Speakers at the 2021 March for Life rally on Friday called on pro-lifers to change the culture and not be discouraged at political setbacks.
“We need to live on a rescue mission of truly loving people well,” said Tim Tebow, retired NFL player and current baseball player.
Tebow was the keynote speaker at the rally for the 48th annual March for Life. The rally was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and security measures, and featured speeches from politicians of both parties, former professional athletes, and religious leaders.
The speakers told pro-lifers not to be discouraged at political setbacks, and encouraged them to change the culture through prayer, unity, and love of neighbor.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus, said that the current political climate is not ideal for the pro-life cause. He reminded viewers that the country has been in similar positions before.
“Just like today, both President Clinton and Obama came into office with Democratic majorities in both houses, and sweeping plans to eviscerate all pro-life laws and policies,” said Smith. “And there were significant setbacks. But you and I refused to quit, or to go away.”
Rep. Smith encouraged people to recommit to prayer, fasting, and good works in light of the “enormous challenges” facing the pro-life movement. He urged for people to respect others, even when there are “fundamental differences” in beliefs.
Citing President Biden’s inaugural address which stated that “justice for all will be deferred no longer,” Rep. Smith was critical of the president’s evolution on the abortion issue.
“Mr. President, the dream of ‘justice for all’ cannot be achieved if a whole segment of society is legally ignored and discriminated against because of where they live—in their mothers’ wombs—and how small and defenseless they are,” said Rep. Smith.
Rep. Smith cited President Biden’s past consistent support for pro-abortion policies, such as the Hyde Amendment and the use of federal funding to pay for abortion.
“Mr. President, reversing the Protection Life in Global Health Assistance, or the Mexico City Policy, forces U.S. taxpayers to fund organizations that promote, lobby for or perform abortion on demand in foreign countries,” he said. “Yet, Americans overwhelmingly oppose using U.S. foreign aid to subsidize abortion.”
Rep. Angie Hatton (D-94), the Minority Whip of the Kentucky House of Representatives, spoke openly about her Christian faith and the realities of what a pro-life society would look like.
“I’m proud that my state is a national leader in legislation that protects the unborn. I’m also a Democrat,” said Rep. Hatton. “I was glad to be asked to speak today, because I believe in this year’s theme: together strong, life unites.”
Rep. Hatton spoke of the need for a bipartisan effort to end abortion, through both laws and “eliminating the reasons women seek abortions in the first place.”
“When we make access to healthcare so difficult that only the wealthy get to be healthy, when we don’t pay working mothers a living wage, and when we don’t support families struggling with affordable childcare and preschool, and we don’t adequately fund foster care and adoption services, the number of women seeking abortions increases,” she said.
“I believe we should all be pro-life, for the whole life,” she said. She said that she encourages Republican politicians to support not only “anti-abortion” legislation, but also legislation that would help mothers and their babies, and encouraged pro-life Democrats to join Democrats for Life.
“The pro-life movement has had some success in recent decades, but our work is far from over,” Rep. Hatton said.
Tebow told of how his mother delivered him despite being encouraged to abort him. He went on to play in the NFL after winning the Heisman Trophy, the award given to college football’s most outstanding player.
“Because of her pro-life story, I now get to share my story,” he said of his mother. “But it’s only because my mom gave me a chance.”
Tebow said that society needs to be on a “rescue mission” for those in need, and that people need to be pro-life in every area “for all of humanity.”
Tebow spoke of the etymology of the word “passion,” and how it actually related to suffering. Pro-lifers will have to suffer as Jesus did for humanity, he said.
“We can endure whatever hardships we face because people, because humanity, because loving people is worth it,” he said.
“We can choose the best interests of other people, and we can act on their behalf,” said Tebow. “We need to be on a rescue mission for them.”
Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, said that pro-lifers must focus more on changing the culture in addition to politics.
“Our politics will not change, until our people change,” said Rose. “Politics have been incredibly disappointing. The law is horribly unjust. And yet, our political breakthroughs, our political successes, will only be short term unless they are rooted in deep cultural breakthroughs.”
Rose said that this breakthrough is possible, “if we do quiet, and sometimes difficult, daily work of service, education, and prayer,” which she said was already happening.
“If we do this work together, we can transform our culture, and ultimately sustain our laws that protect our children,” she said.
By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency