawn of time, powerful men have de-humanized women, the poor, the sick and disabled, the
young and the old, those who thought differently, looked differently, loved differently, worshipped differently.

Whether enforced by tribal taboos, corrupted science, or judicial fiat, these experiments in dehumanization are the darkest chapters in human history – including the original sin of our Republic, the monstrous evil of slavery.

The story of American history is the story of our nation overcoming oppression, protecting the vulnerable in our laws and with our lives.

From Independence Hall to the Bill of Rights, from the abolition of slavery to universal suffrage to the Civil Rights movement, to the triumph over Nazism, fascism, and communism… the American people have fought through prejudice and pride to assert and to defend the equal dignity of every member of our human family.
For all the powerful forces still arrayed against it, the right to life remains a part of who we are – a common heritage and, history will prove, a common destiny.

That is why the March grows every year. Not only here in Washington, but in solidarity marches in state capitals around the country.

In Salt Lake City on Friday, Utah will host its annual March for Life at the State Capitol building. They will also be organizing their annual diaper drive for Pregnancy Resource Center, a non-profit organization that provides free health care services to pregnant mothers in need.

They know that to love is to serve. And to be pro-life is to be pro-every life.

Our duty to justice and equality extends beyond the unborn child in the womb. It extends to her mother, and her father. Her siblings and friends. Her neighborhood, her church and her school – to her whole life.

Abortion is evil; but so is indifference. Human dignity impels us to transcend both – not merely by changing laws, but by changing hearts, starting with our own.

It is not enough to restore a legal regime of life. We must endeavor to forge a new culture of life that is broader and deeper than the law.

Those of us who call ourselves pro-life have a particular duty to exercise the very right we fight to win back for the unborn: the right to live, to grow, to strive every day to become more fully the person God made us to be.

A culture of life can only be built one hopeful soul at a time. We have a long way to go, of course; but the work is well underway. To see what it looks like, stop by the March.

The struggle for life is just the latest battle in America’s long, noble crusade for justice, equality, freedom, and dignity. It is a fight worth having, a fight worthy of our heritage, a fight worthy of our children. One day soon, Mr. President: we’re going to win this one too.

Until that day, America will continue to march.

I yield the floor.