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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

Why I won't march

On Dec. 1, Sadie Facile wrote a compelling editorial describing why she chooses to march for life, and her reasons for being a member of Notre Dame Right to Life club. She is absolutely correct in lamenting the one child policy of China and hopefully the resultant horrors of that legislation will never be seen again. She also states that she hopes to end abortion procedures in society through an appreciation and acceptance of love.

I completely agree with this sentiment and believe that the only feasible way to end the practice of abortion in our nation, and the world, is through love and a cultural obligation to promote basic human decency. Institutions studying worldwide abortion statistics, including the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization, have published reports showing countries with legislation restricting or outlawing abortive procedures have higher rates of abortions than countries where the procedure is completely legal. In addition, women in nations with restrictive abortion legislation are forced to utilize unsafe, “back-alley” abortion procedures, where the risk of medical complications is 10 times higher than in industrialized nations where the procedure is legal.

It is clear that simply signing legislation to eliminate abortions will exacerbate abortion rates and direct women to utilize unsafe abortion procedures, ultimately resulting in a larger loss of life. Unfortunately, I do not believe that the March for Life or the National Right to Life Committee understands that outlawing abortion is not the solution to this problem. By supporting and giving platforms to politicians who are “pro-life,” they also support and give platforms to politicians who advocate cutting essential programs for the poor, such as supplemental nutrition assistance and access to affordable healthcare for children. By desiring to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, they want to diminish the largest provider of reproductive services in the country. This organization goes well beyond providing safe abortions; Planned Parenthood is also responsible for providing contraception, STD testing and sexual education to communities where this might not otherwise be available. Hampering these programs will serve only to drive women towards dangerous medical practices.

Through their selection of headline speakers over the past decade, March for Life has shown that they are deeply partisan and have little regard for anything besides a “pro-life” stance. Mike Pence headlined last year’s event, representing an administration which currently endorses a senatorial candidate accused of assaulting female minors. Ms. Facile, you write of the importance of respecting women; yet, I fail to see how this applies to March for Life.

Because of this, I am calling on you, Ms. Facile, and the rest of Notre Dame Right to Life, to boycott the national March for Life in Washington, D.C. If you are serious about reducing the rate of abortion in this country, then organize your own event which fights for the healthcare of women and children, coordinates child care and adoptive services and, when necessary, directs women to safe abortive procedures. Disassociate with an event that has given up all pretense of respecting women, and I will be the first to sign up.

Kieran Phelan


Dec. 9

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.