Unlike my trip to the March for Life last year, I had only one day off for this year’s March. I managed to get there and back in 21 hours. Don’t try that with kids, colds, or bad weather.
I’m not a fan of the formal pre-March pep rally; I’m already pepped or I wouldn’t be there. Instead, I talked with a group from Canada that comes every year to stand along the parade route to cheer. They decline invitations to walk in the March, as near as I can tell; one of them told me “we’re here to thank you.” I went to the New Wave Feminists meetup outside the shuttered Air and Space Museum (government shutdown in progress), where I heard from two amazing, courageous women whose stories were new to me. I ran into Dr. George Harne of Northeast Catholic College in Warner, N.H., who was with NCC students at the March.
“Unique from Day One” was the theme of the 2019 March for Life.
Students for Life display at March for Life Expo 2019, Washington DC
Peacefully making point outside the Supreme Court
Students for Life greet marchers at the end of March for Life 2019, in front of Supreme Court building.
Marchers and counter-protesters stood side by side in front of the Supreme Court under the watchful eyes of local police.
A glimpse back at marchers heading up Capitol Hill, March for Life 2019, Washington DC
It was fun to see students having a blast with Washington’s modest snow cover. I saw this snowman on the National Mall, propping up a sign from Feminists for Life.
I was determined to get a photo of the March crowd coming up Capitol Hill, which is hard to do from within the crowd – quick turn, hold up the phone, snap a photo and hope for the best – so I figured I’d get out ahead of the March and take a photo from the middle of the road. Nope, said a nice policeman. So the blurry image in this post’s gallery, taken as I teetered on the edge of a curb, was the best I could do. To see the size of the March, I recommend EWTN’s television coverage, along with this time-lapse video from Students for Life.
I ventured into the world of Facebook Live to give an assignment to viewers not at the March: call or tweet or visit or write our federal representatives, who are solidly pro-abortion – the ones from New Hampshire, at any rate. Let them know there’s a March going on; invite them to check it out; let them know that you don’t want your tax dollars being used for abortion or to subsidize abortion providers; and above all, let them know that Roe isn’t “settled.”
The team at the national March for Life has invited people to post their own reasons for marching for life, using the hashtag #whywemarch. Check that out on Twitter and you’ll find some good material. Here’s my contribution, recorded in Concord just before the New Hampshire March for Life on January 12.
Why do I march? To let my elected officials close to home and in Washington know that debates over the right to life aren’t settled and aren’t over. We have work to do and we’ll keep at it.
The New Hampshire march took place under a beautiful blue sky on a 15° day. Afterward came the customary post-march gathering on South Main Street, where volunteers from Christ the King Parish had wonderful soups and sandwiches for everyone. Keynote speaker at the gathering was Neil Hubacker, whom I know through my work as a communications consultant with Cornerstone Action. I loved his theme of “Meeting the Unexplainable with the Unexpected,” illustrated by examples of New Hampshire people doing low-key things in pro-life ministry that are making a difference in people’s lives even if the headlines aren’t there. Encouraging stuff!
A New Year’s toast: to life! Thank you to the readers who have sustained Leaven for the Loaf, and thank you to everyone whose pro-life work has kept me inspired and challenged all along the way. Join me now as I pack away some artifacts of the year just ended.
It’s a mixed bag of topics for the most-viewed posts of 2018.
Gosnell: Film Review. In the hands of an inept screenwriter or the wrong director, this true-crime story could have gone badly awry. The makers of Gosnell got it right. The film will be coming to on-demand video and DVD in early 2019.
But Wait, There’s More. This was a brief report on an ill-advised bill that would have nullified New Hampshire’s parental notification law. The House later killed the bill.
Trust Women, You Say? Start Here. Coverage of January’s hearing on a bill, HB 1707, that would have established comprehensive informed consent requirements for abortion.
A Genteel Rant on Party Unity. In which I’m reminded (yet again) that political-party-linked activism is not always helpful in building a culture of life.
Abortion Statistics: “Inexpedient to Legislate.” “Two hundred [N.H.] legislators voted like people who are afraid of evidence-based public health policy and afraid of political retribution from abortion providers.” Another statistics bill has been introduced for 2019.
Slamming Shut a Doorway to Assisted Suicide. A state senator let slip that her proposed study committee on end-of-life issues was actually a path to an assisted suicide law. Her fellow senators took her at her word and killed her bill. A similar bill is on the way for the coming legislative session.
Why I’m Voting No on Question 2. A ballot question about adding a “privacy” amendment to the state constitution passed, not long after I posted this cautionary message. Time will tell if my concerns had merit.
I reported from the state and national Marches for Life in 2018, and I plan to do the same in 2019. On January 12, less than two weeks from now, you can attend any portion of the day-long program of events that accompany the march in Concord. The March for Life in Washington will be held the following Friday, January 18.
2018 brought two more 40 Days for Life campaigns. The next one is coming up in a little over a month, and you’ll be hearing more from me about that in the coming days.
I went to St. Louis, Missouri for the third annual Pro-Life Women’s Conference last June. The first PLWC in 2016 was organized by Abby Johnson and the team at And Then There Were None. Since then, the conference has grown to include a diverse group of speakers and attendees guaranteed to broaden the horizons of anyone working in the pro-life movement. For just one example, read the message from one of this year’s featured speakers, Savannah Marten: “We find the tables we need to be sitting at.”
For media in 2018, the Gosnell film is in a class by itself. For short video, I was glad to find and share “Desperate Measures” by Sidewalk Advocates for Life. Featuring former abortion workers who are now committed pro-lifers, the video is a direct response to recent sit-ins and “rescues” at abortion facilities. The message is don’t do it – and here’s the better way to carry out peaceful pro-life witness.
I’ll be back at the State House to report on 2019 legislation including buffer zone repeal, abortion statistics, and death penalty repeal. I’ll venture to claim that since 2012, no other New Hampshire blog has covered life-issue bills in Concord to the extent attempted by this little enterprise called Leaven for the Loaf. I aim to keep it going.
When my travels lead me to inspirational people and places, you’ll hear about them.
Over a year ago, I had intended to publish an anthology of Leaven posts – and I’m glad I didn’t! The manuscript was not ready for prime time. In 2019, on a much more modest scale than first envisioned, the anthology will be ready.
As longtime readers will have noticed, Facebook and Twitter became significant extensions of the blog in 2018, especially during coverage of marches and conferences. If you’re not following those social media feeds yet, I invite you to do so.
If you’ve had your fill of March for Life coverage, my apologies for this post (and please tell me where you’re getting your news).
The first March for Life in Washington was 44 years ago, one year after the Roe v. Wade abortion decision was imposed by the Supreme Court. There’s been a march every year since then. I’ve been to six or seven of them.
Never have I been part of a larger march than I was last January 19. The weather was surely a factor: full sun, mid-forties. Yet that doesn’t account for most of the marchers, who chartered their buses months ago.
I didn’t count noses. It’s tough to count from the midst of a sea of humanity. I’ve since seen back-and-forth posts from attendees at the March for Life and the following day’s “women’s march,” with squabbles over crowd size that sound like some chief executive tweeting about who’s got a bigger button.
I can assure you of a few things: the March for Life is not a diminishing phenomenon. It continues to attract marchers of all ages. It’s also a rallying point for new pro-life coalitions and groups (like the former abortion workers of And Then There Were None) that couldn’t have been imagined back when Nellie Gray organized the first March for Life in 1974.
I missed the President’s pre-March rally video-link greeting, choosing instead to meet with a group from New Wave Feminists who were hosting a rally of their own before joining the March. If you think all pro-lifers are alike, NWF will burst your bubble. And it’ll be fun.
Spotted at New Wave Feminists meet-up: “Keep Your Philosophy Off My Biology.”
Albany Rose, who describes herself as a pro-life post-abortive secularist. On Facebook: @ARProLifeAtheist
Destiny Herndon-de la Rosa of New Wave Feminists welcomes supporters at a pre-March rally. “This group is nontraditional pro-lifers.” Um, yeah. But good.
Mother and daughter with a story to tell: “I survived my mom’s abortion appt.”
Can’t dismiss this pro-lifer as a religious zealot.
During the March, I lost track of my marching companions not once but twice. It was tough to stay in touch with them even via text, as the sheer number of people making social media posts from the March affected local cell service. No problem: this was a good day to make new friends and to bump into old ones.
The view from mid-crowd at March for Life 2018, passing by National Archives in Washington.
The St. Augustine Band from New Orleans, LA set up shop near the step-off point of the March, sending us off with outstanding music.
Northeast Catholic College was one of several N.H. colleges represented at the March.
Welcoming marchers along the route was a cheerful contingent from Canada.
Pro-lifers wait in line outside one of the Senate Office Buildings to lobby their Senators after the March for Life.
“Already born? Check your privilege!” Mic drop moment right there.
“Quitting Takes Courage”: a sign held by a former abortion worker from And Then There Were None.
“Life Chooses Us.” March for Life, Washington D.C., January 2018.
MFL 2018 was blessed with exceptional weather – cold, but sunny.
Next year’s March for Life in D.C. will be on Friday, January 18, 2019.
A cloudy January thaw gave way to a freezing but brilliantly-sunny day for the 2018 March for Life in Concord, New Hampshire. New Hampshire Right to Life’s annual event drew more than 300 marchers for the procession down Main Street beginning at the State House.
The march route goes past the Equality Center, an abortion facility on Main Street. The city of Concord has developed over the years a way of handling the March for Life and the counter-demonstration that accompanies it: every other year, the March for Life may walk in front of the Center. Other years, the marchers must detour a block around the Center. 2018 was a Main Street year. The counter-demonstrators concealed from view the sign near the Center’s front steps declaring “Respectful, Open, Affirming.”
Self-styled handmaids, witches, and socialists (their own words, not mine), among others, greeted pro-life marchers.
I spotted a few state representatives: Reps. Glenn Cordelli, Linda Gould, Steve Negron, and Jeanine Notter. Rep. Notter spoke to marchers about her bill on informed consent for abortion (HB 1707), which will have its committee hearing in Concord on Wednesday, January 17. Rep. Negron spoke briefly about his campaign for the Congressional seat currently held by Ann McLane Kuster.
Rep. Jeanine Notter is interviewed for WICX-FM in Concord.
Rep. Steve Negron is a candidate for Congress (2nd District, N.H.).
More from the day:
The March was led by a contingent of Knights of Columbus.
Jennifer Robidoux of NHRTL (far right) welcomed marchers to the State House plaza.